Scarlet Rusch ’23

Berkshire Bridges-Working Cities Pittsfield, Pittsfield, MA

This summer Berkshire Bridges-Working Cities (BBWC) employed three Williams students to work as Continuity Strategy interns. We focused on securing funding for the 
continued goals of BBWC as well as promoting existing programs like the At Home in Pittsfield program to the West Side and Morningside communities. Our first day of work we started with writing a proposal that outlined BBWC’s organizational plan and future goals. We primarily worked on generating ideas for the use of a portion of Pittsfield’s American Rescue Plan Act funding (ARPA)—a $1.9 trillion-dollar economic stimulus package of unprecedented size. Pittsfield is poised to receive over $32.4 million in ARPA funding, including an additional $8 million due to a lack of a governing body for Berkshire County. This funding poses an exceptional opportunity for positive social and economic change in Pittsfield and Berkshire County. After weeks of researching various types of programs and projects, we pitched our final presentation, Navigating and Understanding How to Create Innovative Change in Pittsfield, to the mayors of Pittsfield and North Adams as 
well as other nonprofit leaders in the community.

Flowers for my final presentation.

My internship experience at Berkshire Bridges-Working Cities has led to serious reflection on what I am considering for my future education and career path. I enjoyed working in the community and believe that I will do similar work in the future. At Williams I want to take courses relating to poverty, histories of discrimination and marginalization, 
precarity, and city studies. A lot of my internship involved discussions with community members, presenting 
information, and writing, which are all interests of mine. This summer I have thought deeply about graduate school and have decided I want to apply for MFA in creative writing programs senior year as well as consider 
graduate studies in foreign service or history. My senior year of high school I studied Russian for nine months in Moldova on a fully-funded U.S. Department of State program. Moldova is the poorest country in Europe. Many of the issues we investigated during my internship at BBWC were issues people in the country faced. I have realized 
that when I was 18 and went to Moldova that my understanding of various social and economic issues was so limited. I want to continue to travel and look closely at how issues of precarity, hardship, authoritarianism, and corruption affect the lives of people around the world. My internship at BBWC has made me decide that I want to spend a lot of my time travelling or working abroad focusing on talking to people with many different circumstances and stories and writing.

I want to thank the Class of 1972 and the ’68 Center for Career Exploration for this extraordinary career and educational opportunity. It has truly been the best internship and job experience I have ever had, and I am deeply appreciative of the immense educational, career, and personal benefit this internship has afforded me.