Trish Massaro ’23

Ethiopia Education Initiatives, New York, NY

This summer I had the wonderful opportunity to work with Ethiopia Education Initiatives as an Educational Research Intern for the Haile-Manas Academy (HMA). I, along with another Williams student, worked in close contact with both students and faculty of HMA to transform our ideas and research into finalized products that would help the school be the best it can be in its first few years.

As an intern dealing specifically with psychology and mental health, I conducted research surrounding education and how to develop programs, workshops, and informational posters to be included in the curriculum and displayed throughout the school building. I am intrigued by the science of learning, what is actually going on inside our brains as we attempt to understand new information, and practices to help students maintain their mental health while living and learning at a high intensity school. I looked into these two topics using textbooks and scholarly articles as well as published findings from recent studies across the globe. I was also able to interview and work directly with both students and faculty in order to better understand the challenges that HMA students specifically may face in regards to mental health; and used all of these sources to create a collection of different activities and resources with the goal of helping students better understand their own brain and how they learn.

What was perhaps the most rewarding part of my experience this summer, however, was the opportunity to work with the HMA student librarian on creating a dedicated section of the library entirely to learning about the brain. I met with this student weekly to determine which books would be most appealing to HMA students and to discuss the important themes of the books included in the new section. These meetings also afforded me the opportunity to get to know one of HMA’s students, and I greatly enjoyed speaking with and learning about this incredibly bright and talented young woman over the course of the summer.

Through my work with Ethiopia Education Initiatives, I was able to gain experience in both the education and mental health fields. I developed skills in new areas such as mental health education tailored for younger generations and even graphic design. The experience I gained at this internship has helped me to improve my organizational, planning, and communication skills more generally as well.

I want to give my sincere thanks to the members of the Class of 1975 and the ’68 Center for Career Exploration for making this internship possible. I am truly grateful for my experience at HMA, and I know that no matter what career path I take from here, the skills I learned this summer will retain their importance. Thank you so much for this amazing experience.