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Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life

2018 Tisch Summer Fellows Make their Mark

Monday, July 30, 2018

Tisch College's summer internship program provides and funds placements at more than 100 nonprofits and government offices where Tufts students work on issues they care about and grow as young professionals.

2018 Tisch Summer Fellow Rebecca Leviss, A19

Gloria Revanche, A21, is spending her summer in the Fair Labor Division of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, helping to advance and enforce workers’ rights. Nesi Altaras, A19, is at the Washington, D.C., office of the Anti-Defamation League, strengthening the organization’s constant vigilance against bigotry and oppression. Isabella Eisenhart, A21, is at Rosie’s Theater Kids in New York, supporting youth and building community through the arts.

These three students are among more than 100 Tisch Summer Fellows (TSF) currently enjoying substantive internships in the public and nonprofit sectors throughout Greater Boston, New York City, and Washington, D.C. Through their fellowships, these Tufts students acquire professional skills and experience, network and explore career paths, and—most importantly—work toward the public good on issues they care about. Tisch College provides stipends in order to make these opportunities accessible to students of all backgrounds, and we further support Fellows throughout the summer through the Tisch Alumni Mentor Network.

“We have an amazing group of Tisch Summer Fellows and alumni mentors and facilitators this year, and we’re excited about the wide range of organizations that they’re working with,” says Maggie McMorrow, who leads the TSF program at Tisch College. Indeed, the diversity of internships available to students has become one of the program’s defining features; this year, Fellows are working in government, community organizing, education, health, philanthropy, sustainability, entrepreneurship, the arts, media, international relations, and more.

That focus on variety is deliberate, and vital to the program’s aims. “It is important to us at Tisch College to offer students a diversity of fellowships and to create pathways to civic engagement for all Tufts students, whatever their academic interests and professional aspirations,” said Alan Solomont, Dean of Tisch College, at a kickoff event for Tisch Summer Fellows in New York. “We believe that all young people, working within and across their chosen disciplines, can contribute to solving problems in our communities, the nation, and the world.”

The Tisch Summer Fellows are undertaking this work at a time when young people are increasingly raising their voices and providing invaluable energy and leadership on myriad issues of national importance. They are also working in the lead-up to a consequential national election that is inspiring youth on college campuses across the country to engage in politics.

Many of our Fellows’ placements touch on matter of politics and policy, and some students—in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere—are working in government directly. A recent Boston Globe story on political internships featured Misha Carlson, A20, a Tisch Summer Fellow in the Cambridge office of U.S. Representative Katherine Clark (MA-5). Other Fellows are working at Clark’s office in D.C., the MA and D.C. offices of Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, the State Department, the USDA, and the Pentagon. Still others are working in state and local government: the Massachusetts State Treasurer’s Office, the MA Office of International Trade and Investment, MassHousing, the City of Medford, the City of Cambridge, Somerville Public Schools, and more.

“Students have a real hunger right now to participate in the political process, and we’re grateful to all the government agencies and legislative offices who are hosting Fellows,” said McMorrow. “These internships in the public sector don’t just offer valuable professional experience, they also help students see firsthand how change can happen through government, and it restores a little bit of their faith in our democracy.”

In addition to the engaging work at their placements and the support of supervisors and alumni mentors, Tisch Summer Fellows also come together for frequent reflection sessions and for networking events and skill-building workshops. This summer, students have attended a panel on women in politics with three leaders from Massachusetts state government, enjoyed a job interviewing workshop with staff at the Anti-Defamation League—plus a talk with its CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, A92—and conversations with other successful Tufts alumni across various fields, like veteran news producer Neal Shapiro, A80. Fellows also enjoyed service events like a clean-up of the Mystic River.

 

TSF India and International

While Tisch Summer Fellows in Boston, New York, and D.C. are addressing some of the most critical issues in this country, a group of their peers is all around the world working on civically engaged projects in nearly a dozen nations across five continents.

Five Tufts students are spending their summer working at the Bodhi School in rural India, where they serve as teaching assistants, prepare lessons, and help create a positive classroom environment for children from impoverished backgrounds. This is the second year of our TSF: India program, supported by Tisch College board member Vikram Akula, A90, who founded the Bodhi School.

With funding from TSF: International, five students from the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine went to Zambia to participate in a long-standing project and partnership that strives to integrate oral health into a comprehensive health care model. Two Occupational Therapy students went to Puebla, Mexico, to work at a school for special needs children. Other Jumbos undertook Tisch Summer Fellow projects in Ecuador, Armenia, and St. Kitts; we also supported students at the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy who have State Department internships in Switzerland, Poland, and Burkina Faso.