Semester in the City students transition to remote internships

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Semester in the City honored its eighth successful semester on May 1. Eighteen students presented five-minute reflections on their recent internships at locations throughout the Boston area. Like previous showcases, participants celebrated the students’ accomplishments and connection with a diverse community focused on making the world a better place. The two-hour event was heartfelt and inspirational. And, for the first time, it was completely virtual.

“Because the showcase was online, we could see the livestreamed chat in Zoom,” says Cynthya Gluck '21 , English/journalism and sustainability major. “It was incredible to see love and encouragement from our friends and community in real time. Normally you would feel that, but it wouldn’t be so visible.”

A UNH partnership with the College for Social Innovation, Semester in the City students spend 15 weeks in Boston interning at leading social change organizations in areas such as community development, education, the environment, health and social justice. The internships typically take place onsite, but due to COVID-19, the interns began working remotely in March and completed their internships from afar.

"Semester in the City helped us defy assumptions and expectations we place on ourselves."

UNH Provost Wayne Jones commended the students on their ability to quickly adapt. “I am so proud you are part of the UNH community,” Jones says. “Your commitment shows incredible resilience and flexibility and has made a difference to those you served, your own education, and UNH. These skills will define you as changemakers. Right now is when the world needs more changemakers.”

From housing directories for homeless families to climate change resiliency workshops, the outcomes this spring were impressive. However, students say what was most meaningful was what they learned about their values and capabilities.

Ethan McDonough is a nontraditional student majoring in political science and sustainability. His internship was with Communities Responding to Extreme Weather. “This was the first time in my life I could see how my passion was contributing to change in the world. Semester in the City helped us defy assumptions and expectations we place on ourselves,” he says.

“It was uncomfortable, but I gradually learned to be uncomfortable,” says Kyla Tiongson '20, a communication sciences and disorders major who interned at Stephen’s Youth Program, which provides programs for grades K-12+  students when school isn’t in session. “You don’t realize you are growing until you look back.”

A dual major in social work and women’s and gender studies, Grace Bailer ’21 interned at the Pine Street Inn, a homeless shelter in Boston. “I almost didn’t do Semester in the City because I didn’t think I had what it took to change the world. I learned that if we can subside doubt, we all have the ability to be a changemaker.”

Semester in the City is part of the Center for Social Innovation and Enterprise, a suite of high-impact programs designed to help students develop self-confidence to lead change. These programs work in concert with classroom learning to empower students to discover themselves, help their communities, and form life-long friendships.

“I was able to implement projects in the community rather than just learn in a classroom,” says Masami Dustin ’21, a business management  major with a minor in psychology. His   internship was at Family Aid Boston, which helps the homeless find housing. “I felt people had my back. When we build community, we can all shine brightly.”

A complete list of students and their internship placements can be found here.