Intern Spotlight: Where Are They Now?

On Earth Peace offers paid internships in positions across the organization for young adults, college students, and recent graduates. The purpose of these internships is to advance our work, achieve success in specific programs and initiatives, and to offer skill-development and personal growth for emerging peacebuilders in a faith-based nonprofit setting. We hope these opportunities serve as personal and professional additions in the lives of our interns.

Interns connect via ZOOM each month

I interned for OEP for three semesters over the course of two academic years. My first internship was in the Fall of 2014, during which I worked to organize the Dunker Punks Movement and design I returned to OEP in the Fall of 2015 and Spring of 2016 to serve as OEP's Social Media Coordinator. Working with OEP helped me expand my knowledge and passion for issues of peace and justice, and nurtured my desire to address those issues through the lens of faith. This experience also helped me develop core competencies in key areas of professional success, such as communication, time-management, self-motivation, and inspiring confidence in myself and others. Since then, I've centered the pursuit of peace and justice as the defining purpose of my professional and spiritual life.

After my internship with On Earth Peace, I participated in several other formative internships, including in the Congressional Office of U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle. I also founded a progressive political club on my college campus and helped lead and coordinate social justice initiatives there. After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University in 2017, I was a Young Fellow at the Friends Committee on National Legislation. I am currently in Brethren Volunteer Service in Elgin, II; next year, I will be heading to Yale Law School to train for a career pursuing social justice as a Public Interest Attorney. All the while, I have remained active in the Dunker Punks Movement and the Dunker Punks Podcast.

My time with OEP was transformative in my awareness and sensitivity to racial justice issues and racism as it exists within myself as a white man, and many of the institutions and communities in which I find comfort, including the church. With that greater level of consciousness, I have sought to better understand white privilege and systemic racism, the role I have played in perpetuating them, and the responsibility I have for helping undo them in constructive and supportive ways. I am continuing the process of education, lament, and repentance, with an instilled confidence that my experiences at OEP, and the professional support I have received since, have been central to my subsequent professional opportunities and accomplishments.

- Emmett Witkovsky-Eldred, 2015 Dunker Punks Organizer and 2015-16 Social Media Organizer

Following my internship at On Earth Peace, I applied to numerous graduate schools and accepted admission to the University of Maryland's International Education Policy (IEP) master's program. Per my experience as an intern and other academic pursuits, I was offered and accepted a graduate assistantship with full tuition remission at the office of International Student & Scholar Services. I will be graduating from my undergraduate institution, Elizabethtown College, in May, and classes at UMD start in August. I'm exceedingly excited to be involved in more specialized courses!

My internship with OEP made an enormous difference in my academic career and personal passions! Not only did it give me a foundation of experience in a wide variety of skills including curriculum-writing, education research, and some marketing, it helped me to realize my passion for peace education.

- Josephine Stommel, 2017 Children’s Peace Formation Coordinator

2017 Manchester University interns working together

I was the first Racial Justice Organizing Intern with On Earth Peace from June 2015 to December 2015. It was my first venture into what doing justice and peace-building work could look like as an actual profession. I majored in Social Justice for my undergraduate degree at Hobart and William Smith Colleges (2014), and was a campus organizer on issues of racial injustice, native rights, and gender inclusivity. My work with On Earth Peace made me recognize my skills in creating systems and structures for communication on justice issues. I had done social media and lesson planning on racial justice work in college, but it had always been within the sphere of the classroom with heavy input from academic mentors. OEP made me realize that I had an
innate understanding of how to build communication platforms around issues that communities wanted to talk about.

My internship was an extraordinarily powerful mentoring experience. Matt and I lived on different sides of the country, so all of our collaboration and supervision was done remotely. Matt was a phenomenal supervisor who constantly supported my worthwhile ideas and shared knowledge and inspiration on ideas that could be developed further. This particular type of internship greatly improved my understanding of how to collaborate online, impacting and encouraging my later pursuit of social media and communication jobs while living abroad. I was also in a unique position at OEP, as I had not been a member of the Church of the Brethren and don't self-identify as Christian. Learning about racial justice and peace-building work through the lens of Christianity and the OEP community was an important developmental space for me as I learned to discuss issues I understood academically with people who were exploring them with the added layers of religious perspective.

After my internship with OEP, I had a number of short-term internships with different non-profits. I also completed a Masters degree in Sociology at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. My Masters thesis focused on what makes social movements effective, and how they grow their audiences. This concept had definitely been fed by my work with OEP, as we were able to see our Racial Justice Community of Practice grow from just an idea to a lively online discussion space. I moved back to the Finger Lakes region of central New York in 2017 and was hired the following year at the Advocacy Center of Tompkins County. My role in this agency is coordinating child sexual abuse and youth sex trafficking prevention programs throughout the county. While the topic doesn't connect precisely to my work with OEP, I do regularly notice that I'm building on skills I first practiced during my OEP internship.

- Zoë Van Nostrand, 2015 Racial Justice Organizer

My internship with On Earth Peace allowed me to work on program evaluation, which was extremely helpful as I applied to graduate schools. As one of my main goals was to attend graduate school in pursuit of a PhD, my experience at OEP, and specifically grant proposal writing, was beneficial in helping me achieve this. I was awarded the Michigan State University Distinguished Fellowship to complete a PhD in Ecological Community Psychology. My research focuses on Palestinian youth and their role in positive social change, especially as it pertains to ending the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

- Lucas Al-Zoughbi, Agape-Satyagraha Site-development Intern

For more information on OEP internships, including all current openings and application instructions, please click this link. If you have any questions, please email Marie Benner-Rhoades at [email protected].

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