Litigation Paralegal at Jones Kelleher LLP, Boston
Forest Foundation Fellow Summer 2018 with ACLU Massachusetts
International Relations (minors in Film Studies and Africana Studies) at Connecticut College, 2019
“This summer experience was a pivotal point for me in my undergraduate experience as it confirmed for me that I wanted to pursue a career in law and legal advocacy.”
Issraa worked in the Racial Justice department of ACLU Massachusetts conducting research for the “What a Difference a District Attorney Makes” campaign that corresponded with the District Attorney race in Suffolk County. She also researched drug policies in Boston and regularly attended and helped organize protests around issues such as family separation at the US/Mexico Border, facial surveillance, and sanctuary cities. One of the most important lessons she learned from the summer was the value of networking, which started by connecting with guest speakers as well as other students in various placements across the city during the five Forest Foundation development days. Issraa took her current job as a paralegal in a personal injury firm to learn more about the trial/litigation process to better understand the day-to-day work of a lawyer before committing herself to law school. In this work, she supports trial attorneys throughout the litigation process from preparing briefs and exhibits to assisting with depositions, research, and client correspondence. Issraa She credits her Forest Foundation internship with giving her a first glance into the world of law.
“I was fortunate enough to be placed with the ACLU Mass during a very eventful summer in U.S. domestic politics. The legal team was working to reunite a young girl from Guatemala with her mother. We were sent to the airport with the legal interns to greet the young girl, where I was able to witness the mother and her daughter reunited. It was in that moment that I was certain I wanted to spend the rest of my life in legal advocacy to help change the world for the better.”
JD/MBA Graduate Student, Boston University
Forest Foundation Fellow Summer 2018 with Haley House
Economics and Environmental Studies at Tufts University
“Working at the Haley House helped me understand the ways in which nonprofits can operate sustainable businesses which empower societies’ most at-risk populations.”
As a Forest Foundation Fellow at The Haley House, Chris worked in both the Soup Kitchen preparing hot meals from scratch for up to 100 guests, and at the Bakery Café where he completed a detailed cost analysis which helped the Café’s management rework its menu to ensure the long-term sustainability of the operation. Chris’ Forest Foundation internship helped him cultivate empathetic, active listening as his favorite moments of the internship came over meals with guests in the Soup Kitchen. He appreciated the opportunity to hear the stories of the guests, many of which detailed previous traumas and bad luck which ultimately brought them into the soup kitchen. His summer experience was also a great opportunity to meet like-minded students who are passionate about creating systemic social change. Now in Law School, Chris emphasizes the importance of empathetic, active listening as a crucial skill for an aspiring attorney, understanding that being an effective advocate for clients begins with careful consideration of any challenges they may be facing. As a lawyer, he hopes to use his legal skills to assist nonprofits through pro bono practices, and is actively exploring opportunities to continue working with the Haley House.
“I would recommend that current students who participate in Forest Foundation internships or other social justice work cultivate an attitude of gratitude and practice mindfulness. Doing social justice work is challenging; it can be physically and emotionally demanding. Developing a sense of gratitude can be extremely helpful in sustaining this work. Likewise, mindfulness, which can be developed through a regular meditation practice, is exceptionally useful in developing the resilience necessary to continue to do this work over the long term.”
Machine Intelligence Research Analyst at Google, Austin TX
Forest Foundation Fellow Summer 2017 and 2018 with Lawrence Community Works
Geography (minor in Food Studies) at Syracuse University, 2018
“The summer goes by quick, so take each day as a new learning experience! Have lunch with as many people as you can, ask questions, network at your organization and support your fellow fellows.”
At Lawrence Community Works, a community development corporation which weaves together planning and asset-building with affordable housing and commercial development to create vibrant neighborhoods, Naomi honed her GIS skills. While the focus of her internship was in creating maps and assisting with real estate development, she also had to effectively manage her time, often working on multiple projects at once. This taught Naomi how to be flexible and prioritize her energy. She also gained research skills needed to excel in the professional world, and put those to work immediately upon graduation when she moved to Austin to work for Apple Maps as a GIS Analyst and learned a whole lot more about GIS. She then transitioned to Google where she works in Machine Intelligence and is gaining technical and automation skills. During the summer pandemic months, Naomi took an online city planning course and found where all these experiences connect in designing spaces with social justice in mind. Inspired so much, she is now applying to graduate schools for a Masters in Community Planning.
“I have worked as an academic research intern, a GIS intern, and now an automation analyst for Google voice assistant technology because I learned how to maneuver new work environments my junior year of college with the Forest Foundation. I use my grant writing knowledge whenever I am preparing to ask for anything. Thanks to the Forest Foundation!”
Talent Solutions Designer at Year Up, Chicago
Forest Foundation Fellow Summer 2013 at Open Door, and 2014 at Mustard Seed Communities
Communications (minor in Business and Justice) at Boston College, 2015
“We had guest speakers from Year Up during the professional development days for both my summers as a Fellow. It was inspiring to hear from the founder the first summer, and it always blows my mind that I met my current manager the second summer four years in advance of working with him!”
Alex was always interested in a career in social impact and was eager to expand her understanding of the field while in college. The Forest Foundation Fellowship allowed her to become familiar with the nonprofit landscape in Essex County and Greater Boston and get hands-on experience working in two very different organizations. At The Open Door, a food pantry in Gloucester, she operated the Summer Meals Program and completed a project documenting policy and procedures for volunteers and employees. As the Communications Intern for Mustard Seed Communities she designed and implemented a social media communications strategic plan as well as communicated with volunteers, donors and foundations. One of the unique skills Alex developed during the Foundation summer programming was grant writing, and she was able to secure funding for two nonprofits at the $10,000 and $7,000 grant levels. In her current role at Year Up, a workforce development organization, Alex seeks ways to scale Year Up’s programs to close the opportunity divide through both innovation and by building on best practices.
“Through my internships, training, and conversations at the Forest Foundation, I was able to graduate college with clarity that I’d like to work at a social enterprise, with a mission dedicated to racial equity, and focus on young people. In particular, the Forest Foundation’s earnest belief in the power of young people and orientation towards young adult development resonated with me. Witnessing and experiencing the facilitation and support provided by the Forest Foundation cultivated my belief in the potential of young adults and desire to live this out in my career.”
Consultant, United Nations Development Program, Mexico City
Forest Foundation Fellow Summer 2016 with Alternatives for Community and Environment (ACE), and 2017 with Project Citizenship
Spanish and Global Studies (minor Latin American Studies) at Temple University, 2018
“I was given the chance to engage in meaningful work and was trusted by my co-workers to carry out the mission of the organization; this instilled in me the desire to take initiative and widen my work and research in new ways.”
At ACE, Alex developed a toolkit for community members interested in starting a community garden and supported ACE’s outreach and advocacy efforts. At Project Citizenship he helped lower-income migrants with their applications for US citizenship, and gained applied Spanish-speaking, intercultural communication, flexibility and organization skills, while learning how to navigate conversations about the difficult circumstances associated with migrating to the U.S. In both roles, he learned what jobs in the non-profit sector look like. His second internship with Project Citizenship was particularly rewarding, as it was Alex’s first experience working for a migration-related NGO and taught him how research and advocacy are intertwined and deeply constitutive of one another. This lesson informed his academic and professional career aspirations. After graduation, Alex pursued his Masters in International Relations through the Fulbright Mexico Program and most recently began his position with the UN, organizing a project focused on the data protection of LGBTQ+ returnees, deportees, and transit migrants who are passing through Mexico.
“Because it’s so difficult to get a paid internship in the non-profit sector, it’s consequently difficult to gain the skills specific to this sector while in college; through Forest Foundation, I was able to gain a set of skills that I’ve used extensively in my academic and professional life. I also became more confident in my advocacy work and more deeply attuned to the barriers to citizenship. This translated to a much more intentional effort on my part to advocate for immigrant communities and dispel the myths and misinformation associated with immigration.”