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Academic Internship (GSST 198) Spring 2016

GSST 198 (Spring 2016) was designed to enable students with a background in Gender and Sexuality Studies and Sustainability Studies to integrate theory and practice in the context of working as an intern. Students with gender studies background interned with feminist or LGBTQ political or cultural organizations and agencies offering services to women and/or children or underprivileged communities. Students with sustainability studies background interned with organizations that advocate for or practice sustainability broadly defined to gain experience in the field. We met once a week as a class, which provided space to discuss internship experiences, good and bad, and explore career opportunities that draw on the academic fields of gender and sexuality studies and sustainability studies. The readings provided additional information and served as background for discussions.

You can read about the students' experiences with their internships, the academic component of the course, extra-curricular activities, and future aspirations below.

Lucero Ayala
Lucero Ayala

Degree(s): Gender & Sexuality Studies

Graduating Year: 2016

Hometown: Fullerton, CA

Internship Site: Operation SafeHouse

Internship Site Weblink: http://operationsafehouse.org/safehouse-riverside/

Tell us about the site and your internship
Operation SafeHouse is a 24/7 shelter that takes in youth such as runaways, homeless, or in some type of crisis. It offers a 21-day program that provides family units hope that things CAN get better, trust CAN be rebuilt, and the lines of communication CAN be reopened.

What did you most enjoy about the internship and the academic component of GSST198?
The most that I enjoyed about the internship was working with the youth. They are all really good kids going through harsh realities. It was easy for me to interact with them and forge a comfortable bond. The staff was also a blast to work with! They are very easy to approach and just made the experience so much less intimidating.

What other activities are you involved in on and off campus?
I was the Vice President of Women's Club Soccer @ UCR for 2 years. I was a part of the Best Buddies Program. I was also a Peer Mentor for the Chicano Link Mentor Program. I also participated in Shadow MD, which allowed me to shadow doctors in different medical fields.

What are your plans for the future?
I plan to apply to Law School and specialize in Family Law or Immigration
Law, however, if I can do both I plan to do so.

   
Jacqueline Boyadzhyan
Jacqueline Boyadzhyan

Degree(s): Psychology and Gender & Sexuality Studies

Graduating Year: 2016

Hometown: Burbank, CA

Internship Site: Carolyn E. Wylie Center

Internship Site Weblink: http://www.wyliecenter.org/

Tell us about the site and your internship
The Wylie Center is a non-profit organization that offers a wide range of services to the residents and community of Riverside. The center works with youth through youth outreach programs, offers parenting classes,  has an autism specialty center, in home teaching services and other mental health services. Being at the center squarely aligned with my interests; it incorporated both psychology and gender studies. Here I was able to put my knowledge to work and see how my two majors play out in real life, in a real work environment.

What did you most enjoy about the internship and the academic component of GSST198?
At my internship I enjoyed the freedom that my supervisor gave me to explore the different aspects of the center. I enjoyed the support and guidance I received from the staff. I was apprehensive about working with young children, but I spent time at the autism center and observed in home teaching. I truly enjoyed this because now I am much more conformable working with younger kids and I realized how much I love it and how rewarding it can be. I truly enjoyed the sense of community and friendship that was created within our GSST 198 classroom. I felt that through sharing our experiences at our individual internship sites, we gained insight and more knowledge about interning and "real world" experiences or expectations.

What other activities are you involved in on and off campus?
I came to UCR as a transfer student in 2013, I was eager to establish a family here in my new community so I decided to join Delta Gamma, a fraternity for women. Being an active member of Delta Gamma brought me many volunteer opportunities in the Riverside community. I worked with the Blindness Support Center in Riverside, supported many on campus philanthropy events hosted by other Panhellenic Sororities and on campus fraternities. I have also been a member of the Armenian Student Association at UCR, and I was their board Advisor this past academic year. I am a research assistant for the Sleep and Cognition Lab headed by Professor Sara Mednick in the Psychology Department at UCR. Here I help conduct various research that looks further into memory consolidation and sleep. In my community back home, I hold the Advisor position on the Central Council of the Armenian Church Youth Organization of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church. I have been involved with this specific organization since I was fifteen; I have held various positions with in the group. I believe that giving back and serving one's community is a very important part of life, and if everyone partook in a little bit of community service our communities would thrive more than they currently do.

What are your plans for the future?
I plan to take one year off, during which I will work to gain experience in my field. I want to find a place of work where I can incorporate my knowledge from both my majors. I will also be preparing to apply to graduate school to further my education in hopes of obtaining my Masters in Social Work. I hope that in this next year I will learn more about what it is I want to focus on and find new ways to inspire young people pursue whatever it is they believe in and dream of.

   
Caitlin Blockus
Caitlin Blockus

Degree(s): Sustainability Studies

Graduating Year: 2019

Hometown: Placerville, CA

Internship Site: UCR Office of Sustainability

Internship Site Weblink: http://sustainability.ucr.edu/

Tell us about the site and your internship
I interned at the Office of Sustainability. Through the duration of my internship there, I essentially had two areas of responsibility, namely working on the Office of Sustainability's Factbook, and managing their social media sites. For the Factbook, I compiled Excel spreadsheets containing information about UCR's resource usage. For example, the Factbook has statistics on how much water is used at UCR, how UCR contributes to Green House Gasses, etc. I managed their Instagram and Twitter pages as well, drafting daily posts about gender and sustainability, environmental occurrences around the world, as well as sustainable events on campus.

What did you most enjoy about the internship and the academic component of GSST198?
As a first year, I was nervous about going into this internship. I had a heavy amount of units already, and I wasn't sure what would be asked of me as an official intern. Yet the thing I enjoyed most about this internship was the way it truly  worked around my schedule and availability, as well as what it taught me. Working at my internship site forced me to gain knowledge of Microsoft Excel, something I never would have learned without it. It also kept me updated on world events, and taught me more about the relationship between gender and sustainability. The academic portion of GSST 198 gave me the confidence to stick with Sustainability Studies even though it is a brand new major, and truly taught me that I can go anywhere with this major, and not to get discouraged. I feel very grateful to have experienced all that I have these past 10 weeks.

What other activities are you involved in on and off campus?
I am a volunteer with the California Public Interest Group (CALPIRG), I was also a  member of the CHASS Connect First Year Learning Community Program in the Sustainability Sequence. I am also in the Zeta Phi Rho Sisterhood Program.

What are your plans for the future?
I am currently planning on double majoring in both Sustainability Studies as well as Public Policy. I would like to get involved with Environmental and Urban Policy, and use Sustainability Studies as a way to implement more environmentally friendly policies and regulations. I would eventually like to enter into the Global Food Initiative Fellowship Program, as well as get involved with more organizations on campus which work with individuals with special needs - autism in particular. I was a camp counselor at a camp for children with learning disabilities last summer, and working with children with special needs is something I truly have a passion for. One day I hope to combine my interests in Sustainability as well as working with people with special needs, and I am strongly looking into becoming a Horticultural Therapist.

   
Brayan Cruz
Brayan Cruz

Degree(s): Gender & Sexuality Studies; Media & Cultural Studies

Graduating Year: 2017

Hometown: Santa Ana

Internship Site: R'Garden/UC Global Food Initiative

Internship Site Weblink: http://universityofcalifornia.edu/global-food-initiative

Tell us about the site and your internship
I along with two other peers worked on a video project focused on food security at UCR. The community garden in UCR, R'Garden was the area in which the majority of the internship took place. Another area in which we worked was the Food Pantry on campus. The overall video was a student led project that illuminates the current situation of students and the work that is been done to confront food security.

What did you most enjoy about the internship and the academic component of GSST198?
I mostly enjoyed the way the class was structured. Although, most of it centered on our own individual internship we were able to sit in class and really evaluate our internship experiences together. The readings and discussions were relevant and reflected what I was learning and experiencing in my internship. As a whole, I enjoyed this internship because I was able to work in a place where I enjoyed and developed new skills. The class provided a great opportunity for me to implement what I have learned in my major and understand the internship from a different perspective.

What other activities are you involved in on and off campus?
I was already working as an intern in the community garden on campus. I also try to advocate outside campus for immigrant right and youth empowerment.

What are your plans for the future?
I plan to obtain a master in Ethnic Studies and get my teaching credential. K-12 is the grades that I would like to teach. I will help organize around the advancement and expansion of ethnic studies in education, while implementing food justice and social justice in the curriculums. If all else fails I would like to self deport.

   
Tina Escudero
Tina Escudero

Degree(s): Gender & Sexuality Studies

Graduating Year: 2016

Hometown: Redland, CA

Internship Site: Operation SafeHouse

Internship Site Weblink: http://operationsafehouse.org

Tell us about the site and your internship
Operation SafeHouse is a 21-day emergency shelter for at-risk youth, which focuses on creating a holistic plan of action for families and youth with the guidance of staff members and licensed Marriage and Family counselors.

What did you most enjoy about the internship and the academic component of GSST198?
I enjoyed interacting with the clients from various walks of life, especially when I had the opportunity to engage in conversations through artistic and recreational activities.

What other activities are you involved in on and off campus?
On campus, I am a member of QTPoC & Asterisk. Off-campus, I am also a Community Engagement & Policy Intern with the ACLU of Southern California. In addition, I am a parent.

What are your plans for the future?
I intend on pursuing a career in immigration reform, possibly as an immigration lawyer.

   
Miriam Fadel
Mariam Fadel

Degree(s): Bachelor of Arts, Public Policy & Bachelors of Science, Sustainability

Graduating Year: 2017

Hometown: Yucaipa, CA

Internship Site: UCR Office of Sustainability/R'Garden/CAFÉ

Internship Site Weblink: http://cafe.ucr.edu/

Tell us about the site and your internship
I interned in the Office of Sustainability,under the supervision of Fortino in the R'Garden—and while the R'Garden is beautiful, I ended up doing some very behind the aggie work!

What did you most enjoy about the internship and the academic component of GSST198?
I really loved that this was a bit outside of my comfort zone, but very much in my interest zone. I also really enjoyed that while I had a bit of a rough or slow start to my internship, once I got going and got involved with CAFE, I really loved what I was doing and discovered a new area of interest or skill set that I could develop and expand on.

What other activities are you involved in on and off campus?
I am involved in a handful of activities on and off campus, but I am most involved in my social venture—Sustainabilibuddies, and my CNI Fellowship. I have also become very interested in teaching on the Charter school level, and work closely with my community and actively sit on and participate in my own cities Community Service Commission. I am currently working on my Foodie blog and looking for volunteer or apprenticeship work with Bees! :)

What are your plans for the future?
Why didn't I learn to treat everything like it was the last time. My greatest regret was how much I believed in the future—so for now, I am looking forward to tomorrow, this summer, and the rest of forever, whatever that may be! Come what may.

   
Alexis Garcia
Alexis Garcia

Degree(s): Gender & Sexuality Studies; Media & Cultural Studies

Graduating Year: 2017

Hometown: Ontario, CA

Internship Site: UCR Women's Resource Center

Internship Site Weblink: http://wrc.ucr.edu/

Tell us about the site and your internship
The purpose of Women's Resource Center internship is to facilitate and coordinate a program of our choice. I chose Moms vs. Moms (stay-at- home moms vs. working moms). I conducted research on the topic and created a presentation for an audience. On the day of my presentation, I informed my audience of the controversial stereotypes about stay- at-home moms and working moms.

What did you most enjoy about the internship and the academic component of GSST198?
What I enjoyed most about this internship was that I was able to work on my own time. It was easier for me to do research from home since I have a daughter. Also, I enjoyed that I was able to do a topic of my choice because I am very passionate about motherhood and I felt very comfortable with it. I enjoyed how open and welcome GSST 198 was, which helped me become more confident in my public speaking. The professor created a safe welcoming classroom that allowed everyone to speak their minds and feel open. I was able to learn more about Gender and Sexuality Studies and the benefits of it.

What other activities are you involved in on and off campus?
I work for UCR Dining, Student Supervisor of Food Trucks. This is the only activity I am involved in on campus. So, I was excited to have the opportunity to intern at the Women's Resource Center because I wanted to become more involved.

What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future are to graduate from UCR, be successful for my daughter, and give her everything she deserves. I want to graduate with a major in Gender and Sexuality Studies and a minor in Sociology. After I graduate, I look forward to having a career in Social Work.

   
Kimberly Hernandez
Kimberly May Hernandez

Degree(s): Sustainability Studies

Graduating Year: 2017

Internship Site: R'Garden

Internship Site Weblink: http://rgarden.ucr.edu/

Tell us about the site and your internship
The R'Garden is a community garden where the Riverside community and UCR community can come together and learn about sustainable practices as well as garden along side with others or themselves. The R'Garden consists of plots for people to start their own garden (along with all the tools they need: shovels, water, seeds) and rows of flowers, vegetables and fruits (**there is a Valencia orchard!!**) that anyone in the community can harvest. What I did as an intern was help out at the garden via weeding or composting but mostly, I helped set up the annual Dig 'n' Dance and a farm tour.

What did you most enjoy about the internship and the academic component of GSST198?
I enjoyed meeting and working alongside new people as well as learning more about the history of the R'Garden and its opportunities. As for the academic part of the seminar, it was interesting to learn about the different ways to react to people asking about your degree, what you can do with your degree, and overall having a conversation about the struggles of being in college and what to do after college.

What other activities are you involved in on and off campus?
I'm also involved in Literary Initiative, which is a club that goes to different elementary schools and helps kids read in order to bring up literacy rates in Riverside.

   
Aurora Libbey
Aurora Libbey

Degree(s): Psychology

Graduating Year: 2016

Hometown: West Covina

Internship Site: UCR Women's Resource Center

Internship Site Weblink: http://wrc.ucr.edu/

Tell us about the site and your internship
The Women's Resource Center has many services available to men and women at UCR and for those within the community. They have a range of services, one of which is to help individuals who are survivors of any type of sexual violence. I am a huge advocate against sexual violence and I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to work with the Women's Resource Center. During my time at the Womens Resource Center I had the opportunity to participate in various events. As for my internship position I was asked to create a presentation regarding a topic I was most passionate about. With 100 hours of research I found a guest speaker and gave a presentation about consent to students  on campus.

What did you most enjoy about the internship and the academic component of GSST198?
I very much enjoyed the inviting atmosphere at the Women's Resource Center. I was able to network with staff and students and learn more about what UCR has to offer. As a transfer student a lot of the services offered at the center were new to me. By working as an intern at the Women's Resource Center I had the opportunity to spread awareness on consent, a topic I believe is important for students and staff. For me this is really important because education is an important pathway to prevention. I was able to work on my public speaking skills and network. GSST 198 provided an environment were we could all talk about our experiences we had at the various intern sites and we were able to learn a little more about ourselves.

What other activities are you involved in on and off campus?
Aside from being a full time student I am a volunteer at Project Sister Family Services. At Project Sister I am a certified rape crisis counselor and I also volunteer in the outreach program. Aside from volunteering off campus I work a part time job as an office assistant located in Pomona.

What are your plans for the future?
I graduate this June and I plan to take a year off! As scary as that sounds I'm excited to challenge myself and really see where I want to take my education as I continue to look at various programs at different schools. I do plan on continuing my education so that I may obtain my Masters degree. Finding a career, not just a job, is something I really look forward to.

   
Marilyn Orosco-Figueroa
Marilyn Orosco

Degree(s): Gender & Sexuality Studies

Graduating Year: 2016

Hometown: Cloverdale, CA

Internship Site: GRID Alternatives

Internship Site Weblink: http://www.gridalternatives.org/ie

Tell us about the site and your internship
My internship was at GRID Alternatives, which is a certified non-profit organization that brings together community partners, volunteers and job trainees to implement solar power ad energy efficiency for low-income families in the Inland Empire. My duties involved meetings with individuals of all the programs at GRID as well as being instructed on their main communication program. I also reached out to individuals who are involved in the organization to invite them to our Anniversary Celebration. Lastly I organized and set up our social media sites with a fellow Intern and my supervisor.

What did you most enjoy about the internship and the academic component of GSST198?
I enjoyed learning all the ins and outs of a non-profit organization that assists low incomes families and I also was able to connect with many different individuals who were linked to the organization. I enjoyed attending my course because I was able to get the most out of the internship in such a small window of time because the class work made me reflect on my work and connect to the organization in a more personal way.

What other activities are you involved in on and off campus?
I enjoy hiking around the Riverside area and I plan to climb the "C" one last time before I will not have the opportunity in the future. I enjoy traveling around Southern California and experience all the opportunities I can achieve in the time I'm here. I also love to visit my family back in my hometown of Cloverdale when I am able to get a few days of relaxation. I visit my sister Luz in San Diego when I also get homesick and cannot reach my family due to financial means.

What are your plans for the future?
In the near future I will attend both summer sessions at UCR to finish up my education. During my attendance of those courses I will continue my presence at GRID. I would enjoy being accepted in their fellowship in the near future or at least to volunteer my time on a weekly basis. I plan to receive a job in the near future and proceed to save money either for my Master's Degree or to move to another city. I am also researching other volunteer areas to begin after the Spring Quarter ends.

   
Edgar Ortuno
Edgar Ortuño

Degree(s): Theatre, Film, and Digital Production; Sustainability Studies

Graduating Year: 2018

Hometown: Santa Ana

Internship Site: UC Global Food Initiative

Internship Site Weblink: http://www.ucop.edu/global-food-initiative/index.html

Tell us about the site and your internship
I worked on a documentary that seeks to give a voice to students that face food insecurity within our own campus. (Food insecurity is when an individual is not able to obtain food due to economic hardships.) Through the help of UC Office of the President, Global Food Initiative, I had the exciting opportunity to be part of the student film crew representing UC Riverside. As part of a collective team, I as the filmmaker, contributed my knowledge of creating a film, by effectively managing and conducting the production. With this short documentary, I hope to get a message out there to administration that enough is enough, and as students we need more resources that will help us cope with food insecurity. Through the help of my team, I have a gained a whole new perspective on activism, and now as a career I hope to become a film activist. An activist who showcases all the injustices food corporations afflict on low-income families. I will utilize filmmaking to capture the struggles of people, sparking a sense of activism in any individual, and hence, help to create a sustainable change at my university and community.

What did you most enjoy about the internship and the academic component of GSST198?
My favorite aspect of this internship was being able to fuse together   both of my passions, filmmaking and social advocacy. I began to    research about the injustice of food insecurity that students sustain, and that our university is not doing enough to solve this problem with the urgent it needs.

What other activities are you involved in on and off campus?
I am a dancer at Raíces de México OC, a cultural organization advocating the preservation of our culture, through the art of Mexican dance. Also, I am a member of M.E.Ch.A De UC Riverside, where I strive to promote higher education for Latina/o students, and to preserve our Chicana/o culture and history. Lastly, through my work with the Latina/o Play Project, an effort aiming to showcase the struggles of our everyday life as a Latina/o on stage, I have realized the demand to serve Latina/o students at UC Riverside.

What are your plans for the future?
First and foremost, I hope to be able to graduate and become a filmmaker of the people. I want to be able to tell the stories of the ordinary and make them extraordinary. Documenting a personʼs life intrigues me as everyone has a story to tell. With this, I dream to travel to remote and forgotten places of the world and tell their story. I aspire to always come back to my community and guide students to be able to achieve their dreams. Also, I plan to be an advocate towards beings who cannot speak, due to constant oppression. Although I do not know what the future holds for me, I am excited for the journey, and as always hope will continue to drive me.

   
Charles Pinkel
Charles Pinkel

Degree(s): Sustainability Studies (BS)

Graduating Year: 2017

Hometown: San Diego

Internship Site: UCR Office of Sustainability

Internship Site Weblink: http://sustainability.ucr.edu/

Tell us about the site and your internship
The Office of Sustainability is located on the second floor of the University Village. The Office facilitates and promotes sustainability at UCR, which can range from everything like events on campus to educate students, faculty, and the public, to green lab certification. The Office provides three GCAP (Green Campus Action Program) internships annually as well as internships quarterly and volunteer positions. The Office of Sustainability is responsible for guidance in implementing UC sustainability policies, reporting green house gas inventories, and  communicating best practices to students, faculty, and staff.

What did you most enjoy about the internship and the academic component of GSST198?
Interning at the Office is a great way to put yourself in the center of all the sustainability events at UCR. As an intern, you are responsible for keeping up to date with everything going on at UCR and in Riverside involving sustainability. I enjoyed learning about all the programs and the projects we have going on like updating older buildings to the LEED standard and construction of new buildings like the career center to LEED gold and platinum standard. I really enjoyed my time at the Office; it helped me become fluent in a number of programs like MailChimp and google forms. As an intern you are often times assigned tasks that you have never done or might not know how to do. Just try to keep an open mind and take on tasks that you know you can do as well as tasks that might challenge you. Sometimes it can be frustrating, but if you take it day by day, and enjoy everything you are learning it will be a great process.

What other activities are you involved in on and off campus?
I am a third year Sustainability Studies major. My academic interests include environmental justice, specifically concerning water conservation and indigenous  agriculture. I currently work in UCR Dinning Services at Lothian Residential Restaurant as culinary manager. I also work back home in San Diego at local plant nursery that specializes in California natives and drought tolerant plants. I am very excited to be a part of this new major at UCR and to have been accepted into a summer internship spending 5 weeks here at UCR and 2 weeks in New Mexico. I was also just recently accepted to study abroad in Australia and the Solomon Islands next spring. I enjoy teaching others and hope to help give back to UCR by starting a peer mentor group for Sustainability Studies majors to help navigate the hectic world of college.

What are your plans for the future?
After graduation, I plan on either joining the Peace Corps or applying for City Year, before pursuing a Masters Degree. I am still not sure exactly what I want to go to school for, but I hope this next year helps to make that more clear for me. Thank you to the absolutely fantastic GSST department for providing me the education and tools to truly discover myself!

   
Yessenia Ramirez
Yessenia Ramirez

Degree(s): BA Gender and Sexuality Studies, LGBIT Studies Minor

Graduating Year: 2016

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Internship Site: GRID Alternatives

Internship Site Weblink: http://gridalternatives.org/

Tell us about the site and your internship
At GRID Alternatives, we believe that a successful transition to clean, renewable energy needs to include everyone. We are working across the United States and in Nicaragua to make renewable energy technology and job training accessible to undeserved communities.

GRID Alternatives is a 501(c)(3) certified non-profit organization that brings together community partners, volunteers and job trainees to implement solar power and energy efficiency for low-income families, providing energy cost savings, valuable hands-on experience, and a source of clean, local energy that benefits us all.

At GRID Alternatives IE I was the Operations Intern. As the operations intern, I did not have one specific job to do but multiple different jobs. For me it was more of a place where I could help anyone who needed an extra hand. My first main assignment was to do research on Tree Trimming Companies to then make a list of possible references for homeowners who may need to get their trees trimmed before being able to get a solar panel installed. This assignment was an ongoing one throughout my entire time at GRID because there was paperwork and checking references to make sure that a tree trimmer will not try and take advantage of the homeowners.

Besides this, I would do other small administrative projects where I learned a lot more about GRID and how they began. I learned all about funding and how a family can qualify. Being able to have interned at GRID gave me the opportunity to learn more about solar.

What did you most enjoy about the internship and the academic component of GSST198?
Interning at GRID, I loved that I learned something that I heard of before but never paid much attention to. I had heard of putting solar panels onto your own home, but never understood how they worked. Because of GRID, I was able to see how we can save the planet by taking small steps in trying to save energy.

GRID allowed me to have a different viewpoint on how we use renewable energy. This internship allowed me to grow and learn about many new things. Learning that the GRID IE office started in their regional directors backyard to now having a wonderful office, you see that anything is possible if you really want to work hard for it. Everyone at GRID was amazing and not having a set assignment, it allowed me to get to know everyone and help them when needed.

As for the GSST 198 class, I really enjoyed that the readings allowed us to see what our major can do for us. Just like any other student wondering what they will do after graduation, this course helped me learn about different possible outcomes that I could do. Being a gender and sexuality studies major, you can do almost anything you want. It depends on how much work you want to put into it. GSST 198 helped me feel better about life after graduation.

What other activities are you involved in on and off campus?
I commute from Los Angeles to UCR daily for school. But on Friday's when I do not have class I enjoy going to the Los Angeles LGBT Center where I volunteer for the Village at Ed Gould Plaza. At the center I go once a week for about 4-5 hours and do data entry or help with events they may be having. Most of my time, I focus on my school work, but Friday's my day for volunteering with people who have changed my life!

What are your plans for the future?
I recently received the news that I was offered a position at City Year Los Angeles! This position is a year-long term. Afterward I plan on going to Grad School to get my Masters in Education. Everything is still in question but knowing as of now that after summer I will have a job where I will be impacting children on understanding how important education is, I will then see what more is out there for me and go from there. I've learned that for me, it's better to go with the flow than having a set out plan because if this plan fails I begin to think I am only failing and not learning from my mistakes.

   
Pegah Rashidi
Pegah Rashidi

Degree(s): Sustainability Studies

Graduating Year: 2017

Hometown: Corona

Internship Site: R'Garden/UC Global Food Initiative

Internship Site Weblink: http://www.ucop.edu/global-food-initiative/index.html

Tell us about the site and your internship
My internship site was the UCR Community Garden, the R'Garden. I had the opportunity to garden as well as create and film a documentary that revolves around Food Insecurity. Food Insecurity is the state of lacking access to adequate supply of nutrition and often times, one inhibitor is financial. We created a documentary that explores food insecurity and explains how this impacts students. According to a study done in 2012, 1 in 3 students (the number has increased since then) at UC Riverside are food insecure and are forced to choose between spending their limited money on textbooks and rent, versus food. Nobody should ever have to find themselves in this predicament and it was an honor to use my ability, resources, time, and effort to shine light on this vital issue. I made sure to highlight how administration has failed the students as well. This was a very important aspect of our documentary — we need more from our higher administration as well as the UC President and the UC Office of the President.

What did you most enjoy about the internship and the academic component of GSST198?
I enjoyed learning more about how I can apply what I have learned through my internship in my future. One of the readings explains how to combine my interest and love for activism with my love for sustainability and I am very excited to do this in my future! All of the readings offered unique and helpful perspectives and advice, and I found this to be a wonderful component of the GSST internship course.

What other activities are you involved in on and off campus?
I am the co-founder and President of an environmental justice and animal justice organization on campus called Protect all Animal Lives (PALs) — we focus on the local and global levels; I am a GSST Intern (Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies); I am in Highlanders for Sanders, an amazing progressive political organization; I am in Sustainable UCR, another club dedicated to sustainability and environmental justice; I am also involved with Active Minds and The Well which are Mental Health organizations on campus — we strive to improve and increase the quality of mental health resources; I am also in UConsent, we are a campaign dedicated to ending sexual violence, educating folks about sexual violence, as well as preventing sexual assault and sexual harassment; I am in Highlander Action Committee, a subcommittee of Associated Students of UCR (ASUCR - student government at UC Riverside). I am very passionate about mental health, sexual assault and harassment prevention and education, and sustainability — I have dedicated my time in college to these issues because they are all a very significant and instrumental part of who I am.

What are your plans for the future?
I plan to pursue my Master's Degree in Public Health with the hopes of either attending Medical School in the future or becoming a teacher. Medicine and Higher Education are both my passions, and I do not have it all figured it out yet. I plan to graduate from UCR in 2017, and work for a while. I would like to intern with a non-profit service organization. I am very passionate about health, medicine, and education. My other passion is travelling. I am definitely going to travel after I receive my Bachelor's Degree and then I will figure out everything else. For now, I am focused on my work and activism here at UCR. I love this school with all my heart and I am so happy that I have been able to contribute to my university in multiple ways.

   
Desiree Robinson
Desiree Robinson

Degree(s): Bachelor's degree in Gender & Sexuality Studies

Graduating Year: 2017

Hometown: San Bernardino, CA

Internship Site: UCR Women's Resource Center

Internship Site Weblink: http://wrc.ucr.edu/

Tell us about the site and your internship
The internship was 100 hours of research, 10 hours per week on one topic of choice. This was an individual project, and then once enough information was gathered, then the next step was to do a 50 minute presentation. Once the presentation was finished, a reflection paper was due.

What did you most enjoy about the internship and the academic component of GSST198?
What I enjoyed the most about my internship was the turnout of the students that showed up for my presentation. The whole room was completely full and the majority of the students were engaged in my topic. I think this internship was academic because the research was weekly, and I have never done anything this large before. Overall, it was a learning experience in the academic world.

What other activities are you involved in on and off campus?
I work full-time off campus.

What are your plans for the future?
I'm planning on possibly applying for a paid internship, and I also would like to gain more experience in the work place.

   
DJ Spears
DJ Spears

Degree(s): Creative Writing, LGBIT Studies minor

Graduating Year: 2016

Hometown: Richmond, CA

Internship Site: Anointed Vessel Productions, Inc.

Internship Site Weblink: http://anointedvessel.org

Tell us about the site and your internship
Anointed Vessel Productions, Inc. is a non-profit organization that uses performing arts as a means of human services. The organization targets underserved communities and uses performing arts to bridge the gap between creative arts and  academic success. At Anointed Vessel I was able to create two short stories. One story surrounds a group of students who attend a group for bullied youth. The students talk about their collective experience of being bullied or being the bully and how to prevent bullying. The second story focuses on domestic violence and the escalation between two older teens. The internship allowed me to use my degree in Creative Writing as well as my passion for social justice issues.

What did you most enjoy about the internship and the academic component of GSST198?
I enjoyed being out of my comfort zone. I had never made brochures or created blog posts for an off-campus organization so this allowed me to develop new skills in terms of advertisement. The academic portion was helpful because there were other students having similar struggles and it created a space for learning and processing.

What other activities are you involved in on and off campus?
On campus, I am the president of student organization, Asterisk, which is a trans* and ally's organization. I have also been involved with:
S.A.V.E. (Sexual assault and violence education)
C.O.R.E. (Community OUTreach educators)
First year peer mentor program

What are your plans for the future?
Currently applying for a professional staff position at UCSC. If I end up staying in Riverside I plan to volunteer at the Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center and plan to apply for a position at Operation Safehouse. I also plan to apply for graduate schools in masters degree in Higher Education focusing in student affairs.

   
Alejandra Tenorio
Alejandra Tenorio

Degree(s): Gender & Sexuality Studies; Media & Cultural Studies

Graduating Year: 2016

Hometown: South Los Angeles

Internship Site: UCR Undocumented Student Program

Internship Site Weblink: http://www.facebook.com/Undocu.UCR/

Tell us about the site and your internship
The Undocumented Student Programs Center is a safe and open space for all students regardless of their citizenship status. This center offers students free printing, course books can be borrowed, as well as clickers. There is an area for students to use computers and a small lounge where students can sit down to relax, eat, and hang out with friends. Aside from these fun resources, USP offers guidance and information for undocumented students. Undocumented students are presented with many opportunities such as events, meetings, and counseling. For instance, USP offers undocumented students the resources to be able to study abroad regardless of their status.

What did you most enjoy about the internship and the academic component of GSST198?
Overall, I enjoyed the ability to learn and grow in a setting outside of my comfort zone. Prior to this internship I wasn't aware about the existence of the Undocumented Student Programs Center and now I am happy to have been a part of it even if it was only for 10 weeks. I enjoyed learning that undocumented students are able to travel to different countries to study and explore new surroundings. I also enjoyed learning that USP holds events addressing the success in the lives of undocumented alumni thus giving current undergrads the ability to ask questions, learn, grow, and most importantly get rid of their fears of post grad life. In the end this internship and the academic component of GSST198 helped me realize that as a Gender and Sexuality Studies Major I have so many career opportunities and I can do whatever I like with this field.

What other activities are you involved in on and off campus?
Throughout my years at UCR I was part of the student organization, R'BEAT, which is a Latin dance organization that teaches students and the Riverside community short fun choreographed dances. Our main and popular dances involved bachata, merengue, and banda. Aside from R'BEAT I was involved in an organization called Las Fotos Project which focused on empowering young women through photography and film. This organization connects my fields of study because it involves both of my passions, helping young girls and film.

What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future is to become an on-campus social worker in a high-needs high school in a low-income community. I wish to help young adults build confidence in themselves, not only academically but   mentally, physically, and emotionally. Aside from helping them in their personal lives, I also want to be their friend and mentor when needing advice about their futures. I wish to help these kids succeed in every aspect of their lives.