By Faith Nyakundi

It has been quite the journey completing my first year of college far from home. I have had to make tough adjustments, making new friends, a new academic system, a new culture, to name a few. All these changes have made me learn more about resilience, thriving in new environments.

As part of the journey, I decided to get an internship that would contribute to my learning. Whitman College provides internship grants every summer for students to do internships in their fields of choice. I got this grant first to work with Akili Dada’s Resource Mobilization Director, Shea Morrisey, owing to my interest in resource mobilization in the non-profit sector. In this position, I got a chance to work with Shea mostly in communication; blogging, copy editing the annual report, and managing social media. I continue to learn from her the writing process – communicating the Akili Dada story effectively - and organization.

I got a chance at a second internship with IDEX , an organization in Akili Dada’s network. I went in open to learn as much as I could because it was a field I had not previously interacted with. I first worked with the Learning and Evaluation Manager, Rajiv Khanna, on the first IDEX Academy, which was to bring together 8 participants, trainers and staff members for 5 days of learning. I spent some time working with him on the curriculum, planning travel and other logistics. This opportunity added to my experience, event planning. At the end of the academy, I worked with him on evaluation. We collated responses from a pre-survey, and final evaluation responses from the participants to generate a measurable outcome. This was my first interaction with evaluation processes. Rajiv has in-depth knowledge on program evaluation, policy formulation, and critical analysis. Therefore, from working with him I learned about the different approaches to pilot a project to achieve great success.

While interning with IDEX, I joined the Present Purpose Network. I took this opportunity to be part of a network of women philanthropists throughout the world, tabling my ideas, and learning from them about funding and partnerships. I will be representing the network in an event by Y-Leap, which is working to educate young women in the East Bay.

Having completed my first year of college, I realize the need to have my career goals, inform my choice of classes in the coming year. I am proud of the solid foundation and network in Akili Dada, and the great liberal arts education at Whitman College that continue to guide and elevate my ambitions.

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