2020 PFIG Recipient Katie Cox
Journal Entry #1
Hello! My name is Katie Cox and I am a rising third year at UVA. This summer, I will be returning to impl. project, a nonprofit international aid organization that is based in Washington, D.C. and promotes data-driven solutions for impoverished areas. I am proud to stand behind this company’s ethics and share their same desire for designing aid programs based on local perspectives and opinions, so naturally I was excited when I was offered an internship position for what will be my second year with them.
COVID-19 has shifted my internship experience online. While I will miss business development meetings and the peaceful metro commute into the city, I have been enjoying working from home. I have been tasked with writing blog posts that will later be published on impl.’s website, designing a new social media campaign in response to COVID-19, analyzing new data sets, and working with my boss to create a data analysis bootcamp for the rest of the team. I’ve also been completing more simple assignments, such as editing Powerpoints or creating spreadsheets that help with our social media planning. I’ve been attending weekly check-in meetings with my bosses as well as weekly virtual lunches with our other intern and one of my managers. These have been really helpful ways to stay in touch with my team and create a sense of normalcy and routine despite working remotely.
Overall, I’m super excited to be back working with the impl. project team. We have a lot of interesting challenges ahead of us this summer, but I know that we are well-equipped to tackle them, especially because most of our team members are located at various locations across the globe, so we are used to interacting with each other primarily online. I look forward to the rest of my internship and the new skills I will hopefully learn! I think that I will be able to learn a lot about successfully managing my own schedule while working from home and establishing a routine for myself, and that these skills will also help me with online classes in the fall, as well as future remote working experiences.
Journal Entry #2
Hi! I am now about halfway done with my remote internship, and have really adjusted to my experience being online. Since my last blog post, I have continued to work on creating content for impl. project’s social media. We took a break from posting in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder so as not to distract our followers from the Black Lives Matter movement on social media, but since then, I have focused on creating content that highlights my organization’s values and dedication to empowering marginalized communities and underrepresented voices around the world through grassroots data collection. We are not a social justice organization, and thought it would be best to let those types of groups command the narrative right now, but I still thought that it was important to tweak our content a little bit in order to be more sensitive to current events and to demonstrate some of the parallels between our company’s mission and the values underlying the types of changes that need to happen in American society. This experience has made me very aware of my company’s efforts to become a better ally and has set an example for how companies can support certain causes while still letting the groups that should be leading take the reins.
I’m excited to be attending a data analysis bootcamp and retreat that my team has been planning for the first week of August. That week will consist of intensive methodology trainings and data analysis practice with some of my coworkers. We will also be hiking and spending time together outdoors, so its sort of a team building experience as well. I am really looking forward to this, as I think that in-person data analysis training will be really useful for the remainder of my internship as well as for my future academic and professional endeavors. Additionally, I am spearheading the launch of a COVID-19 mask pilot program in the Philippines. In the next few weeks, I will be working with women in Lanao del Sur to design and launch a livelihoods project surrounding women textile makers in the Philippines. This will create jobs while at the same time provide PPE that we will help distribute in America. The last project that I am working on right now is building out our strategy for Giving Tuesday. This is a day in November where we fundraise for a variety of projects on social media. I am working on several ideas that I think will help us raise more funds this year, such as a T-shirt campaign and social media posts. I am also researching what the best strategies for nonprofits to raise money on Giving Tuesday are.
As you can probably tell, I am very busy and excited about the work that I am doing with impl. project and am really happy that I am given many tasks and projects at the same time. I feel like I have more responsibilities and freedom than other summer intern positions, which is really cool because it just means that I am getting a valuable experience and learning a lot. I’m always challenged and pushed to produce good work, and I am looking forward to finishing out my internship on a positive note.
Journal Entry #3
Hi everyone, thanks for tagging along with my internship experience this summer! The next few weeks mark the end of my time at impl. project, and I am so grateful to have been able to become a part of the team and work alongside such hardworking people over the past two years.
My last few weeks have been spent working on the COVID-19 mask pilot program in the Philippines that I mentioned in my past journal entry and building out the Giving Tuesday content calendar as much as I can. It’s been an interesting experience to hop on calls with the field team from the Philippines at 9 or 10 PM. I learned that this was really common in international development, which makes sense because of the time zone differences. Our field team can speak English, but there is still a slight language barrier which really makes me understand how valuable it is to be able to speak fluently with other people from around the world in various languages. I am also really excited because I have plans to reach out to people at Batten and discuss potentially having two of my bosses from impl. project guest speak at one of their many free community virtual talks on the intersection of data and international development policy. Batten really emphasizes quantitative analytical skills, and I think this would be a perfect way to introduce many of my peers to an organization that deals so closely with what we study.
One of my biggest takeaways from this year’s internship was to be flexible! Life is constantly changing, and the ability to adapt and be willing to experience things in new ways is a skill that I only see becoming more and more useful as time goes on and the pandemic affects society in new forms. Additionally, I have further solidified my interest in working in the nonprofit sector.
Looking back at the goals that I set for myself at the beginning of this internship, I think that I have definitely learned a lot about being successful while working from home. I know that I need a designated work space to be productive and that even though I may be working from home, I need to create a schedule in order to separate my work life from my home life. I’ve learned a lot more about the processes involved at the higher level of international aid work, and I feel like I can bring a lot to the table when working with my peers or talking about my experiences. I’m thankful for the opportunity that PFIG has given me to continue this internship this summer, and I am excited for all of the new experiences that virtual learning will bring this fall.