Today marks the beginning of my second week of the IEDP internship, and while most of my classmates have endured long flights to new locales, I’ve elected to do an internship from the most ordinary place ever… my home. Luckily, my home is in New York City which is more exciting than a lot of other places.
Working from home isn’t for everyone, but before coming to UPenn I traveled pretty extensively (close to 75% of the time) for my job supporting education development projects in West Africa, so staying close to home for the summer was an ideal internship option for me. At some point in this process, I’ll make a few trips down to DC to meet with the team, but for the most part I’ll get to be here in NYC.
More importantly, what makes this an especially exciting internship is that I get to work with the Education Research Team at an organization I’ve long admired: Save the Children. Anyone who talks to me for more than about two minutes finds out that I am a total nerd, especially it comes to language, literacy and reading education. Save the Children happens to be home to a very interesting and well-supported global literacy intervention called Literacy Boost, which is designed to help kids around the world build the literacy skills they need to thrive in their education and in life. You can read more about Literacy Boost on the Save the Children website , but one of my favourite parts of the Literacy Boost programming is that it includes program components in the classroom, the home and the community for life-wide literacy learning.
Photos from a NYT article about Literacy Boost
So what exactly am I doing with Save the Children this summer? Something that would probably make most of my IEDP colleagues groan: desk research, writing, and copy editing. The Save the Children Education Research Team generates a lot of data from impact evaluations and other research efforts around the world, but most of the research findings are published in what’s called the “gray literature” — project reports, country reports, and think pieces. But grey literature doesn’t carry the same clout as research published in peer-reviewed journals (for obvious reasons– if something is peer reviewed, it means it holds up to a rigorous process of critique and is therefore worthy of publication and entry into the academic “conversations” taking place). So, my job as the Save the Children Research Intern is to help transform the research team’s most interesting findings into articles which can be submitted to journals for peer-review and eventual publication.
In the first week of working with Save the Children, I’ve already met in person with the head of the Research Team (who also works from home near NYC), helped review and respond to feedback given for an article that was already submitted for publication before I started, and started research for a literature review for a second article. One of my favourite things about this internship so far is that I get to learn about things I didn’t really know much about before.
Before I sign off, here’s a picture of my work-from-home buddy, Pepe, who does not find this internship nearly as interesting as I do, but that’s probably because he can’t read: