My internship at the Women’s Fund

almanza-photo-1NameDaniella Almanza

Major: International relations and geography, Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs

Where you interned: The Women’s Fund Miami-Dade (WFMD)

What did you do there? I assisted in planning the Students Taking Action Against Human Trafficking Convening, which took place Sept. 9 at the UM BankUnited Center in Coral Gables. Open to all local university students and other community activists, it was a day-long convening where I met many new people and collaborated in group projects to open our minds and discuss different human rights and trafficking topics.

How did your internship connect back to your coursework? I first heard about trafficking in my Latin American studies class and I wanted to learn even more about the subject. At the WFMD, I learned firsthand how human trafficking (both sex trafficking and labor trafficking) affect men, women and children throughout the globe. Human rights is a subject that I am interested in and would like to focus on in my future.

What was the coolest thing about your internship? The coolest thing about my internship was definitely the convening. I heard from a woman who had been trafficked for 10 years and it was incredible seeing and hearing from a victim speak. It was tough to hear the pain in her voice, but she wanted to tell her story and make sure all of us would be safe.

What did you like most about your experience? I definitely enjoyed working with the ladies at WFMD. The atmosphere was friendly, relaxed and I was able to openly ask questions and learn. I was always interested in seeing how trafficking affected the local environment and through them, I was able to learn. I usually feel uncomfortable asking too many questions, but in an atmosphere where I know I won’t be judged or put down, I felt comfortable asking and learning.

What did you learn about yourself? I learned that I know how to work toward what I want and I could achieve anything. I also learned I could definitely see myself working with human rights in the future.

How did the position increase your professional confidence? I was put in situations I have never really been in before. For example, I would have to call many people at a time who I didn’t know and I was uncomfortable doing that. Now, I have the confidence to pick up a phone and talk to whomever.

How did you expand your professional network? I am positive that the women of WFMD will always be there for me. Also through WFMD, I was able to meet staff at FIU and now hopefully I will work with one individual to restart a club called ‘Not For Sale’ which deals with trafficking awareness.

How did it help you prove yourself in the “real-world?” Working, collaborating, organizing and just putting myself out there are actions I will always have to do. WFMD helped me strengthen these skills and outside of WFMD I will continue to work on these skills.

How did you get your internship? I heard about the internship through Eric Feldman, coordinator in the Office of Global Learning Initiatives, as part of my involvement with the Global Learning Medallion program.

What advice do you have for those beginning the internship process? When looking for an internship, make sure it is related to something you’re passionate about. Having experience in a field that you may actually have a future job in is what will determine whether you will follow the path you’re building or not. I already had a negative experience in the past, and this allowed me to learn, grow and figure out what I really want for my career.