Darnisha completed an internship with the Sorensen Institute through UVA's Internship Placement Program. As part of her internship, she helped to design programs to engage alumni throughout Virginia.
“The political focus of this internship was completely new to me, but it also intrigued me. I became interested in exploring the intersection of politics and medicine and that opened up doors for me. I would not have traded this experience for anything else this summer."
Alumni Engagement Assistant, Sorensen Institute
Darnisha was a rising second-year student studying Biology through the College when she completed this internship.
Why did you choose to intern with the Cooper Center, Sorensen Institute?
I decided to intern for the Weldon Cooper Center because I thought it would be a fascinating and engaging experience. With my lack of experience in the field of politics, I was compelled to propel myself into a new environment, not only as a challenge but as an educational opportunity. I knew that I would be interested in learning more about Virginia politics since I am new to the state.
What were some of the projects you worked on as part of your internship?
I primarily worked in aiding formulate programs for Alumni Engagement through the Sorensen Institute. I worked a great deal with my supervisors to communicate effective strategies in cultivating such programs in regions throughout Virginia. In my short time at Sorensen, I mainly worked with creating an outline for a promotional piece for an upcoming program that we had been assigned to work on.
What did you learn as a result of this internship?
I have learned how imperative it is to communicate effectively and efficiently. I realized that everyone is on their own schedule and that being able to communicate will save everyone time, especially when you are working with a team. Sorensen is built off of teamwork and that was evident in every aspect of my internship. I learned to value the importance of communicating within a team.
I was also able to learn more about myself as well. I had learned how to work more independently while still getting the job done. Adopting this style of working independently has taught me how to take initiative. Despite this being a change from how I usually work for school, I was able to understand how to motivate myself. It was great, not only learning how to work as a team, but also learning how to work with myself.
Has your experience helped you in your academic studies, given you skills you can use in a future career or helped you to think differently about your academic and/or career path? If so, how?
Yes, a great deal. My experience was especially unique since it was completely virtual, but I believe that aspect is what taught me the most. I was forced to put my technological skills to work with writing emails, using spreadsheets, and other forms of technology and online resources to better work with my team. I was able to find unique and more efficient ways to complete assignments using technology. This internship gave me the time to explore my skills and I know that that will be extremely beneficial in my future endeavors, academically or professionally.
The political focus of this internship was completely new to me, but it also intrigued me. I became interested in exploring the intersection of politics and medicine and that opened up doors for me. Through this experience, I was able to explore what I truly value as I look towards my future as a healthcare professional. I was able to understand the political impact on medicine and that was an invaluable eye-opening experience. It seems to be a topic that I would like to further traverse in my future career.
What was your favorite part of the internship?
The team is what made it all the more amazing. They were very understanding of my position and I never felt out of place even when I didn’t understand certain things. My supervisors always took the time to be there for me and that compassion and patience have most definitely extended themselves to my personality. It was great to observe those who genuinely loved their jobs because it created an environment that encouraged me to perform at my best all the time.
Would you recommend working at the Cooper Center to future students?
Of course, I would not have traded this experience for anything else this summer. Everyone was so accommodating and held mutual respect for one another that it made me feel comfortable stepping out of my comfort zone. I have not had the opportunity to experience working at the center in person, but even through Zoom, I was able to feel a sense of community. That speaks volumes about what the Cooper Center can provide for students, especially for those who are genuinely open-minded and interested in learning.