I am four weeks into my Fellowship, and I cannot believe how much my understanding of communications has changed. I must admit, when I applied to the Karel Fellowship I was not entirely sure of what public interest communications was. However, the more time I spend around my peers, coworkers, and mentor, the more I’ve learned about the world of communications.

To me, communications is like a puzzle. It includes many different components that come together to form the perfect picture. Once completed, that picture is able to tell a story, evoke emotion and captivate an audience.

My first exposure to communications was at the boot camp at Burness. I was stunned by unfamiliar concepts like embargo, media list, and pitches. Even familiar concepts like social media, blogging, and storytelling were a bit different. I did not realize that there was a science behind all of this. By the end of the boot camp, I felt more comfortable as a communicator. I am thankful to have had that crash course before delving into the world of communications at my internship.

Currently, I am interning with Urban Alliance (UA). Urban Alliance is a nonprofit whose mission is to empower under-resourced youth to succeed after high school by providing professional development, mentoring, and paid internships. Their mission deeply resonates with me because I was a part of a similar program, A Better Chance (ABC). ABC works to empower inner-city students of color by helping them attend private and public schools across the country.

During my time with ABC, I got involved with their summer orientations and college tours. Now in college, I continue to stay involved. Last summer, I interned with ABC national and during the school year, I began a fellowship with Matriculate. This organization trains college students, like me, to help high school students with their college applications. All of these experiences have led me to discover my passion. Helping young people reach their fullest potential and gain access to opportunities and resources is my passion. Given my interests, Urban Alliance is the perfect place for me to continue working in youth development and education.

Here at the Urban Alliance, I have learned a lot more about the importance of communications and messaging. Under the guidance of my mentor, Emily, I’ve realized that there is a lot that goes into each blog post, press release, and article. One of the first tasks that I was assigned was to transcribe interviews. Although this might seem mundane, transcribing is the first piece of the puzzle. From those interviews, I was able to get quotes and background information for an article that will be published this Fall. Another task that I have been working on is building an editorial calendar and a media list. Both of these are very important because they tell you who to pitch, how and when. Ultimately, when you put all of the pieces together you have a story, like this one that I worked for the Urban Alliance’s blog!