“Say yes! Who knows where it’ll take you?” is something my mother always likes to tell me. Whether it’s hanging out with friends or applying for internships, that mentality has always stuck with me, which is why I decided to pursue this opportunity with the Frank Karel Fellowship. Going into this Fellowship, I had no idea what Public Interest Communications was. I tried my best to do my research but could not seem to get a good idea of what I’d be doing in this fellowship. To my surprise, it has been one of the best opportunities I have taken so far. 

Being matched with the Food Recovery Network (FRN), a non-profit fighting to end hunger and food insecurity in the U.S., felt like a blessing. I have worked with non-profits before doing advocacy work, so I had some insight when joining FRN. Little did I know that my previous experiences would greatly go into play at my work with FRN. 

Interning at a small organization such as Food Recovery Network has helped me gain more knowledge in the world of communications such as being able to dip my toes in many different projects. I have been able to expand my social media skills in Canva, making graphics for FRN’s social media platforms, as well as improving my video editing. 

FRN has also helped push me out of my comfort zone. I have been able to do things that I had never thought I would do. For example, FRN is hosting a White House Listening Session regarding food insecurity and hunger for the White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health that’s happening in September. I have been taking a lead role on this project. For this event, I was able to help draft an email and graphic to send to Food Recovery Network’s Partner Agencies to join a webinar (which I found out how to create) to discuss their efforts on helping fight food insecurity. To build up to the Listening Session, I had been invited (with my amazing supervisor Regina) to the Capitol for the “Fight Food Waste and Insecurity Through the Food Donation Improvement Act” Conference to help pass the Food Donation Improvement Act. 

To prepare for this event, I had been coordinating with the sponsor of the event, Weight Watchers, to confirm the logistics of the organizations joining, as well as preparing how we want FRN followers to see what we are doing through social media. I had never thought I would be inside the Capitol (unless for an internship on the Hill), let alone join a conference to help pass a bill. 

With a team of eight, I am so amazed at what we have accomplished so far and what we hope to achieve in the near future. Originally, I genuinely thought everyone on the FRN team would be very serious and all about business, but our weekly comms meeting and all staff meetings have helped me see that you can laugh and have fun while working. 

If you had asked me two years ago what I thought I would be doing the summer before my junior year of college, I would have probably told you that I would be interning at a law firm or interning for my local government. Work in Public Interest Communications would not have crossed my mind. But I’m glad that it did cross my path because the work that I am doing now is something that I thought I would never do, and the work is rewarding in the end. This Fellowship has taken me on a new path in life, helping me gain skills that are relevant in any sort of situation or career, as well as taking me to a networking event near the White House (which is pictured above). And this was all because I said yes.