I felt joy and excitement upon hearing my acceptance to be a Karel Fellow. I did my best to contain myself until the phone call was over to permeate my room with joy. After months of preparation with my school, I felt ecstatic to start a new chapter in my journey. However, a few hours after, I immediately began to think, what if this was a mistake? Did they make an error and accidentally chose me? I began to doubt myself and my abilities. The truth is, like many, I have always doubted my abilities. Being a first-generation, DACA, and queer student, I often felt like I did not belong with my peers at school. I worried about failing in this opportunity. In addition, I worried that my minimal experience in communications would only cause disappointment. I reminded myself to try and go for it with an open mind to learn. I wanted to learn more about public interest communications and grow professionally and personally. I took a deep breath and thought to myself that I will do this.
The fellowship informed me that I would be interning at Spitfire, a highly recognized public interest communication firm that seeks to advance change by supporting various campaigns and initiatives. I quickly did more research to learn more about the organization. Reading their past work, I became excited to learn as much as possible at Spitfire. Having an interest in helping people and bring change, I knew this would be a great place to gain professional experience. Most of my work has been around immigration, and I wanted to branch out into other important issues. I wanted to learn new ways of organizing and mobilizing change. The field of public interest communications is new to me, but I was ready to learn. On my first day, I was met with many warm welcomes, meeting many friendly individuals at Spitfire, new employees and veteran communications professionals. My supervisor helped introduced me to many people based on my interests; every meeting was memorable. Despite not being in person, the environment was welcoming, and I felt more at ease as I navigated the virtual office of Spitfire. My first assignment was creating a media list. I lit up and quickly flipped through my notes from the boot camp. The perfect set of blueprints — thanks to everyone who presented throughout the Burness Communications Bootcamp!
With the support and guidance that I have received, I already know that this experience will be memorable. The people I have met at Spitfire have made my doubts go away. They are open to helping me and have provided helpful feedback that allows me to grow with confidence. In addition, the guidance I receive from the Karel Fellowship itself has helped ease my imposter syndrome. In my weekly check-ins, I feel comfortable sharing my struggle and received powerful and encouraging words, which always motivated me to finish the week energized for the following week.
In addition to the media list I was first given, I had the amazing opportunity to help take notes for a few meetings with clients, learning how Spitfire helps advance the amazing campaigns and initiatives of various organizations. I have been helping a few project managers with organizing information and ideas, researching, as well as helping create a social media toolkit for an organization to use on their platforms. I helped design a few graphics that are now going to be used to help announce an amazing initiative. My most important task, however, is running Spitfire’s Twitter. I was nervous at first but with my notes from the Communications Bootcamp and guidance from my supervisor, I have become comfortable in helping amplify the work of Spitfire as well as other amazing organizations. I have received great feedback constructively and encouragingly along the way, growing my confidence and feeling ready to take on a new task.
I look forward to learning more about the foundations of public interest communications, strategies and skills that will help in my professional and personal goals in helping in social activism and continue to try new tasks and projects during my last few weeks.