Unchained At Last Internship | Grace Kelly | Global Studies & Politics

Grace Kelly (she/her), Global Studies & Politics
Minor: Creative Writing


Project Description
My internship consisted of advocacy and policy work for the dedicated organization Unchained at Last whose mission is to end forced and child marriage in the United States. As a global studies and politics major, this professional experience allowed me to apply my knowledge and skills effectively. I participated in collaborative work with my peers that included coalition building, policy tracking, and communicating with diverse community members and legislators. This was a formative experience for me as my first internship at the college level. I was unsure and nervous before I began, but my team was kind and welcoming. They encouraged both my professional and personal growth. I often made mistakes in my early days and was corrected in a productive manner that inspired me to work harder to succeed. This is an internship that I would recommend especially to inexperienced students who are looking for a program that will foster and hone their skills in advocacy. Unchained itself is a critical organization that makes the world a better place on a daily basis and provides space for young advocates to participate in this wonderful mission.

What Form will your Final Project Take?

Who was supporting you in with work?
Jenna Campolieta is my internship advisor from the school who has supported me throughout this process.

How has this project has been impactful or transformative — for you personally or for those this work has impacted:
A particularly transformative experience for me, was when I was able to convince vital legislators from a difficult state to co-sponsor legislation that abolishes child marriage without exception. We had been working in this state for sometime and had been continuously struggling to make any kind of progress. But with my effective communication skills and continuous outreach, we made contact and arranged meetings with these legislators to create positive change.

What would you do differently? How would you advise a student who is going to do something similar?
As this is my first internship at the college level during a global pandemic in which I had to work remotely, I would be more confident from the start of my internship and not allow fear of the unknown to bother me. There were many challenges as working from home often made it difficult to make connections and it was easy for anxieties to arise. However, I would advise other students that they should be more excited than nervous because if the internship or program is committed to your development as they should be, they will support you and you will foster your skill sets further as a growing professional.

Are you going to publish or print your work? If so, where?

Short summary
My experience at Unchained was informative, productive, and inspiring. This internship has allowed me to become confident and comfortable within my career goals of advocacy and policy work. As this internship connected with my studies of politics directly, I am confident that it will serve me well in the future as an example of a supportive and informative work environment in my chosen field.

This picture is from the campaign photo-shoot at the end of my internship.I was incredibly ecstatic to meet my fellow interns and coworkers in person. After working online for so long it was a breath of fresh air to participate physically in this experience.

This photo-shoot was meant to take new pictures of the Unchained team supporting their mission of ending forced and child marriage in the U.S. We used donated wedding dresses and other props to portray the seriousness of this issue while highlighting the Unchained team.

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