Name: Maryori Conde
Class Year: 2018
Concentration: Ethnic Studies
Maryori has interned at American Public Media, Breakthrough Providence, and with the AFSCME Union Scholars Program. Read on to learn more about how her desire for social change led her to pursue a career in teaching.
What kind of research experiences, internships, or fellowships have you been involved with during college?
During the summer, I have had internships that fall into different categories. My first internship was at American Public Media where I interned as a Financial Analyst and Office Clerk. I took this internship because it was way out of my comfort zone and I thought I should do it in order to learn communication and finance skills and I am happy I did. I learned how to use Excel and how much care and attention to detail the finance department has to have on a daily basis.
My second internship was at Breakthrough Providence where I was a Teaching Fellow. Breakthrough Providence is a non-profit organization that primarily serves academically motivated, first-generation, low-income students of color from the Providence area. As a summer teaching fellow, I co-taught a 15-student, heterogenous 7th grade English class. We created lesson plans that blended a social justice curriculum with an academic one. Our social justice curriculum taught issues related to the school-to-prison pipeline using the book Monster by Walter Dean Meyers as the primary class reading. I also taught an elective on Gender and Sexuality to the 8th graders, which was very impactful.
My last and most recent internship was being a Union Scholar for AFSCME (American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees). The program was sponsored through the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, as well as the Harvard Labor and Worklife Program. Through the program, I was able to learn how to be a labor organizer in Jacksonville, Florida, and rebuild a local of residential nurses that encompassed three hospitals. I had the opportunity to attend meetings with AFSCME international and state-wide organizers to report on the local and discuss different organizing methods for the future. This definitely helped change the way I saw organizing outside of a college setting.
How have these experiences shaped your goals and plans for the future?
My internship with Breakthrough furthered my passion and love for teaching and really cemented my desire to be a teacher in secondary elementary. My last internship with AFSCME showed me the importance of organizing around labor and how much diversity is needed within that field. I hope to be a teacher that is able to not only help my students succeed inside, but also outside the classroom. I hope to help their families and be an active member of their community.
What was your favorite part of or an interesting story about a research experience, internship, or fellowship you participated in?
My favorite part of each of the internships was that I was able to meet many different people of different backgrounds and hear their stories. It was great to be surrounded by people who were passionate about social justice and helping others. They were aware of their positionality through it all and how they were interacting with other folks and taught me how to do the same. I love them and feel like the people I worked for are mentors I learned so much from. They taught me how to care for myself and still be involved in activism.
Do you have any advice for students looking to potentially pursue opportunities similar to what you’ve pursued?
I did not pursue any research experiences, but I wish that I had. I didn’t believe in myself nor my ideas and felt that I would not be able to contribute as a professor to the academy in a meaningful way. Because of this, I steered away from those opportunities. My advice for students is to work everyday at believing yourself and your ideas. Talk to a professor about your ideas, meet with professors who are probably thinking about the same things, and they will definitely help you find the opportunities you need. If you are first-generation, low-income, these opportunities are still for you! Trust me, there are mad grants and scholarships out there that professors will push you to apply for if you want to do research.
If you don’t want to pursue research and want to do internships as I did, just look. Be comfortable with the uncomfortable. There are so many opportunities for student activists like the Dream Summer Fellowship at UCLA, the Union Scholars Program with AFSCME, and the Summer Activist Training. Don’t limit yourself if you are into activism and want to learn more. Also, if you want to be a teacher with a social justice focus, Breakthrough Providence was such an amazing resource. Would 100% recommend.