Current Social Justice Interns
Learn more about some of our current Social Justice Interns, their work, and what they're learning from the experience.
Name: Angelica Parker
Major: Criminal Justice and Criminology
Internship Role: Misericordia, Social Services
I work at Misericordia as a Social Work intern. Most of my responsibilities pertain to keeping the residents who live at Misericordia’s files updated. This includes doing Social History updates to track their progress at Misericordia and document all of the wonderful things they've done during their time there. I also do File Reviews to help screen prospective residents. A lot of what I do is office bound, but on some occasions I am able to spend time with the residents. It's so amazing getting to know the residents and talk to them about their lives. I am so excited to further explore Misericordia and its many components and continue to get to know the outstanding residents who live there.
Name: Camille Smith
Majors: Political Science and International Studies
Minor: Islamic World Studies
Internship Role: Government Relations Intern at Catholic Charities
Much of my work consists of maintaining our relations with elected officials, especially those who represent our most-served communities in the Chicagoland area. On a daily basis, I do tasks such as manage data on our interactions, site visits, and meetings; determine which elected officials we need to contact regarding particular sites or issues; and finally, schedule and attend those meetings. In the future, I will also be working on both grant and policy writing. I’m really enjoying the opportunity to advocate for social justice on a professional level, and am glad I am becoming more familiar with all of the essential social services Catholic Charities provides.
Name: Dorian Manion
Major: Environmental Science
Minor: Political Science and Sustainable Business Management
Internship Role: Misericordia, Developmental Training and Human Resources Intern
My role at Misericordia is divided between two departments. I spend my mornings working as a developmental training intern and my afternoons assisting human resources. In developmental training, I work with Misericordia staff to teach residents skills that will enrich their experience at Misericordia and enable them to live more independently. The goal for all Misericordia residents is that they will live, work, and interact often with their Chicago community, and through developmental training, they are able to do this successfully. I have brought my own interests of sustainability and gardening into my role and work often in the Greco Gardens and greenhouse. The human resources department is a fascinating and dynamic place, and I have gained valuable experience processing, filing and updating information essential for Misericordia’s employees. I enjoy being able to directly serve Misericordia through resident interaction and also apply my organizational skills to the projects I’ve been working on in human resources.
Name: Ellie Kust
Major: International Studies, Spanish B.A./M.A.
Internship Role: Catholic Charities Immigration and Naturalization Services Intern
In my internship, I work directly with clients on family immigration matters. Catholic Charities provides legal consultation to individuals seeking family reunification, extensions of stay, permanent residency cards, work permits, naturalization, and other legal processes. One of the most interesting things about my role is navigating the learning curve of the U.S. immigration system. It is a complicated and often frustrating process to reach citizenship, and I feel privileged to be able to assist people directly on the path to their goals. I also work with the Immigrant Survivors Project, which offers assistance to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other abuses in the process to petition for their lawful status and safety. My work with Catholic Charities is eye opening and rewarding, and I am grateful for this opportunity to learn and grow in my career field.
Name: Molly Mrzlak
Major: International Studies and French
Minor: Leadership Studies
Internship Role: Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Job Development Intern
My role in the Refugee Resettlement Program involves being on the Job Development team, where I support clients at any point in the job process. This includes informing clients about US work culture and what their rights as legal workers in the US entail; as well as assisting with job searches, applications and interview practice. In addition to my regular duties, I am working on a long-term employer outreach project to ensure that our clients can have accessible opportunities with the most ethical employers in the Chicago area. As current federal policy surrounding refugees is providing uncertainty, we are working on advocating for our clients as best as we can. I may not be spending as much time in the field, but this provides me with the opportunity to really focus on how to improve the effectiveness of our program. Thanks to my amazing supervisor, I have the freedom to develop and learn while still providing benefits to this wonderful program. I am looking forward to taking the experiences I will have and putting them towards working with refugees in future.
Name: Rachel Gerton
Internship Role: Fitness & Aquatics Intern at Misericordia
As the Fitness & Aquatics Intern at Misericordia, I work with the staff of the fitness department and residents from a variety of living areas to better their well-being through physical activity. I spend most days working with residents on their weight/cardio routines in the fitness room - logging their weights and providing motivation. I will also be working with the physical therapist at Misericordia to update and create specific fitness plans for individual residents. It has been wonderful to be able to promote health and wellness - especially in an environment so full of energy, music, and exercise - and I hope to continue learning and growing with the staff and residents!
Name: Rekha Thapa Chhetri
Minor: Psychology of Crime and Justice
Internship Role: Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement, K-12 Education
The K-12 program at the Refugee Resettlement office of Catholic Charities supports many refugee children and families as they integrate into the U.S. educational system. The services offered to the refugee families through Catholic Charities are indispensable to having them successfully transition. My specific role as an intern in the K-12 education program includes multiple responsibilities such as helping families enroll into schools, assisting staff with afterschool tutoring, assisting during parent-teacher conferences and administering ESL tests. The services provided to these families and children are specifically catered to their needs and the services are provided in many ways. My supervisor and I frequently do home visits to provide parental orientation, administrator English tests and assist the family/children with any other issues/challenges that they are are facing. My role at Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement is not limited to K-12 programs. I also help other departments (Job Development, Case Managers) to translate languages (Nepali and Hindi). The opportunity to assist refugee children with their homework/school materials is very rewarding for me because these children struggle a lot to make themselves compatible with others in their classes who are raised in the U.S. and whose mother language is English. I am very inspired by the efforts that refugee children and families put in just to integrate into the U.S. educational system and to learn the U.S culture.
Name: Tim Platten
Major: Sociology, Communication Studies: Advocacy & Social Change
Internship Role: Catholic Charities Volunteer Relations Intern
Working within the Department of Volunteer Relations has enabled me to see the importance of indirect service. With most of my work having to do with emails, Excel sheets, Salesforce, and other databases, it seems very estranged from the actual work that the volunteers are doing, but it is not. If it were not for the awesome work that the Volunteer Relations Department does, some of Catholic Charities' biggest volunteer ministries would fall to the wayside with their lack of coordination. Whether its ConstantContact for the Junior Board, Salesforce for the Celebration of Giving, or Excel sheets for Toy Shower, the work done behind the scenes enables the great work that our volunteers are able to do day-in and day-out. It has been such an eye-opening experience to see the behind the scenes of a non-profit organization thus far. I am excited to see where the rest of the year takes me.
Name: Zachary Enriquez
Major: Advertising & Public Relations
Internship Role: Developmental Training Intern at Misericordia
I am currently an intern at Misericordia Home, a community that supports people with mild to profound developmental disabilities. As a Developmental Training Intern, I work one on one with the residents of Misericordia as they participate in developmental programs tailored to their various individual needs. I work closely with the instructors of each of the programs as they build lessons designed to increase resident’s independence and community integration. My favorite part about the internship is getting to interact firsthand with the population my organization serves, and building meaningful relationships with staff and residents alike.