It’s internship application time! That time in the school year when you’re not only finishing up schoolwork for the semester but also looking and applying for internships.
My name is Millena Prather and I was in your shoes a year ago. I was a junior at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), looking for internships that involved Social Work or Psychology since I’m majoring in both. It never occurred to me to do a fellowship involving public interest communications. However, when I learned about the Karel Fellowship, I knew I had to apply immediately. The Karel Fellowship is a two-month-long paid internship that includes paid housing and travel. It allows students to advance social justice with an organization that matches their interests and major.
When applying for the Karel Fellowship, I had to do two applications. One just for students at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) and the general application which is open to everyone across the USA. The USG application consisted of five essay questions, a resume submission and eligibility questions. In order to be eligible for the Karel Fellowship, applicants must either be a BIPOC and/or a first-generation student, as well as continuing school in the fall after the internship. The USG application is there so that the USG Career and Internship Services Center and the Macklin Center for Academic Success can help students edit their resume and essay questions before they submit the general application for the program. It also allows USG staff to pick finalists for the USG spot in the Karel Fellowship. When it came time to complete the general application, it was incredibly straightforward because all I had to do was submit the same materials as I did for the USG application.
Once that was all done, I learned a few weeks later that I was a finalist for the general application. I was so excited and proud of myself. I immediately scheduled a practice interview with the Career and Internship Services Center on campus, so when it came time to do my interview, I was fully prepared.
My interview was nerve-wracking, but thinking back on it, it wasn’t that hard. They asked me typical interview questions as well as questions like “Why did you apply for this fellowship?” and “How have you used social media to advance social justice?” A week to two weeks later, I received a call from the head of the fellowship. At first, I didn’t pick up the phone because I didn’t have the number saved, but when I listened to the voicemail, I called back immediately. After our conversation, I cried, hugged my friend, and called my mom. I got the sole USG spot for the fellowship!
During my time in the program, I stayed and worked in D.C., on various projects for Mary’s Center, a healthcare organization that provides healthcare, education, and social services for the public. I worked on a breastfeeding social media campaign for National Black Breastfeeding Week and researched different prenatal clinics, hospitals, schools, etc. for their Prenatal Symposium. I also worked on various other projects for the fellowship. Everyone has to do one presentation a few weeks into the program on their host organization, as well as an end-of-the-year presentation on a topic that connects back to their host organization. We also were required to write two blog posts.
But my time in D.C. wasn’t all work! I got to know my cohort since we all lived in the same dorm together right near the Lincoln Memorial! We would make dinner together, go out dancing, go grocery shopping, and visit museums.
If I could go back, I wouldn’t change a thing. I loved being involved in the Karel Fellowship, made lifelong connections, and gained invaluable experiences that I’ll never forget.
If you’re interested in the Karel Fellowship for next year, the application is currently open! Go to shadygrove.umd.edu/student-services/CISC/student-services/CISC/2023Karel and apply by Tuesday, January 31, 2023!