Student Non-Profit Work this Summer Makes a Long Term Difference

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On Thursday November 9, three Bates students shared their experiences interning with non-profit organizations this summer. The three students, Kiernan Majerus-Collins ’18, Julia Mehl ’19, and Joe Tulip ’18, each had internships in very different fields, ranging from public policy to history to dentistry.

Mehl gave the first presentation of the session, which focused on her work for the non-profit Beyond Housing, based in her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. As part of her internship, Mehl worked on several voter registration drives in neighborhoods in northern St. Louis.

Mehl’s project was a part of a larger initiative by Beyond Housing to improve these neighborhoods. Some of the other projects that the non-profit worked on included building a health clinic, a movie theatre, and a senior center that employed residents of the local community. Mehl was particularly excited to work for Beyond Housing because she grew up in St. Louis and liked the idea of working for her city.

“[The internship] was a great opportunity to go home and give back to my community,” said Mehl in her presentation.

Up next was Tulip, who worked in Washington County, Maine with Maine Mobile Health. As part of his work for the non-profit, Tulip examined the oral health of the children of migrant farm workers. The non-profit provided examinations for these children and also worked to educate families about proper oral hygiene. Though it was often hard to provide this service for a population constantly on the move, Tulip was able to make a major impact for many children.

Since returning to Bates, Tulip has been able to parlay his experience this summer into his senior thesis, which involves doing similar work in the Lewiston community. Tulip felt that dentistry and oral health, while often underappreciated, is nonetheless very important.

“It’s important to talk about creating a preventative culture with dentistry,” he said.

The final presentation was done by Majerus-Collins, who interned with the Frances Perkins Center in Damariscotta, Maine. The Frances Perkins Center is an educational facility focused on the work of Frances Perkins, who was the Secretary of Labor under Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the first female member of the United States Cabinet. As Secretary of Labor, Perkins helped to spearhead several important pieces of legislation that are still in place today, such as bans on child labor.

As an intern at the Frances Perkins Center, Majerus-Collins mostly greeted, talked to, and educated tourists who came into the center with limited or no knowledge of Perkins’ life. As a current History major at Bates, Majerus-Collins felt that it was a privilege to get to work for a history related non-profit, something he wasn’t sure would be possible.

“[The internship] was a great opportunity that connected to my major and extra-curricular interests. I even made some money, which I’m probably going to spend at the Den,” he said jokingly.            

The presentation was a part of a series put on by the Harwood Center that was meant to highlight the work students have done this summer through Bates’ Purposeful Work Initiative. Friday’s presentation was the last in the series for the semester.

While the non-profit work that Majerus-Collins, Mehl, and Tulip  each did this summer varied greatly, every one of them was able to make a lasting, positive impact.

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