DukeEngage is accepting applications for the Brodhead Service Program, a summer fellowship available to DukeEngage alumni who wish to design their own civic engagement project in partnership with an organization in the United States.
Interested? Read about the experiences of a recent Brodhead Fellow below. (Please note that while last summer’s fellowships were virtual, this year’s project proposals should plan on in-person fellowships.)
Manvi first learned about civic engagement as a high school student in Darien, Connecticut, where she served as a volunteer EMT. As a rising sophomore at Duke, she was accepted to a DukeEngage program in India, but when the program was cancelled, she took advantage of a DukeEngage-funded opportunity to intern virtually at the Community Fund of Darien [TCF], a nonprofit organization located in her hometown. “I care about the town I grew up in, and I wanted to support that,” she said.
During her DukeEngage experience, Manvi began working on a project to create a Volunteer Hub: a “concierge service” that would link volunteers to opportunities in organizations across the area based on their interests, availability, and other determining factors. She was able to continue working with the organization for a second summer through the Brodhead Service Program. “I really liked the community, and I said, ‘Why not? This is a good opportunity,’” she said. Eager to work on the project that she began the previous summer, she described the fellowship as a “self-motivated, self-guided” experience.
According to Manvi, a virtual internship looks much the same as any other internship: she woke up, got dressed, and settled in at her desk around 8am. She often began Mondays with a meeting with her supervisor to discuss her goals for the upcoming week. Then she spent several hours contacting nonprofits to gather information for the Volunteer Hub, tracking their responses on a spreadsheet. In the afternoons, she shifted to other tasks for the organization, such as planning fundraising events, corresponding with legislators, or drafting letters and forms. By the end of the summer, she was able to hand off her work on the hub to two incoming staff, who will connect volunteers to the nonprofits she recruited, based on detailed information about their needs and requirements that she collected.
In addition to the supervisors she worked with at TCF, “my alumni mentor was awesome,” Manvi said. She was paired with Lauren Gardner, the COO of the Emily K Center, which provides learning and leadership development opportunities to K-12 students. Gardner was “very hands on,” and provided advice related to the Manvi’s work on the volunteer hub as well as her career path.
Through these two virtual summers in Connecticut, Manvi said, “I realized that civic engagement is something that you can balance in your day-to-day life. I think people have the perception that if you’re going to be involved, you really need to commit, and give your life up, and move to another country…I don’t think it’s like that. It’s something that can be very local. You don’t need to go anywhere to do that. And I think it’s something that can be—it should be—ongoing and continuous.” When she enters the workforce, she says, she hopes to continue to volunteer in one of the areas she’s passionate about: women’s health.
To learn more about the Brodhead Service Program, be sure to visit the website. Questions can be submitted to email@example.com.