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DukeEngage Portland has been here a week, and we have done some amazing things so far, but we also have a lot more to come. Here’s what we are looking forward to doing in Portland and at our internship positions!



“I can’t wait to get to know this city more and to explore not only the physical city itself, but also the rich and vibrant history and people that makes up Portland.” –Sierra


“I’m looking forward to learning more about the issues that affect Portland specifically and immersing myself in such a cool and environmentally friendly city and get to know it as best as I can in 8 weeks.” –Amanda


“I can’t wait to explore Portland and dive into its history and culture — the good and the bad — and I’ll let you know what I learn!” –Margaret


“I am excited to explore the city of Portland and understand its contradictions. I have heard so much about how it is a green city, but I want to hear about its problems as well as its accomplishments. I want to learn the things that no tourist would understand.” –Elizabeth


“Exploring the city of Portland in the last week has allowed me to experience many different walks of life and has made me aware of the many different situations that people may find themselves in. And that has made me understand why all people should be treated with kindness and respect, regardless. I expect this DukeEngage experience to make me more understanding and compassionate towards other people and the planet.” –Carol


“Before my arrival, I idealized Portland as an incredibly sustainable and green city. However, the short time I’ve spent exploring the city and working with my partner organization, Friends of Trees, has already exposed new sides to Portland: environmental injustices, poverty, and gentrification. In the next couple of weeks, I hope to delve deeper into these issues and learn more about proposed solutions.” –Jana


“In Portland, I hope and expect to meet new people and become exposed to different ideologies and backgrounds. I hope to take a lot from the city and am excited to do things such as bike and hike trails, see music shoes, meet people, and see art.” –Richard




“When I applied to DukeEngage Portland, I was picturing myself going out into forests and along rivers and down to the coast, picking up trash, tearing out invasive species, and helping people with their recycling and compost. Now that I’ve seen the office building that houses my organization (The Nature Conservancy) and the cubicle where I’ll spend the next eight weeks, I’ve had to strip away some of the glamour and grittiness that I had envisioned. I’ll be reconstructing spreadsheets instead of habitats and riverbanks, but I also know that the more visible conservation work wouldn’t be possible without the background research. I’m excited to see how my tiny piece of the puzzle fits into the much larger challenge of environmental work across Oregon, and I’m looking forward to understanding and appreciating the effort and hard work of thousands of volunteers that really form the backbone of nonprofits everywhere.” –Margaret


“I want to identify and experience the challenges that Oregon Food Bank is facing and learn about how it solves the problems of hunger and health. I look forward to interacting with people working in the organization and joining them in their everyday work, finding out the values that I can bring to help them.” –Tracey


“Over the next eight weeks, I expect to expect to learn about the different roles and responsibilities that go into running a nonprofit, at both a local and global scale, as well as learn how to work in an office environment, working by myself at my own pace with limited instructions from my supervisor.” –Carol


“This summer I am working in the regional government’s planning department on the livable streets project. Although I am not currently planning on working in urban development, I am excited to acquaint myself with both the theoretical (design concepts) and practical (regional government working with Portland city government) facets of urban planning. Although establishing a work life balance and creating meaning from my experience through reflection could pose challenges throughout the summer, I am excited to work through these issues with other participants.” –Nick


“During my time at Oregon Food Bank, I expect to gain some meaningful experience about what it’s like to have a job at a non-profit organization. This means I’ll become familiar with both the work and the people. I also hope to learn some new things about gardening and farming, as those are both components of the internship.” –Richard


“This summer, I will be working with the local regional government in their Planning and Development department on transit strategy. I’m excited to learn more about urban planning and to hopefully be able to help shape and write policies that will guide the Portland metropolitan area’s transportation strategy for the next few years.” –Amanda


“Part of my work includes reaching out to 1,000 Friends of Oregon’s community partners to listen to and collect stories about their relationship with the city of Portland. This content will be added to 1,000 Friends of Oregon’s new website that I helping to organize and curate. Through this project I’m hoping to not only provide valuable work for 1,000 Friends, but to gain a deeper understanding of how citizens of Portland interact with their city.” –Abbie