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Coming to the DisAbled Women’s Network (DAWN) for DukeEngage, I knew that I would have a wonderful experience. My previous conversations with the nonprofit organization were warm and welcoming, I found interest in the topic of my research project, and I loved the idea of being in a new and different environment. But just in a couple weeks, my mind has been blown over the opportunities I have been given and the chance to work with such an amazing group of people.

Last week, we were given the opportunity to write a parliamentary brief on human trafficking for the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. With such a short notice all hands were on deck, as Sonia, the research coordinator of DAWN, and I pulled and organized all of our resources together. There was just one tiny challenge: the language barrier.

One of the greatest things about working with DAWN Canada is the people that it brings together. Sonia is from France, pursuing a doctorate in Sociology in Montreal. Like me, she connected with the DisAbled Women’s Network because she wanted to do research on women with disabilities. But who would have thought that an undergrad from the U.S. and a Ph.D. student from France would have the chance to work together on a parliamentary brief in Canada? And discuss the project with each other in two languages? Well, I sure didn’t. However, joined by our similar interests, we were able to collaborate and overcome the language barrier, speaking Frenglish to the best of our ability.

With the help of DAWN’s editor Sandhya Singh, we were able to complete the brief by the given deadline. I was so proud just seeing my full name listed as a researcher for the brief. However, what’s even better is that this brief is a permanent reminder of the wonderful people I worked with and the hard work we did to understand each other and pull this off. Now that’s what I call teamwork.