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Intern Insights

Have you ever wondered it is like to be a Carter Center intern? Welcome to "Intern Insights," a collection of photographs and quotes from Carter Center interns about what they learned during their internship.

  • Camille Henderson, Human Rights Program: “On a personal note, the most rewarding thing has been my ability to bring my full self to this internship. I’d always wanted to work at the intersection of religion and the rights of women and girls, and I’d always had to choose. Now I wake up excited each day because I can bring my full self to work — both my religion and my commitment to human rights — and I know the people we’re working with, the people we’re helping, and the religious leaders we’re assisting.” (All photos: The Carter Center/H. Velcoff)

  • Hobie Hunter, Programs Development: “I was surprised by how nice everyone is. You hear a lot about workplace politics, or there’s the stereotype of a nonprofit internship as you just getting coffee and re-filling cabinets, but I’ve found that people at The Carter Center are really engaged in your personal development. They ask, ‘What do you want to get out of this internship? What skills do you want to build? How can we make this internship work for you?’”

  • Heejun Yoo, Democracy Program: “It seems like it really depends on how much you want to learn, rather than what you’ve experienced before from college. This was my first internship in my entire life. Previously, I was spending my time doing volunteer stuff, teaching low-income kids in China or North Korean defectors, but I felt limited as an individual volunteer. That’s why I wanted to be involved in a big organization where I can make a fundamental impact on the world. In the Democracy Program, I really feel like I am involved in changing society, and that’s why I appreciate this experience.”

  • Tim Liptrott, Conflict Resolution Program: “In conflict mapping and conflict resolution, we’re working on a project for a UN cease-fire task force right now which has challenged me to ask a lot of questions. When they get the data, how are they going to analyze it? Are they going to be able to analyze it in a way that brings parties of the conflict together or not? It’s a very academic endeavor.”

  • Jacqueline Mullen, Programs Development: “I’ve learned to be flexible and to, I would say, take time personally to learn and grow and to balance that growth with the tasks I’ve been given. Something else I’ve learned is to not only befriend your boss but other people’s bosses so you really get to experience the different sides of The Carter Center. Just throw yourself in and immerse yourself and learn all that you can and realize this can be a stepping stone for anything you want in your life.”

  • Carla Jones, Mental Health Program: “I would say the first thing I learned was how to talk about mental health issues and how simple words can stigmatize whole populations. It is important not to assume and say that someone is suffering from a mental illness because they may be living in recovery and in fact not suffering. For example, you wouldn’t say that everyone with some sort of illness is suffering because often they find ways to lead full lives with those challenges. The Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism has taught me this very important lesson and to make sure to look at all sides of the issue and understand a person’s whole story.”

  • Tracy Li, Programs Development: “I’ve learned that things move slowly. And I think it takes a lot of persistence. It takes a lot of patience, and it takes a good balance of optimism. You’ve got to be on your feet, and you’ve got to be really pushing for things to happen, not just hoping that someone’s going to be there to support you in the end. You’ve got to be a burst of energy, you know, that keeps you centered on the pulse.”

  • Obehi Okojie, Democracy Program: “I have found people at The Carter Center to be very, very accessible, open, and very, very willing to share information and talk about things. So I would say to forthcoming interns to take advantage of that. That would be a very good way to abridge the time it would take you to get up to speed on what you’re supposed to be doing on a day-to-day basis, but also for the broader development of yourself as somebody who’s interested in international development. If you take advantage of these opportunities, I think you’ll be better for it.”

  • Davis DeRodes, IT Program: “I have a friend who since he was like, five, wanted to be a pilot. And there are some people who are like that, just like: ‘I want to be a pilot. Gonna be a pilot.’ And some people who’re here, they’re like: ‘Gonna be a diplomat. Gonna be in the Peace Corps.’ I’ve never been one of those people. I feel like each opportunity just clarifies what I want. There’s a quote I love about a stone maker, and he said, ‘I can hit the rock a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet on the hundred-and-first blow, it will split in two, and I know it wasn’t the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before.’ So I know that with each internship, I’m clarifying something, and I think The Carter Center’s a great place to do that. I don’t know what it’ll all turn into, honestly. I just know that I’m getting closer.”