The League of Education Voters (LEV) benefits from the help, expertise, and hard work of summer interns. We recently interviewed our field intern, Raymond Fenton, who is pursuing his degree at Lewis & Clark College. Read more about his background and his experience at LEV, in his own words.
What was the focus of your internship at LEV?
As an intern, I did a lot of basic administrative work, like answering phones, taking messages, and documentation. However, I also had the opportunity to work on high-stakes tasks. For example, I played a major role in the preparation and support for the State Board of Education’s public hearing on the rules for the College and Career Ready Diploma and the Parents Partnering in Education Summit in Sunnyside, Washington.
Preparing for these events included inter-departmental meetings, and a lot of planning, visual design, and interpersonal communication on my part. While at the events, along with making sure that everything was running as planned, I took photos and live-tweeted. I also prepared for these events through blogging, sending press releases, and sending email blasts.
While interning, I also conducted research and wrote reports for LEV’s policy and field departments. In one of these reports, I had the opportunity to use both my quantitative and qualitative analysis skills to analyze each presenter’s success after the Parents Partnering in Education Summit.
Toward the end of my internship, I had the chance to create a strategic plan to launch an ad campaign. That was fun, difficult, and confusing at the same time, but it allowed me to start relationship building with other organizations around early learning. Finally, I brushed up on my interviewing and data collection skills through story-banking exercises as well as through some videography work.
How did you first hear about LEV?
I learned about LEV while doing some activist work on my college campus. I led a group of students to take a stand against inadequacies in cultural competency in Lewis & Clark’s administration and contacted one of the college’s donors with the hope that her voice might make our stand stronger. After speaking with the donor, Janet Levinger, who also happens to be LEV’s Board President, Janet recommended that I connect with LEV regarding a summer internship.
I wanted to learn how to be more proficient in organizing social change and thought that it would be a great idea to see and learn how the “professionals” did it.
What has been your favorite part of interning with LEV?
The best part of my internship was seeing the State Board of Education amend or uphold the rules regarding the College and Career Ready Diploma in favor of the appeals made by LEV, its partners, and members of the public. It was also great to see the final results of work (that sometimes seemed menial) that I had been doing from day one and to know that I had been a part of that change. It definitely empowered me to continue and to work even more earnestly.
The best part about working at LEV was the people. Each person was very different, but very good at what they do. I’m grateful for the learning experience and life-long lessons of empowering individuals to make change.
What are you up to next?
I get to go be a student at Lewis & Clark College again and kick it with the homies. For this semester I plan on auditioning for the musical, Spring Awakening. And there might be a presidential campaign in my future.
When I grow up I want to be an influential and celebrated member of society, bringing forth positive change wherever I go.