Today was my first day as a Student Collaborator, working on the MyVoice Social Project. MyVoice is a social project based in the North Campus Research Complex. The goal of the project is to better inform policymakers and community leaders in real-time about the needs and priorities of young people. To this end the project utilizes a very common forum of communication for young people, text messaging, to collect the viewpoints of youths ages 14-24 on an array of societal issues, through weekly text surveys.
Prior to my role as a Student Collaborator on the project this summer, I worked as an undergraduate research assistant on the project through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program. As a research assistant, I was disillusioned to the lack of youth activation, as it relates to policies and issues that affect them. Being a young person myself, I recognized that this lack of activation was not due to youths not wanting to be involved, but rather as a result of the lack of a means for them to be involved. This project provided an outlet for me to assist in giving a voice to others like myself, and when I was offered the opportunity to continue on the project as a student collaborator during this summer, I was elated.
This internship with the MyVoice Project not only allows me to assist others, it also represents an auspice for me to work towards my existential goal of improving the state of public health in our country. It presents an opportunity for me to expand my knowledge about health policy, whilst working directly to improve policies that affect youth. Adding to this, as I oversee community outreach, project promotion, and event planning, the internship also facilitates the development of my communication, leadership, coordination, and time management skills, among others. As I continue on my academic and postgraduate journey, these are crucial skills for my success in any subsequent endeavor I will undergo.
Being honest, I predict there will be some challenges in store for me as this internship progresses. This is my first internship and though I have been working on the project since last September, I am assuming a number of duties I have never performed before. Even while I am ecstatic about pushing my horizons and acquiring new skills and honing others, my biggest fear is that I will mess up. I have never communicated with anyone as regal as a state official before, and now it is my responsibility to oversee all communications with the leaders of our state. I am praying I don’t mess up too bad in these coming weeks, but look forward to the propitious opportunities, connections, and skills that accompany this internship.