Internship Blog Week #1

My internship is through the Detroit Community Based Research Program (DCBRP) in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP).  My specific placement within this program is with the human rights non-profit, Focus: HOPE in Detroit Michigan. As a fellow in DCBRP I am an intern for eight weeks in the Community Development Department at Focus: Hope. I was drawn to this specific opportunity first through my previous experience in UROP. Secondly, I was drawn to this experience because being an upper level Sociology major at the University of Michigan I became frustrated with the high emphasis on theory of social inequality that I was finding in my classes. I appreciate that understanding theory is necessary, especially on a foundational level to having a full, complex understanding of social problems. Why I became dissatisfied and is now motivating my future career goals was that the further I progressed in my studies I expected the practical application of the theory that I had learned in my earlier classes but what I found instead was higher theory. This divorce between theory and practice is why I chose to devote my summer to working with a community organization. I want to hopefully begin to bridge the gap between theory and practice that exists in the Social Sciences, especially the field of Sociology.

The specific project that I will be working on for the next eight weeks is the Hope Village Initiative, my role in the project is program evaluation. Through my role I hope to bring experience of conducting research in a highly rigorous environment to Focus:HOPE. Even though I anticipate this being my largest asset to the organization I am quickly figuring out that it may also be my biggest challenge. I am  quickly realizing that the same rigor that I am used to with research may not be accessible or even ideal within a community organization. Therefore, I expect to learn more intimately the challenges/obstacles that Non-Profits face when serving the community. I also expect to be challenged and am excited to put the theory that I have been learning for the past three years into practice. I am also expecting to use this experience to help narrow down my career trajectory, perhaps even help me determine if working in the Non-Profit realm is something that I am indeed interested in.

Of everything that this internship is offering me what I am most excited about is the direct relevance that this experience has to my future career goals.  I am excited to learn the practice and develop skills in program evaluation that will help me with my eventual career goals of Policy Evaluation/Advisement.


2 thoughts on “Internship Blog Week #1

  • June 6, 2018 at 10:46 pm

    Hi Kia! My name is Hannah Lozon and I work at the Opportunity Hub. I will be following your blog posts this summer and I look forward to hearing more about your experience at Focus: HOPE. I was a social justice educator in a former life, and it’s really refreshing (albeit, disheartening) to hear you talk about the disconnect between theory and practice. I’m impressed your self-aware enough to recognize this issue. Have you found that your peers in the classroom observe and notice this as well? Is it something you’re able to bring up to the department? Perhaps down the road an internship could be required, or a practicum class in a similar vein.

    Additionally, your awareness that the “same rigor that I am used to with research may not be accessible or even ideal within a community organization.,” is important. Did FOCUS: Hope or DCBRP give any training about entering communities and serving from a community led perspective? Sounds like you’re already aware of this need, and hopefully you’re able to talk with your supervisor for the summer to tailor your approach.

    I look forward to hearing more in the weeks to come.

  • June 6, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    P.S. – when you return to campus, I hope you’ll come see us at the Hub (if you haven’t already) as you narrow down your career trajectory and reflect on your experience this summer. we have staff who focus on the social sector.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *