The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Notes from the Field: Nana Adjeiwaa-Manu '16

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Rockefeller Center-funded interns reflect on their experiences as part of our Notes from the Field series. The Rockefeller Center helps students find, fund, and prepare for a leave-term internship experience in public policy research, public policy analysis, issue evaluation, or activities which help shape and determine public policy.

Student Intern: Nana Adjeiwaa-Manu '16

Internship Organization:
Maryland Governor's Commissions on Hispanic and Caribbean Affairs  

How would you describe your employer, their mission, or what they do in one brief paragraph?
The Hispanic and Caribbean Commissions are made up of respected individuals of Hispanic, Latino, and Caribbean descent that work to advise the Governor of Maryland on policy initiatives that are specifically targeted at benefiting the groups they represent.

What are your specific responsibilities in the organization?
I assisted in preparing the annual report on the Commission's work throughout 2014 by researching, collecting, and organizing data on Maryland Hispanics and Latinos. Additionally, I have participated in community events as a staffer. I also assist in maintaining the Hispanic Commission's Facebook page, where I update the community on area events, resources, and policy initiatives that affect Hispanics and Latinos.  

How did you feel on the first day of your internship?
 I felt like I did not belong on the first day of my internship. The day before, I learned that the office was in a transitional period since there would be a new governor-elect for the state of Maryland. The office was uncertain about its future since the new governor has focused almost completely on economic issues. It took a while to get to know everyone, and I could sense the tenseness in the air because of the uncertainty. However, I tried to remain as positive as possible and get to know everyone that I could on the first day.

What is your favorite part of the internship so far?
The most rewarding part of my internship experience has been that every day is different. Some days involve traveling to the State House in Annapolis to staff an event, while other days are spent being creative by coming up with events of my own. I enjoy the flexibility of the internship and the fairly relaxed atmosphere of the office environment. Also, the opportunity to meet influential individuals who are making a positive change in their communities is incredibly powerful and challenges me to make a change in my own community.

What challenges have you faced so far?
One challenge was figuring out how to meet and establish a rapport with everyone in the office. My office is quite large, and each person has a door to their office that they can close. As an introvert, it was very hard for me to try to visit each office to get to know every co-worker, but I realized that it was a great opportunity to network, find out more about what the organization does, and develop my interpersonal skills. I started by getting to know the Project Coordinator, who keeps the office running smoothly. I simply said hello and asked her about her journey to working in the organization. She told me many stories, and I was able to develop a positive relationship with her just by being attentive. I got to know more of my co-workers in a similar manner, and I also made sure to ask each of them if I could assist with a project in order to understand their work better. Pushing myself to be more talkative and proactive has helped me feel more comfortable in the office.

Broadly speaking, what do you hope to achieve by the end of your internship?
I hope to be better at networking and organizing events. Additionally, I would like to have contributed in helping the Commission integrate the interests of the Hispanic and Latino communities with the vision and interests of the new governor.

What have been some practical lessons you've learned in the day-to-day life of your internship?
Always know where the train, bus, or metro stops beforehand so that you don't miss it. It's more practical to wear comfortable shoes while commuting and then wearing your dress shoes once you arrive at the office. Get to know the person who keeps everything running in the office. They've usually been there the longest and can give you great insight into the organization.

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