A Day in the Life of an Intern – Sophia’s Internship Experience at the Legislative Office of MLA David Coon
We learn in many different ways in our undergraduate studies. We learn in lectures, through course readings, projects, and presentations. For me, the best method of learning is through doing. The Arts Internship has provided me with an opportunity to practice skills and knowledge I have learned in my studies and apply them to important projects. I am passionate about changing our community for the better. Working as an intern with David Coon, Green Party MLA for Fredericton South, and his team, has provided me with an opportunity to support that kind of change.
Our cohort of interns have tasks, assignments, and projects based on issues related directly to the core values of David Coon’s team. Many of these projects are shaped by the upcoming legislative agenda coming out in December 2015. One of my projects has been to provide backgrounders – research documents providing important context for David Coon – on issues such as Commercial Food Waste in the Fredericton community. According to my research, the first step in food waste management should be to make use of the food while it is still salvageable by ensuring community groups and food banks have access to it. The next step for food that is spoiled should be processing in anaerobic digesters that turn the food waste into biogas, which can be used to generate electricity and heat, or processed into renewable natural gas and transportation fuels. Third in this chain should be compost programs for commercial food retailers. My research demonstrated that few commercial food retailers in Fredericton currently use any sort of food waste management program. Finding out this information and putting it into a backgrounder helps our representative to assess what is currently being done in our community and develop new policies.
In addition to backgrounders, I work with other interns on SWOT analyses, which assess the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats associated with acts and amendments being put forward in the New Brunswick Legislature. These SWOT analyses provide concise information to determine next steps and responses for David Coon and his team.
In addition to research on legislative issues, I have also become involved in community outreach. This part of the internship has captured my interest in various ways. In particular, rising awareness and community commitment to mental health has been a significant outreach issue. Mr. Coon has initiated a Youth Round Table to discuss many matters in the local community including wellness and mental health. I am now part of this round table and I am able to help strategize ways to communicate effectively within the community. Some of these initiatives include helping to launch a Youth Wellness and Mental Health Forum. This forum encourages discussions on mental health, provides help with accessing resources, offers workshops, and mindfulness sessions – all useful tools related to wellbeing and mental health.
This internship encourages self-reflection on the work I have done for the office, as well as reflection on how my individual values relate to the values of the office. I am learning hands on, using skills and tools I have learned in the classroom and applying them to the working world. The internship has been an opportunity for active involvement in the community that I live in and the actions I am taking all work towards a greater, bigger picture.
Note: For anyone curious about the Youth Wellness and Mental Health Forum, it is from 1-3:30PM, 28 Saunders St @ the Cultural Centre. Students come and bring your friends! Professors – tell your students and your families! I can’t wait to see you there!
By: Sophia Rose & Tabatha Armstrong