Winter Term: Changemakers Internship
2017 OBERLIN WINTER TERM
Changemakers' Internship: Fostering Diverse Sustainability Leadership
Application Deadline: Monday, October 31
Application linked below.
Intern at Foresight Design Initiative, an established, Chicago-based, sustainability-focused innovation firm, and gain the skills and insights to become a high-impact changemaker. Contribute to real, ongoing projects focused on fostering greater sustainability and equity in sustainability efforts—including a best practices guide for organizations pursuing greater diversity, and curriculum elements for Foresight Prep @ Oberlin College, a climate change, social justice and leadership development-focused precollege program for racially, economically and geographically diverse high school students.
Participants will be considered for potential (paid) positions as summer interns and Foresight Prep @ Oberlin residential/teaching assistants (RATAs).
Low-income, students of color, and other historically and currently marginalized group especially encouraged to apply.
What You Do
The project will have three core focuses: Professional Development, Dynamic Projects, and Foresight Prep:
The good news: there are more jobs than ever seeking sustainability aware, if not knowledgeable, candidates. The less good news: there are more sustainability-interested job seekers, including those with experience, than ever, and recent graduates must compete against more seasoned professionals, who already know how to function effectively in an office environment. Setting yourself apart in any career search requires a well-tooled and multifaceted approach. The internship will assist your preparation, by helping you:
- Discern what a meaningful and fulfilling career means to you;
- Identify your strengths;
- Gain perspective on what makes a valuable employee;
- Practice critical technical and interpersonal skills to work successfully in any office environment;
- Learn to network with integrity, including techniques for informational interviews;
- In Friday guest lectures, interact with professionals from Foresight's Chicago network of peer institutions;
- Hone your resume.
Interns will be assigned projects that will provide the opportunity to apply both their newfound professional skills and problem-solving strategies toward the completion of projects that support greater diversity and equity in sustainability efforts, including the creation of a best practices guide for organizations looking to increase their support of diversity internally, foster diversity in staff and board recruitment, and increase retention of diverse staff and board members. Interns may also contribute as needed toward Foresight's internal operations, and/or ongoing consulting projects for external clients.
Interns will contribute to the curriculum and alumni network development for the Foresight Prep @ Oberlin College summer program, a pre-college leadership development experience for high school students concerned about issues of climate change and social justice. In summer 2017, high schoolers from around the country (and potentially internationally) will gather on the Oberlin College campus for intensive, two-week learning experiences focused on topics such as Sustainable Business, Food Systems, Sustainable Cities, Artistic Responses to Climate Change, Social Movements and others. They will be engaged as social impact researchers, interviewing practitioners to develop and present final projects.
Tasks through which Winter Term participants may contribute to this effort include:
- Curriculum development research and support;
- Marketing/outreach support;
- Draft guest speaker briefs to inform 2017 students' research projects;
- Help develop formal "college and career" skills modules for 2017 students, including research methods, successful approaches to group work and public presentations, amongst others;
- Collect updated information on program alumni's current undertakings, to enhance Foresight Prep's alumni database and network-building efforts.
In addition to these three focuses, Foresight will help organize opportunities for interns to take advantage of the many social and educational experiences Chicago offers—from noteworthy sustainability initiatives, to cultural offerings.
The project will require students be fully committed in order to be successful. They should expect to be present in the office, and for their time to be occupied by internship activities, 6-8 hours a day, Monday through Friday. A portion of each day will likely be spent in group sessions. Participants will be expected to stay healthy, stay in Chicago (including weekends), participate fully, and communicate any issues that arise, in order to ensure the best group experience and outcomes for all. Students should have their own learning goals, and hold themselves accountable for achieving them to the fullest extent possible. Those who choose/are chosen to participate will be asked to sign a mutual commitment form.
Sophomores and juniors are preferred, but others will be considered. Participants will have priority consideration for second semester/summer RA/TA positions with the Foresight Prep @ Oberlin program. Prior knowledge of, or experience with, sustainability issues is not required, just a sincere interest. Participants will be expected to be fully engaged and collaborative in order to accomplish an ambitious program in a short timeframe, as well as to ensure an inspiring and fulfilling experience.
Participants are required to secure their own lodging. Foresight will assist with referrals to places that have hosted students in the past. These range from host families, to a local housing and dining Co-op to a residential hotel. (The co-op is very reasonable and their price includes food. They do, however, have an application and interview process they require all potential residents to complete). The Oberlin Career Center is also happy to provide contact lists for alumni who have indicated willingness to host Winter Term students. Accepted students concerned about housing should contact Foresight ASAP, so that this does not become a deterrent to their participation.
Students will be responsible for their own travel to and from Chicago. Foresight is happy to provide assistance with identifying cost-effective options. Many past Oberlin interns have used Megabus or Shuttlehome for transport between Chicago and Cleveland/Oberlin.
Faculty Sponsor: Cindy Frantz
Students' faculty sponsor for the Changemakers’ Internship will be Professor Cindy Frantz, who will meet with students to formalize their learning goals and sign off on registration paperwork. Foresight will help coordinate these meetings. Professor Frantz is a social and environmental psychologist whose research focuses broadly on humans’ relationship with the natural world, with an emphasis on promoting sustainable behavior. With John Petersen, Rumi Shammin, and Deborah Roose, she has studied the potential for feedback technologies such as the Oberlin Dashboard to encourage conservation behavior and promote systems thinking. She also directs the Community Based Social Marketing Research Project, a collaborative research program between faculty, students and staff to develop, test and promote behavior change programs that reduce Oberlin College’s carbon emissions.
Applications Due: Monday, Oct. 31
Applicant Interviews: Wednesday Nov. 2-Friday, Nov. 4
Decisions Made (including potential wait list): Monday, Nov. 7
Mutual Commitment Form Deadline: Friday, Nov. 11
Oberlin College Winter Term Registration Deadline: Friday, Dec. 2
Winter Term Begins: Tuesday, Jan. 3
Winter Term Ends: Wednesday, Jan 25, with final group presentation
Students will be supervised by Foresight Design Initiative staff, including Peter Nicholson (OC '91), who has 15 years of experience as a sustainability-oriented designer, educator and innovator; Foresight Prep Program Manager Tim Jones-Yelvington, who has worked for eight years in the fields of Youth Development, Philanthropy and Community Organizing; and Jenny Goldsmith (OC '15), who served as an RA/TA with the Foresight Prep program for two summers before transitioning to her full-time role as Program Coordinator.
Read more about the Foresight staff here.
Contact Tim Jones-Yelvington: