2015 Oberlin Winter Term
Sustainability and Program Development Internship
Application Deadline (extended): Wednesday, November 12
Applications reviewed as received—see application link at bottom of page.
Intern at Foresight Design Initiative, an established Chicago-based, sustainability-focused innovation firm. Gain insight into critical issues and initiatives, with an emphasis on food, business, essential resources (e.g. energy and water, particularly as they pertain to climate change), and the cultivation of more inclusive leadership in sustainability-focused movements. Learn to better understand and analyze problems systemically. Gain the program development, management, organizational and communications capacities essential for a successful change-making career. Apply these skills directly by contributing to a summer pre-college curriculum for diverse national/international high school students, to be held at Oberlin in summer 2015.
Participants will be considered for potential (paid) positions as summer interns and residential/teaching assistants (RATAs).
What You Do
The project will have four core focuses: Career Preparation, Systems Analysis, Program Development, and Project Execution:
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. Setting yourself apart in any career search requires a well-tooled and multifaceted approach. The course will assist your preparation, as painlessly as possible, by helping you:
- Discern what a meaningful and fulfilling career means to you;
- Identify your strengths;
- Develop critical technical and interpersonal skills to work successfully in any office environment;
- Develop beneficial relationships with integrity.
Foresight Design Initiative employs a "systems analysis" methodology that recognizes interdependencies and root causes. Winter Term participants will be introduced to this framework, and how it can be used to better understand complex problems, including their drivers, leverage points, and the relationships between the key entitities involved. Emerge from the experience more equipped to tackle challenging issues, and implement effective change-making initiatives.
Participants will be exposed to concrete tools for developing and implementing new programs, with an emphasis on the creation of educational experiences. Learn how to conduct literature and landscape reviews in order to better understand the potential need for a new program, identify existing community or organization assets which a program might leverage, and clarify how a program might build upon, or interact with, existing efforts. Discover how to design for a multitude of variables in order to forge more successful undertakings.
Interns will contribute to a key component of the Foresight Prep at Oberlin College summer program, a pre-college leadership development program for high school students concerned about issues of environmental sustainability and social equity. In summer 2015, high schoolers from around the country (and potentially internationally) will gather on the Oberlin College campus for intensive, two-week learning experiences focused on one of three critical issues: food, sustainable business, or essential resources (e.g. water, energy, climate). They will be engaged as social impact researchers, interviewing practitioners to develop a report and presentation addressing the potential future of each of these three issues. To help contribute to this effort, Winter Term participants will:
- Prepare in-depth histories and case studies of food, business and essential resources in Northeast Ohio;
- Contribute to the design of summer students' research process, including questions to be asked, method for assigning responsibilities across 18 students, and mechanisms for synthesizing and compiling findings;
- Draft the format/structure for summer students' final reports and presentations.
Participants will also be considered for potential (paid) positions as summer interns and residential/teaching assistants (RATAs).
In addition to these four focuses, Foresight will help organize opportunites 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, and perhaps sometimes a bit more. 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 TA/RA positions with the FLSI at 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. Accepted students concerned about housing should contact Foresight ASAP, so that this does not become a deterrant 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 for transport between Chicago and Cleveland.
The Sustainability and Program Development Internship is sponsored by the Bonner Center for Service and Learning. Students' faculty sponsor will be the Center's Director Beth Blissman, who will meet with students to formalize their learning goals and sign off on registration paperwork. Foresight will help coordinate these meetings.
Applications Due: Friday, Nov. 7
Applicant Interviews: Monday Nov. 10-Friday, Nov. 14
Decisions Made (including potential wait list): Monday, Nov. 17
Mutual Commitment Form Deadline: Friday, Nov. 28
Winter Term Registration Deadline: Friday, Dec. 5
Winter Term Begins: Monday, Jan. 5
Winter Term Ends: Wednesday, Jan 28, with final group presentation
Winter Term Co-Facilitator, Foresight Prep Program Manager: Tim Jones-Yelvington possesses a range of research, communications, and program development and assessment skills. He worked for five years as program staff at Crossroads Fund, a public foundation supporting grassroots organizations in the Chicago area. His position included managing a portfolio of grantees and helping to coordinate a community-led grantmaking process. He worked closely with the staff and leaders of new and emerging organizations to navigate their organizational growth, and also contributed to Crossroads Fund's own fundraising and communications efforts. While at the foundation, Tim developed a tool to evaluate grantees' impact. This project required synthesizing feedback from diverse stakeholders, including grantee organizations, philanthropic colleagues, board members, and evaluation professionals. Through his involvement in the philanthropic sector, Tim has experienced multiple funder-grantee collaborations, acquiring knowledge of best practices. Tim received his undergraduate degree from DePaul University and recently completed a Masters of Education in Youth Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Winter Term Co-Facilitator: Lyndon Valicenti brings over 10 years of experience in scientific study, policy analysis, and planning around sustainable ecological and urban systems. She has conducted scientific research on vulnerable ecosystems in the Arctic and Antarctic; contributed to debates on international climate change policy; developed and implemented programs to support city-scale climate action; and has informed ecological thinking in urban planning across China and the Middle East. Lyndon has a solid record of leading thoughtful, science-based planning, policy making, and research, as well as convening coalitions to advance strategic agendas. Lyndon is Adjunct Faculty of Sustainability Leadership and Change Management at University of Chicago’s Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies. She holds a Masters in Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University and a Bachelors of Science in Aquatic Ecology from University of California, Santa Barbara. She also holds a certificate in Sustainable Urban and Environmental Design from Archeworks.
Fill out the brief Winter Term 2015 application here.
Contact Tim Jones-Yelvington: