2016 OBERLIN WINTER TERM
Application Deadline: Monday, November 2
Applications reviewed as received—see application link at bottom of page.
As interns at Foresight Design Initiative, an established, Chicago-based, sustainability-focused innovation firm, students will gain the skills and insights to become high-impact changemakers. They will learn to better understand and analyze complex problems systemically, and develop the competencies to succeed in a professional environment. Their skills will be applied as they contribute to projects—including an Oberlin-based summer pre-college curriculum for national/international high school students.
Participants will be considered for potential (paid) positions as summer interns and 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 course 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;
- Hone your resume.
Participants will also benefit from an introductory training in Foresight's approach to "systems analysis," a methodology for better understanding and addressing complex problems. Through weekly "brown bag" lunch discussions and/or Skype calls, they will be introduced to individuals from Foresight's broad network of Chicago-based and national sustainability professionals.
Interns will be assigned short-term projects that will provide the opportunity to apply both their newfound professional skills and problem-solving strategies toward Foresight's internal operations, and/or external consulting projects. Past examples include conducting in-depth research on global biomimicry practitioners, strategizing on a new media initiative, and developing sustainability metrics for a new social venture, amongst others.
Interns will contribute to the curriculum for the Foresight Prep at Oberlin College summer program, a pre-college leadership development experience for high school students concerned about issues of environmental sustainability and social equity. In summer 2016, 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, Sustainable Cities, Artistic Responses to Climate Change, 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:
- Compile bibliographies/resource lists for 2016 seminars;
- Draft guest speaker briefs to inform 2016 students' research projects;
- Help develop formal "college and career" skills modules for 2016 students, focused on research methods, successful approaches group work and public presentations;
- Working closely with Lead Instructors, update 2016 seminar syllabi.
Participants will also be considered for potential (paid) positions as summer interns and residential/teaching assistants (RATAs).
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 TA/RA 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 and the Bonner Center for Service and Learning are 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 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: Monday, Nov. 2
Applicant Interviews: Wednesday Nov. 4-Friday, Nov. 6
Decisions Made (including potential wait list): Monday, Nov. 9
Mutual Commitment Form Deadline: Friday, Nov. 16
Winter Term Registration Deadline: Friday, Dec. 4
Winter Term Begins: Monday, Jan. 4
Winter Term Ends: Wednesday, Jan 27, with final group presentation
Fill out the brief Winter Term 2015 application here.
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.
Read more about Peter and the Foresight staff here.
Contact Tim Jones-Yelvington: