I cannot imagine a better way to have spent my summer than as an intern for The Pangea Network. The experiences I had and lessons I learned shaped who I am an individual and what I hope to do with my future after graduating college. I became so much more than an intern, but truly a part of the “network,” a member of the family.

Interning with a non-profit is tough, but also extremely rewarding. Unlike many of my friends interning with corporations, I was not confined to one specific task for the entirety of the summer. Instead, I got to be a part of everything that goes on in the office: meetings, e-mails and phone calls, presentations, trips, programs, fundraising.

Apart from basic office work and social media, I completed 3 main projects. First, I transcribed a series of interviews between our director, Nicole Minor, and many of the women from our cooperatives across Kenya. This was a fun challenge for me and helped me become very familiar with the work we do overseas. Listening to these women’s stories constantly made me laugh or brought me to tears! Secondly, I organized a small fundraiser. Sprout Salons generously donated a large sum of salon services, so we placed jars around town and sold tickets for a raffle! I enjoyed going out and sharing our purpose and vision with the community. Lastly (and what I enjoyed the most), I helped organize our first ever Young Women’s Leadership Challenge at Rice University. I was in charge of all of the preliminary communications with our participants! I helped create promotional materials, gather supplies for the camp, coordinate logistics, and I even got to teach some of the lessons during our camp! Also, I was able to get our lunches donated from local restaurants. This experience was the perfect way to end my time with Pangea. By that point, I truly felt a part of the mission and empowered to make a difference in the lives of women and girls.

The Pangea Network is such a unique non-profit. During my time with them, I learned about the best ways to approach education, poverty eradication, empowerment, community building, sustainability, promotion of human rights, and fundraising. Pangea truly treats the people they work with – from students and women in Kenya to teenagers in Houston – as partners on the journey to transform lives, not as victims to save or clients to help. I am so thankful for everyone in the network. I know that I will maintain connections with these amazing people for the rest of my life and that they will continue to be a resource and inspiration to me as I begin my own journey after college.