Teaching for Change Internship Experience

Internship Highlights

See what some past interns have said about their experience with Teaching for Change:

I appreciated the supportive work environment, as well as Teaching for Change’s commitment to radical politics and community work. I confirmed that I’m definitely interested in history and social studies education, and that there are many roles in this field besides being a teacher. I gained experience producing educational material and working collaboratively. Also, I valued the opportunities to attend museums and educational conferences. Deborah Jung (Intern 2022) View book reviews by Deborah Jung.

My experience at Teaching for Change was invaluable. I learned a lot about community work and how to do education justice in public history.  Maddy Kessler (Intern Summers 2022 and 2023)

It was very useful to learn and get the inside experience of working at Teaching for Change. I learned so much about movements, not just in D.C., but all over the nation. I also learned about organizing and educators from the past who are still active today. I loved learning about their life paths and the work they are still fighting for in 2023.

I enjoyed learning about banned books, educators who are pushing back, and the work that Teaching for Change does, especially producing the podcasts. I loved that I got to learn from many different organizers and educators on a myriad of topics! Becca Townley (Intern and Truman Scholar 2023)

I liked that I got to try out a lot of different things. This was helpful in figuring out what I like and do not like to spend my time doing.  I learned a lot of history that I think will be useful to the rest of my college education, but also just for my understanding of our country in general. I also really enjoyed the outings we were able to go on as interns, such as the Mary McLeod Bethune House and attending the National Smithsonian Education summit.  Lucy Sciezka (Intern 2023) View book review by Lucy Sciezka.

I enjoyed getting to work with so many intelligent and kind people who all invested in me in different ways. I really appreciated that everyone at Teaching for Change and the Zinn Education Project helped me prepare for my future. The connections I made and the conversations I had have been invaluable. Because I am passionate about education equity, it was very special to get to play a small role in the incredible work that Teaching for Change does every single day.

The mentorship and interactions with everyone was so useful. I learned so much from each person I had the chance to interact with. Because I will be teaching soon, it was really helpful to get insight about teaching from individuals who had done it before. I learned how to become a stronger communicator and work towards a common goal. Hannah Grace Howell (Intern 2022)

Since my first day at the office, I knew I would be happy. (Well, I knew that since my interview with Keesha). On my first day, Vanessa welcomed me with a smile. The books, the walls, and the physical space also gave me a warm welcome. Having lunch with the “Zinnterns,” the greeting when I arrived from my graduation, the attention to detail, and the conversations made me feel that my voice (even in Spanglish) mattered. I always knew I would like it, but it was much more than I expected. I had numerous opportunities (workshops, talks, conversations) that allowed me to grow as an educator. — Tayna Mia Rivera Rodriguez (Intern and Truman Scholar 2022) View book review by Tayna Mia Rivera Rodriguez.
I definitely was expecting to do more “intern” work (like busy work or inconsequential work) but it was amazing to spend my second day writing a review that went into a magazine. This internship was also very anti-hustle culture, which I really appreciated but did not expect. At other internships I’ve had, the emphasis was on working as much as possible but here, everyone at Teaching for Change was extremely respectful of my time and labor. I also didn’t expect to be able to work so closely with so many people. I had many individual conversations with staff and you could tell they all cared about each of us individually, even if they weren’t working directly with us.  I appreciated how incredibly kind and welcoming everyone at the office is. At Teaching for Change, I was surrounded by people who had very similar worldviews as me and so I was able to go beyond how I normally think and push myself, which I normally don’t get the opportunity to do. — May Kotsen (Intern 2022) View book review by May Kotsen.
I loved getting to access such rich history through my responsibilities as a documenter, participant, or book organizer! People’s history is embedded into everything that Teaching for Change creates and I am so grateful to have absorbed so many lessons through the work I have done. While I was volunteering virtually, I found so much inspiration and energy from the ECE [Early Childhood Education working group] and people’s history working groups. The DCAESJ [DC Area Educators for Social Justice] groups modeled incredible teaching and leadership and reminded me why I was in school to become an educator. Working with the Teach the Beat program was wonderful and I loved getting the chance to enter the classroom as a documenter. While I was at first overwhelmed by the amount of writing involved in my responsibilities, my documentation skills greatly improved and I am glad that I was challenged to submit my work so often. Thank you SO much for welcoming me onto your team this year, I could not have asked for a better introduction to the fight for a liberatory education! — Lila Chafe (Intern 2020 – 2021)  View articles by Lila Chafe.
I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet the TFC staff during a virtual staff meeting. I loved hearing about all the fantastic projects your small but mighty team is working on–it was really amazing and inspiring. I also appreciated the accessibility of the events and ways I could help where needed to provide my skillset and insight. Something I found most useful: The power of storytelling and making resources as accessible as possible for teachers, students, and families. I can’t wait to share my lesson plans through a local educator group once I am an educator! Ashley Bryant (Fellow spring 2021)  View articles by Ashley Bryant.
I’m really grateful to have had the opportunity to be doing very intentional and purposeful work. I learned a great deal from the People’s Historians mini-series on the Black Freedom Struggle. It was so valuable to learn from other scholars in these sessions and in meetings. — Shiloah Symone Coley, Truman Scholar, Summer 2020
I really enjoyed the flexibility of the internship because it gave me space for reflection. A lot of soul work. It gave me the space to recollect and reflect on my passions in relation to my future and the work I want to do. I love writing, but prior to the internship, I had difficulty finding the time to write. It allowed me to write, get feedback, and expand my own understandings of the writing process and children’s literature. I realized that since [Social Justice Books] brought me joy, I needed opportunities that aligned with [Social Justice Books]’s value system. Since then, I’ve applied for jobs that have a relation to social justice and literacy. The entire internship was a learning experience and I left with more skills and questions that I will answer with my service.

THANK YOU FOR TEACHING ME HOW TO MAKE CHANGE! I have so many skills now and thoughts on how to enact change virtually and physically. — Kassandra “Kassie” Colón, West Virginia University, Summer 2020

My duties were dynamic. I attended celebrations of learning and got to see the work of 9-12  students and their teachers lead them through discussions. I learned about the DC Public School system and the inequality that persists to this day. I learned more about immigration policy and history from attending talks and going through the lessons on Central America. I learned about paths for getting particular books into schools when I went to the talk about distributing the memoir of Frederick Douglass. I made tea cakes, attended cultural festivals, and made scrapbooks. I attended an amazing anti-racist and anti-bias education training led by Enid Lee at NMAAHC.

I greatly enjoyed the book reviews, but I also greatly appreciated the variation in what my days looked like and what I learned each day. This was especially important because I was also still in a school for half of the internship, the variation was really helpful because I was burned out after four intensive years but I still wanted to thoughtfully engage in social justice education spaces, Teaching for Change allowed me to do that in a healthy way. —Kathleen Nganga, Summer 2018

The internship was much more than I ever expected. I got so much out of my time in Teaching for Change and wish every new teacher could have this experience.  I learned so much and it really did feel like I was enrolled in a Master’s course for teaching history, but even better because of all the schools and classrooms I was able to visit. —Elena Young, Fall, 2017 and Spring 2018
I am so grateful for my experience interning with Teaching for Change. This organization is doing truly original and important work in the local community and the national education landscape more broadly and to be involved in even a small way was an honor. Everyone in the office was so warm and open, especially my supervisor. Equally as inspiring as meeting outside speakers was the chance I got to bond with the other interns — I really think I’ll have lasting friends with them in addition to the lasting family I’ll have with the TFC team. Thanks again for the key part you all played in what has been a wonderful summer! —Briana Payton, Summer 2017
My internship at Teaching for Change set the bar very high for all future internships. It has opened my eyes even more to the way under-education lies at the heart of many social issues and for that I am thankful. I was already planning to study civil rights law. Now I know that the focus of my legal efforts will be to address the education system that is unequal and inadequate. Teaching for Change has embedded my future with a career in education reform. —Marvin Clark, Summer 2017
The internship exceeded expectations in the way we were encouraged us to leave the office and check out events around the city. Attending these events and exploring what the city has to offer was a key part of the experience that I did not anticipate, but made the internship awesome.” —Matthew Smee, Summer, 2017
In school I get a lot of opportunities to read very academic writing about both education and social justice, and I really valued the opportunity to get a break from that while staying in the same field, and really get a glimpse for what social justice teaching looks like on the ground, at every age level. . . I really felt like my work and opinions were valued and that the staff really cared that I was learning and taking advantage of all of the opportunities DC’s social justice education scene has to offer. —Maria Brescia-Weiler, Summer, 2017
I learned a lot of information on topics I knew little about. This internship really opened my eyes to how my education (specifically history) was so flawed, and I’m so appreciative of the research I had to do for this internship because I got to relearn past events and people in a better way. I also learned how to use WordPress, which I had never done before. Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience for my first internship, and I really appreciate everything this organization has taught me. —Elena Esobar, Spring 2017
My internship at Teaching for Change has made a huge impact on my life. I have not only learned about the world around me, but I’ve learned a lot about myself. I found a passion for this work, a passion I was desperately looking for so I could have the faintest clue on what I wanted to pursue in the future. And now I know. Teaching for Change opened my eyes to so many new possibilities that I am beyond excited to explore, and to me, I think that is what everyone hopes to leave an internship with. The support and guidance were perfect because I was given direction while also having a lot of freedom. The staff was incredibly positive and helpful, I was never afraid to ask for help or clarification if I needed it. —Sana Makke, Spring 2017 
This has been one of the most productive summers of my life.  I will hold dear the connections made, material learned, conversations had, and the flame ignited. Thank you for affirming for me my passion for education and teaching. —Mansur Buffins, Summer, 2016
Being at Teaching for Change far surpassed my expectations. Until coming to Teaching for Change, I didn’t know that an organization that integrates my passions for curriculum development, teaching, organizing, and policy through an anti-racist lens could even exist. Working here has opened my eyes to the possibilities of anti-racist work in education, and has renewed my spirit in engaging in this work. I was grateful for the opportunity to meet mentors, engage with different stakeholders, and get a taste of the variety that is Teaching for Change’s work. Even better, I was surrounded by kind and powerful people!
—Qiddist Hammerly, Summer, 2016
 intern-justin-valez In every project I was given, I was exposed to new things. Working on the Selma lesson plan, I was exposed to a part of history that I might have never known existed otherwise. I’ve learned the basics of a non-profit’s operation, by both being here to witness day-to-day operations, as well as my being inspired to go out on my own.
— Justin Velez, Winter Intern 2015
Slichter_Summer2014 I’m bringing back all my new thoughts and skills on organizing back to Poughkeepsi. All my new political understandings are enduring and will influence all the work I do.  There’s a lot that I hope to carry into the classroom not too long from now.  —Sarah Slichter, Summer 2014
Mullin_Rachel_2014 I got to learn about Freedom Summer, interact with amazing people from all over the country, improve my interview and writing skills, learn more about how non-profits can effectively use social media, and countless other things. It was a wonderful experience; a lot more that I never expected. —Rachel Mullin, Summer 2014
intern-anniepreston More than I expected, Teaching for Change provided a supportive, enthusiastic environment with a lot of flexibility in terms of activities.  I was surprised and excited by the mixture of field and office experiences, arts and author events, DC trips that I was able to attend as a part of my internship.  I was also really impressed by the thoughtfulness of the staff, who do not take any decisions lightly and take every step of their work intentionally and critically.  It was an inspiring place to spend the summer. —Annie Preston, Truman Scholar, Summer 2013
intern-elizabethbehrens Every single day of my internship at Teaching For Change I was intellectually engaged and interested in the work that I was doing. Last summer I had no idea where I was going, now that I have spent a summer with Teaching for Change, I have a clear vision of what I want to do. I want to be a teacher.—Elizabeth Behrens, University of Chicago Human Rights Program, Summer 2013
intern-shellywen I really loved being able to do all of the school visits and conferences – it was great being able to meet teachers and organizers who were doing progressive work around education and seeing all of the projects at work around the country. Going to conferences also helped me learn how to summarize my work concisely and accurately while making connections for both myself and Teaching for Change. I’ve also gained a lot of new insight into writing succinctly and reading from a different critical lens than I’m used to at college. While I’ve had a lot of experience reading for representation and messaging in works, I haven’t had to think too much about readability or accessibility of a text, or how useful it would be to use in classrooms.—Shelly Wen, Swarthmore Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, Summer 2013
As someone who has interned at poorly functioning nonprofit organizations, it was very beneficial to have the opportunity to observe an organization that runs so smoothly and has a tangible impact. The opportunity to sit in on meetings and attend events was especially useful in this respect.—Dominique Hazzard, Truman Scholar, Summer 2012
This was one of my best internships because of the staff. Everyone was so supportive and I always knew what was going on. I not only learned about intern skills and working at a non-profit organization, but I also learned so much history that it was like a history lesson in itself. I now recognize names and events that I did not know before. —Noor Kalkat, GWU Human Services, Spring 2012
One of the biggest things I appreciated was the encouragement to explore the city of Washington D.C. I walked away knowing more about the Washington, DC’s history and landmarks, especially in the U-Street Corridor. I also learned so much in the short amount of time about the great successes and achievements of the Civil Rights Movement. I walked away feeling that humbling feeling, “The more you learn, the less you know.”—Ibrahim Elshamy, Truman Scholar, Summer 2011
I appreciated how I was encouraged to attend events outside the office to provide me with new learning opportunities. I also liked that I was allowed to tailor the internship to my personal interests. My supervisor took the time to meet with me one-on-one, at the start of the internship and half-way through, to ensure that I was gaining a worthwhile internship experience.—Darlene Germino
As an intern with Teaching for Change, the people around me continually deepened my understanding of social justice-based education. While talking with teachers using Teaching for Change’s resources in their classrooms, I got many wonderful ideas about how to engage students and educate for social justice. For anyone interested in learning more about transformative education, Teaching for Change is a perfect place to intern.—Robyn Lingo, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

“Volunteering with Teaching for Change’s author events at Busboys and Poets bookstore was unlike anything I had anticipated when I took up the opportunity. Their author events aren’t held as talks or lectures, but as forums where community members discuss openly the kinds of social issues they live with every day but rarely are able to acknowledge. I not only became acquainted with the structure of nonprofit programming as a volunteer, I also learned how to meaningfully engage in my work the topics that years of formal education had never fully addressed.

— Elizabeth Zinar

“In many ways the internship was better than what I expected. I was dreading the sitting-in-a-desk-eight-hours-each-day part. Luckily, I rarely did that! I was pleasantly surprised by the Tellin’ Stories field trips to schools. That was an incredible start to the summer – it provided evidence of the changes Teaching for Change is catalyzing and motivated me for the following weeks. I learned so much! I appreciated having substantial projects that required thought – not just menial tasks. I really appreciated the freedom to attend various events throughout DC. Additionally, I didn’t know too much about how nonprofits worked before and this summer was a great introduction.”

— Kourtney Bettinger, Truman Fellow

“Interning with Teaching for Change gave me substantive experience with a non-profit organization dedicated to progressive education. The internship expanded my understanding of the education field through conferences, meetings, newsletters, organizational networks and research.”

–Lynn Evans, American University

“My internship at Teaching for Change was extremely insightful and very rewarding. I became part of a movement that I had previously only read about: the movement to introduce themes of social justice into educational institutions… Internships are supposed to give interns a chance to do work that they normally wouldn’t be able to do at an entry-level position. Teaching for Change did just this. It gave me an opportunity to do more work at a professional and mature level than I could have ever hoped for.”

–Rishi Awatramani, Vassar College


Previous Fellows, Interns, and Volunteers

Maddy Kessler (Bryn Mawr College, Summers 2022 and 2023)
Becca Townley (Truman Scholar, Saint Louis University, Summer 2023)
Deborah Jung (Dartmouth College, Summer 2023)
Lucy Sieczka (University of Arizona, Summer 2023)
Hannah Grace Howell (University of Richmond, Summer & Fall 2022)
Tayna Mia Rivera Rodriguez (Truman Scholar, University of Puerto Rico, Summer 2022)
May Kotsen (Connecticut College, Summer 2022)
Bridget Fuller (University of Notre Dame, Spring 2022)
Abrita Kuthumi (Truman Scholar, Summer 2021)
Ashley Bryant (Fellow, 2021)
Nell Frederick (University Southern California, 2020 – 2021)
Lila Chafe (Barnard College, 2020 – 2021)
Ashley Bryant (Bates College, 2021)
Daniela Shia-Sevilla (Smith College, 2020)
Kassandra “Kassie” Colón (West Virginia University, 2020)
Shiloah Symone Coley (University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2020)
Elizabeth (Lizzie) McCord (Harvard College, 2020)
Mohammed Bappe (Swarthmore College, 2019)
Hannah Russell-Hunter (University of Virginia, 2019)
Raegan Loheide (Cornell University, 2019)
Conner Suddick (Truman Scholar, 2019)
Kathleen Nganga (Truman Scholar, 2018)
Sarah Cornelius (Truman Scholar, 2018)
Maria Brescia-Weiler (Kenyon College, 2017)
Katelyn Campbell (Truman Scholar, 2017)
Marvin D. Clark (Columbia University, 2017)
Elena Escobar (American University, 2017)
Khalila Lomax (George Mason University, 2017)
Sana Makke (American University, 2017)
Briana Payton (2017)
Varun Sikand (2017)
Matthew Smee (University of Wisconsin Madison, 2017)
Elena Young (2017)
Mansur Buffins (Summer 2016)
Qiddist Hammerly (Truman Scholar, Summer 2016)
Milica Petrovic (Summer 2015)
Sarah Mirza (Summer 2015)
Hope Brinn (Summer 2015)
Justin Velez (Catholic University, Winter 2015)
Sarah Evers (George Mason University, 2015)
Ravon Ruffin (George Washington University, 2015)
Katy Swalwell (University of Maryland, 2015)
Sarach Slichter (Vassar College, Summer 2014)
Neha Singhal (Summer 2014)
Pat Scallen (Summer 2014)
Rachel Mullin (Summer 2014)
Tristan Brosnan (Fall 2013)
Elizabeth Behrens (University of Chicago Human Rights Program, Summer 2013)
Charity Porotesano (Truman Scholar, Summer 2013)
Anne Preston (Truman Scholar, Summer 2013)
Shelly Wen (Swarthmore, Summer 2013)
Dominique Hazzard (Truman Foundation, Summer 2012)
Sarah Neitz (Truman Foundation, Summer 2012)
Bridget Feldman (Bates College, Summer 2012)
Amy Rothschild (Summer 2012, Summer 2014)
Noor Kalkat (GWU, Spring 2012)
Sarah Trumble and Victoria Kimmerling (GWU, Spring 2012)
Gabriel Deerman (Queen’s University, Spring 2012)
Ariela Rothstein (Summer 2011)
Chelsea Caveny (Truman Foundation, Summer 2011)
Nadine Foty (Summer 2011)
Michael Remillard (2011)
Lily Brown (George Washington University, Fall, 2010)
Yasmine Taylor-Hart (Teacher volunteer, Summer and Fall, 2010)
Ibrahim Elshamy (Truman Scholar, Summer 2010)
Heather Fluit (Truman Scholar, Summer 2010)
Darlene Germino (General Board of Church and Society Ethnic Young Adult Intern Placement, Summer 2010)
Julie Smolinski (Volunteer, Summer 2010)
Ijeoma Njaka (Brown University, Summer 2010)
Lauren Reed (American University, Fall 2009)
Lauren Elizabeth Mitchell (Vanderbilt, Summer 2009)
Zach Crago (Truman Scholar, Summer 2009)
Jonathan Kim (General Board of Church and Society Ethnic Young Adult Intern Placement, Summer 2009)
Amy Rothschild (Yale, Summer 2009)
Heather Torretta (4th grade teacher volunteer, Summer 2008)
Rachael Debnam (Morehead-Cain Fellowship, Summer 2008)
Ali Lange (Truman Scholar, Summer 2008)
Eagan Heath (Truman Scholar, Summer 2008)
Liz Morasso, (Catholic University, 2007-2008 school year)
Lindsay J. Kopitzke (FCPS, 2007-2009 school year)
Betsy Demulder (2007, Fellow)
Rebecca MacMillan (Cornell, Summer 2007)
Kourtney Bettinger (Truman Scholar, Summer 2007)
Danielle Escontrias (Truman Scholar, Summer 2007)
Bruce Haupt (Truman Scholar, Summer 2007)
Jennifer Magaha O’Looney (George Mason University, Summer 2007)
Kameelah Rasheed (Truman Scholar, Summer 2006)
Victoria Luhrs (Truman Scholar, Summer 2006)
Lauren McAlee (Truman Scholar, Summer 2006)
Stacia Stribling (George Mason University, Spring 2006)
Rebecca Helgerson (George Mason University, Spring 2006)
Tammi Cioffi (George Mason University, Spring 2006)
Patti Longoria (Morehead Fellow, Summer 2005)
Katie Li (Truman Scholar, Summer 2005)
Robyn Lingo (University of Massachusetts – Amherst, Summer 2004)
Megan Wells-Jamieson (Truman Scholar, Summer 2003)
LaTasha Tucker (UMBC, Spring 2003)
Rashida L. Roberts (Georgetown University, 2002-2003)
Luis Valentin (Pilar Barbosa Fellowship, Summer 2002)
Kathleen Suarez Reyes (Pilar Barbosa Fellowship, Summer 2002)
Rachel Lander (Spring 2002)
Rishi Awatramani (Vassar, Summer, 2000)
Amber Young (Amherst, Summer 2000)
Leslie Smith (Antioch, Spring 2000)
Lynn Evans (American University)
Kristina Fiorillo (American University)
Taher K. Manasterli (American University)
Heidi Shin (Wellesley College)
Nyere Miller (Edmund Burke)
Melissa Belli (Summer, 1991)
Maria Pilar Zamora (1990-91)