Hannah Nauen, Brown University class of 2014, interned at the Rhode Island Afterschool Plus Alliance. Below, she gives her perspective on the experience.
“My internship at the Rhode Island Afterschool Plus Alliance was an amazing experience that shaped my future career choices and perspective on education. I think I had a truly unique summer because RIASPA is a very small nonprofit with only three full-time employees (plus one intern- me!); however, it is housed within the United Way of RI, which is a very large nonprofit with diverse goals and a large number of employees. RIASPA deals with a very specific issue: learning loss during out-of-school time (or OST), whether that be summer or after school. United Way focuses on assisting low-income individuals with housing, education, income, and general information through the 211 help line. My summer internship allowed me to focus on RIASPA’s “main issue” while using the resources of the United Way’s large office and meeting a lot of new people.
Another exciting aspect of my internship was its scope. RIASPA, as can be inferred by its title, deals with out-of-school and afterschool issues on a state-wide level. Though this internship is titled Impact Providence, I was lucky to have the opportunity to work closely with summer learning providers from around Rhode Island, and even visit summer learning programs in towns and cities such as Newport, Middletown, Cranston, West Warwick, Woonsocket, and Pawtucket. I traveled around the state with my supervisor Joseph Morra and was able to get a real sense of the education field in Rhode Island as a whole. This experience made me more appreciative of the small size of Rhode Island (small but mighty) and let me gain understanding not just of people and needs “off the hill”, but also outside Providence. Of course, I worked in Providence a lot (the United Way office is in Olneyville), but I enjoyed being able to learn about the needs of other communities in Rhode Island.
I would absolutely accept this internship again, and I think it would a valuable experience for any Brown student interested in education. In fact, I am very fortunate to be able to continue my work at RIASPA over the next semester and possibly the next year. My supervisors Adam and Joseph (along with our coworker Michelle, a Brown graduate) offered me a paid part-time internship for the next semester. I am so excited to continue working for RIASPA; I really felt that my supervisors valued my work and I was able to contribute substantively. I learned a lot about learning loss and the importance of keeping students engaged during OST. If you had asked me before this summer if I believed in making sure students learn all year round, I might have said something about summer break being a much-needed vacation. However, after reading the data about learning loss in math and reading, I understand the importance of engaging students in new and creative ways during their summer vacations and afterschool time. I can’t wait to keep working with RIASPA next semester.”