Kamau graduated in 2011 with a Political Science major and minors in Computer Science and Economics. He completed an internship at The Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute.
How did you find out about the internship and what was the application process?
I first learned about the internship through the organization's Facebook page. For the application process I had to submit both a resume and a cover letter. Later I was invited to be interviewed for the position. The interview was conducted by two people, a member of the board of directors and a staff member of the organization.
What are some of the highlights?
The major highlight of the internship was being able to work on two important national projects pertaining to the organization's mission. The first project involved creating an accountability toolkit (i.e. guidelines on accountability and transparency) for Civil Society Organizations throughout Trinidad and Tobago. The second project involved gauging the perception of corruption, ethics and integrity among the youth in the country.
What was a "typical day" like? What were some of your major responsibilities?
A typical day consisted of a variety of things. I spent a great deal of time doing data collection in the field, which consisted of conducting surveys at various schools throughout a particular district. Consequently, I also spent a lot of time doing data entry work for the data collected. However, another major responsibility was the opportunity I had to conduct a one-on-one interview with the head of a Civil Society Organization for one of the projects.
What did you learn?
I learned that the best approach for getting integral work -related experience is to be very open to the opportunities that present themselves. I also learned that greater responsibilities can be earned by fervently adopting a "get things done" attitude. Building trust with your supervisors/ employers is important to guarantee greater responsibilities.
What was your favorite part of the internship?
My favorite part of the internship was working with the other staff members at the organization. They were all intelligent and got fired up about issues that resonated with my own interests. Thus, there tended to be stimulating and passionate discussions, from which I learned a great deal about myself, the other staff members and the world today.
What advice would you give other students interested in internships?
The advice I would give is to start looking for and applying to internships as early as possible. Also, it would be helpful to generate a list of possible internships, including their requirements, so that they can better be aware of the opportunities available and the deadlines for submitting applications.
What were some of the challenges of your internship?
A major challenge for me was when I had to work in the field doing data collection and venture to places that I had never even thought of visiting. This challenge forced to me to go out of my comfort zone to fulfill the responsibilities of my job. Another challenge included having to independently make appointments so that I could go about conducting surveys at different schools. With schools having several of their own priorities to focus on, besides simply arranging an appointment, I had to market our project to the Principals so that they would know that it was a worthwhile endeavor.
Do you believe your internship was a beneficial experience?
I believe the internship significantly contributed to my holistic development since it both honed my skills as a professional and further shaped my ideology for life through provoking meaningful introspection.