Intern Name: Alexander Modeas
Major: Political Science and Peace Studies
Title/Place of Internship: Jackson Fellow at Alafia Foundation
How did you find out about your internship/fellowship/etc.?
Many students on-campus talked of the Jackson Fellows program my first-year as a Johnnie. My Residential Assistant, Lincoln Mullings, introduced me to the program and talked highly of the advisors and structure of the experience. Throughout the year, I heard more about the program through my classes and extracurriculars. My sophomore year I decided to apply. Studying political science and peace studies, I was intrigued of the program's emphasis on community development, one of my interests. Once I was accepted, a friend mentioned the Alafia Foundation, and gave me the Executive Director's phone number. The Alafia Foundation champions purpose-filled leaders transforming life in north Minneapolis. The mission of the organization inspired me to get involved, and I was honored to have been offered an intern position. I graciously accepted.
What were your responsibilities at your internship/fellowship/etc.?
There were four interns a part of the program, and each intern had a different role for the summer. My role was to create relationships and connect the foundation to faith communities and service clubs in hopes to grow new connections and sponsorships. I reached out to mosques, synagogues, churches, and rotary/exchange clubs. My goal in these communications was to present our organization's mission, and offer ways in which we could collaborate together and explain how it would benefit the broader community. I was able to do some public speaking and networking, which was an awesome experience. Outside of that, my general responsibilities as an intern included planning events and fundraisers, and working with Alafia fellows. I had the privilege of working with Mary Johnson-Roy, founder of From Death to Life, throughout the summer.
What was the most beneficial aspect of your experience?
The most beneficial aspect of my experience was how much I grew as a person. Starting of the summer with Jackson Fellow training really put me in a healthy and motivated state of mind. Having time to gain insight from the directors and other fellows was really special, and we were all able to support each other throughout the summer. The supportive environment continued at my internship. We meditated, explored philosophical theories, and discussed important political/cultural topics that applied to North Minneapolis and the world. I couldn't name a period of time throughout my life that I had grown as much as my Jackson Fellows summer.
What was the most surprising thing you experienced or learned during your internship/fellowship/etc.?
The most surprising thing that I learned this summer was my love for meditation. As a part of the Jackson Fellows training, we did a meditation session. I enjoyed it, but that was only the beginning. My boss incorporated the first ten minutes of the work day to meditation time, and I found much lots of satisfaction with the practice. It was great to have time to be present with myself before the work day started. I learned a lot through meditation, and still try and do it everyday because of this past summer.
How can you apply what you experienced at your internship/fellowship/etc. in the future?
Many of the skills and experiences I had this summer I could apply to not only my future career, but future personal aspirations. From networking to the benedictine values in training, to team-building and public speaking in my internship, it gave me the confidence to see a vision for myself and how I want to be in the world.
What advice would you offer to future students interested in this experience?
Take advantage of the structure. You have the ability to work on behalf of the school anywhere in the world. Find a location that you've never been to or out of your comfort zone, and explore.