Ismail A Ali

Intern Name: Ismail A Ali

Major: Communication

Title/Place of Internship: Athlos Academy

How did you find out about your internship/fellowship/etc.?

Prior to interning at Athlos Academy which is a charter school located in St. Cloud Minnesota I was working there as an English Learning Paraprofessional.

What were your responsibilities at your internship/fellowship/etc.?

My day to day responsibilities at Athlos Academy were very fluid. As the Cultural Liaison of the school, I worked primarily with Somali families and students to build bridges and foster high educational achievement. I translated during meetings and had in-depth conversations with parents regarding any issues they were facing. Upon hearing their concerns, I worked with the school administration and staff to resolve the problems. Parents felt valued and wanted because they were genuinely herd. I found that my translating and discussions with parents was tremendously limiting conflicts that might arise from miscommunication. Adding on to this, I facilitated multiple parent engagement meetings and school cultural nights between school administration and Somali families to build a greater sense of community. Equally as important I worked with Somali students ranging from Kindergarten to 8th grade to support them with their school work, limit behaviors, and build social skills. I enjoyed going to work every day because I knew my job was making a difference. 

What was the most beneficial aspect of your experience?

The most beneficial aspect of my experience was being a role model to Somali students. Multiple times I heard Somali students look at me as they are talking to their friends and say he’s Somali. They took joy in seeing someone from their community work at their school. Representation matters and as they see me succeed it sends the message they can too.

What was the most surprising thing you experienced at your internship?

The most surprising thing I've experienced or learned in this internship was the success of the programmings.

How can you apply what you experienced at your internship/fellowship/etc. in the future?

My experiences and the skills I gained and refined are very applicable to my future. I want to continue to use my voice and education to help build bridges and support marginalized communities.  

What advice would you offer to future students interested in this experience?

I would encourage all students to pursue an internship. Applying the course work we are learning here at CSB/SJU to real circumstances can be extremely beneficial for student’s growth.

(March  2019)