Vassey Konneh

Intern name: Vassey Konneh

Major(s)/Minor(s): Biophysics 

Title/place of internship/fellowship, etc.: Intern at Minestar and the Great Plains Institute(GPI) 

How did you find out about your internship/fellowship/etc.? I had the opportunity to intern at Minestar and the Great Plains Institute(GPI) this summer because of the list of internship opportunities offered. After reviewing the list a few times, I chose these two because they provided me the best opportunities to work on my skills, farther develop my interest in their fields, and network with people from these industries.

What were your responsibilities at your internship/fellowship/etc.? GPI
-Developing and updating the SSN website
-Interviewing states sustainability program leaders to determine their impact
-Creating Equity blogs on eight state programs
-Scheduled meetings
-review state programs actions taken to address racial equity related. issues.

Minestar:
-Brainstorm and create open-source software internship
-Creat landing page layout for people new to minestar.
-Write a cultural blog

What was the most beneficial aspect of your experience? The most beneficial aspect of my experience was getting to network with so many people. The number of people that I meant through both of my internships, who were and still are willing to help me achieve my dreams and goals was amazing. I believe that I took some really important strides in my journey towards my dream career and field.

What was the most surprising thing you experienced or learned during your internship/fellowship/etc.? The most surprising thing that I learned changed my understanding of policymaking and my opinion of politicians. I always become frustrated and annoyed by politicians and/or people in power for their lack of actions or their idleness, but after interning at GPI and experiencing the process of trying to incorporate changes in a large network, which involved several meetings, email exchanges, revisions, and evaluated.

Another surprising thing that I experienced from my internship at GPI was the surprising amount of politics that was involved in taking action and making and changes.

How can you apply what you experienced at your internship/fellowship/etc. in the future? I know that the things that I learned this summer will be things that I will incorporate into not just my professional life but personal as well. A great example of this was learning to look deeper at things and question all aspects of it. So for a bill or policy change, you should not only be looking at what it does but more importantly what it doesn't do because many there's a lot that is left out and many times that's the minority community. As someone that wanted to impact the world and make it a better place for all, its important for me to not just try to make changes in the world but to fully understand the effects of it, what it doesn't include, and who's benefiting the most from it.

For my internship at Minnester, I learned that entrepreneurship and creating a startup is very difficult because of all of the many things that can result in the business failing but that networking with others will help with many of these issues. As someone that wants to be a successful entrepreneur its important for me to learn as much as I can possibly take in.

What advice would you offer to future students interested in this experience? The best advice that I would offer to future students is that when they are applying for internships, they should keep in mind there are many aspects of the company or organization that they don't yet know which will impact their internships and they should be open to new experiences and tasks outside of their internships opportunity while interning because that's where the most networking is done