There are a variety of internships available to undergraduate students interested in issues concerning gender, women's, and sexuality studies. Opportunities may be found within the U.S. as well as internationally. The Career Development Office has up-to-date resources concerning a wide range of internship opportunities. For more information about how to pursue summer internships as a Grinnell student, including internship funding options, please contact the CDO at (641) 236-4940 or visit their internship webpage.
Grinnell students can do unpaid internships in a variety of settings around the state of Iowa and around the world. Internship work can be done during the semester or during the summer and can involve varying amounts of time. Course credit may be available if the student has a faculty supervisor and combines internship work with related reading and writing.
GWS students in the recent past have done unpaid internships at Domestic Violence Alternatives in Marshalltown, at the women's prison in Mitchellville, at the Iowa State Historical Society in Iowa City, and at the Jeanne Burkle Women's Center in Grinnell. Students studying overseas have also done unpaid internships related to: domestic violence in Australia, women's health in Zimbabwe, childcare in Krasnador, Russia, and women's collectives in Costa Rica.
The Louise Noun Women's Studies Program Committee offers two paid grants every summer to students pursuing internships that focus on women and/or LGBTQ communities and that offer students first-hand experience working for feminist, queer, and anti-racist organizations.
For more information regarding Noun Awards, contact Angela Winburn, the Noun Program Assistant, at (641) 269-3157. Check out the following student profiles to see past student internships funded by Noun Grants:
Julie Bunt ‘13
Noun Grant Recipient – Summer 2011
Julie Bunt was the recipient of a Louise Noun Grant in 2011, which she used to fund a ten week internship at the Commission on Gender Equality, Western Cape Branch in South Africa. The Commission on Gender Equality (CGE) is an independent government commission established in section 9 of the South African constitution. It is mandated to monitor and evaluate policies of bodies of state, public bodies and private businesses, as well as to provide recommendations to the South African Parliament (http://www.cge.org.za/).
At the CGE, I worked for Parliamentary Officer, Adviser Anirudhra, who provided me the opportunity to guide my own internship experience with his support. During my stay, I, along with another intern, completed and submitted a research proposal to the head office regarding the implementation of a provision of the Sexual Offenses Act of 2007, which requires the distribution of PEP (an antiretroviral drug meant to help prevent the contraction of HIV) to survivors of sexual assault and rape. I also helped to draft various submissions to Parliament and, in the case of the submission on the National Traditional Affairs Bill of 2011, some elements of my research and writing appeared in the final submission. Furthermore, I was able to assist with a large Women's Month festival at the beginning of August, which was cosponsored by Artscapes. the leading theater and arts company in Cape Town. This event featured several prominent speakers, including Arch Bishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and made national headlines.
Overall, I enjoyed the experience immensely. Although at times my experience was a little unstructured, I was able to meet many amazing people and learned a great deal about the political system in South Africa and the politics of gender equality in a developing democracy through first-hand experience.
Nikki Sewell ‘13
Noun Grant Recipient – Summer 2011
During the summer of 2011, Nikki Sewell interned at the Women’s Resource and Outreach Centre in Kingston, Jamaica—a non-profit organization that aims to provide holistic services and programs that promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and youth (http://wrocjamaica.org/).
The summer of 2011 will forever bring fond memories to mind. This was the summer my life was changed through my work at the Women’s Resource and Outreach Centre in Kingston, Jamaica. Over the eleven weeks I worked there I was constantly challenged: academically, emotionally, spiritually and at times even physically. As an intern I was able to play an integral role in advancing the political agenda of the institution, that of creating a society in which each person is treated as an equal. The Women’s Resource and Outreach Centre has a broad portfolio which includes providing health care, as well as educational resources to many of Jamaica’s most disenfranchised people. While it was my original intention to work mainly as a political activist, I found myself falling in love with the children at the Education Centre. The highlight of my days were seeing the smiles of the children as I entered the class room.
This past summer has helped me to realize the importance that Education plays in the advancement of gender justice as well as the role I can play in creating a more just society through education of the youth. I will forever be thankful to the donors of the Noun Grant and the Women’s Resource and Outreach Centre for aiding me on my person journey to self-fulfillment and community development.
Elliot Karl ‘12
Noun Grant Recipient – Summer 2010
Elliot Karl '12 was the recipient of the 2010 Louise Noun Grant, which he used to fund an unpaid summer internship at Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund's Midwest Regional Office in Chicago, Illinois. Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work (www.lambdalegal.org).
Overall, the Community Education Internship at Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund (located at the organization’s Midwest Regional Office in Chicago) provided me with many opportunities to apply much of the knowledge and skills I have gained in GWSS and Sociology courses at Grinnell. The office’s laid back atmosphere, passionate staff and rigorous Pride schedule all worked to provide an always interesting and rewarding internship experience, which seldom became tedious or boring. When I was not traveling around the city for various Pride events, I was lucky enough to be able to discuss many legal issues affecting LGBTQ individuals and communities with knowledgeable attorneys and legal interns. Furthermore, I also gained an immense amount of knowledge/experience in the realm of community organizing which I am confident that I will be able to apply in my future activism and studies. Though my responsibilities were reduced dramatically after Pride season ended in July, my supervisors were careful to involve me in several larger media projects, such as planning an ad campaign for marriage equality. I found the work I was doing to be incredibly satisfying and will definitely volunteer with Lambda Legal in the future.
Melanie Rockoff ‘12
Noun Grant Recipient – Summer 2010
During the summer of 2010, Melanie Rockoff used a Louise Noun Grant to fund her internship at Aprendiendo a Volar (“Learning to Fly”)—a women’s center and pre-school that caters to the needs of women living in Barrio Yapeyu, an economically-disadvantaged region of Córdoba, Argentina.
Monday through Friday, I worked as a teacher and care-taker for local children, ages one to four. Additionally, I assisted with weekly meetings held at Aprendiendo a Volar during which the center facilitated local women’s access to government aid for the unemployed and for those with struggling small businesses. Each Tuesday I observed and partook in classes in which local professionals would teach women at the center useful skills, ranging from how to properly set a table, to public speaking tips. Finally, I briefly observed and assisted with sexual education courses open to local adolescents and teenagers. Overall, my role at Aprendiendo a Volar was to be available in any way in which I was needed.
Jessica Southard ‘10
Noun Grant Recipient – Summer 2008
During the summer of 2008, Jessica Southard received the Louise Noun Grant to spend eight weeks working at the non-profit organization GEEZ Louise! GEEZ Louise!’s mission is to teach women to find balance, learn skills, create shared power, and change the world and provides a safe space where women can learn about themselves, sisterhood and empowerment. GEEZ Louise! provides a number of services, such as: after-school programming for young women about feminism, individual counseling, training for agencies around the state on how to work with women, weekly T’ai Chi and self-defense classes, individual counseling, team-building for local agencies, and working with young women on creative projects such as documentary films and the publication of an alternative magazine (http://geezlouise.org/).
Through this internship, I gained a greater understanding of the need to have both an academic, macro-view of gender issues, while also having a real life, micro-view experience. For example, I worked with several groups of teen mothers. Talking with teen mothers gave a face to what I have learned about the consequences of under-funded family-planning services, abstinence-only sex education, the feminization of poverty, and the ways that race, class and gender affect individuals’ access to knowledge.
The most important and most difficult lesson I learned from my internship was the need to make and enforce boundaries with clients. For the first month of work, I was overwhelmed with seeing women who faced so many obstacles as a result of being born a certain gender, race, and class. I recognized myself in so many of the women and saw that under different circumstances, I could have been them. The need to leave work at work is a lesson I continue to struggle with, especially as my work is inextricable from my personal and political beliefs.