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National NOW Times >> Summer, 2001 >> Article

Empowerment Through Interning

by AnitaMarie Murano, Intern and Volunteer Coordinator

Where do I go from here? Is there life after college? Who am I going to be in five years? How will I find a job that is both enjoyable and means something? Have you heard yourself, your daughter or a friend asking these questions? The internship program at the National Action Center may help provide the answers.

Each semester interns come from all over the world to work with the largest organization of feminist activists in the United States. The NOW Action Center is a prime location to learn the issues that shaped the women’s rights movement, to delve into that history and to work for rights yet to be won. Interns with the National NOW Action Center are on the front lines of the movement.

Students have traveled from as far off as Japan and South Africa to spend a semester with NOW. "If you want to work in a political pressure group that is alive with energy, you should be in America and you should be in D.C. ...There is a kind of electricity in the air in D.C. Everyone is tuned into some kind of political consciousness," says Sareta Ashraph, who came to NOW from Trinidad via London.

Becoming a NOW intern is a commitment to apply the skills learned during the internship and to become, or continue to be, an activist leader. Karrie Bowen, an intern from Northern Pennsylvania, puts it all into perspective: "I was one of the few interns who left their internship and took the next major life step not into the career world, but into the world of marriage and a child. It wasn’t until I gave birth to my daughter three and a half months ago that I remembered why I did everything I did at NOW, as well as why I do everything in my life and my work. I do it for her."

Bowen attended workshops during her time here. She worked with staff and officers to learn about the core issues NOW is addressing. "I took what I learned at my internship and I fight for women’s rights because I want future women to have what I did not," Bowen says.

Past NOW interns are everywhere. Their experience prepares them for positions in all sorts of environments. In fact some have started their own organizations. They work on Capitol Hill in legislative offices and one has even argued a case before the Supreme Court.

"Because of my experience at the NOW Action Center, I am working on a joint degree in Women’s Studies and Law at the University of Cincinnati. NOW taught me that social change happens when activists work at all levels. I am convinced that feminists must use the law as a tool for social justice," says Ellen Eardley, a former intern from St. Louis.

So, how does one apply for an internship with NOW? Just go to www.now.org/intern and fill out an application. Send it along with a resume, cover letter and two letters of recommendation from professional and/or educational references. Or contact the Intern and Volunteer Coordinator via email at volunteer@now.org. The deadline for fall semester is July 30; for spring semester, November 20; and for summer semester, March 15.

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