Home News Center NJJN Thanks Our 2020 Summer Interns!

NJJN Thanks Our 2020 Summer Interns!

July 30, 2020
Courtney M. McSwain



We’ve had five incredible interns working with NJJN this summer who jumped in and helped us move the push for youth justice transformation forward. From our COVID-19 response to campaigning for #JusticeForCornelius, our interns have been instrumental to our work over the past several months. Huge thanks to all that they helped us accomplish!

Learn more about these emerging advocates.

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Brittany Dean, Bloomsburg University, Senior
YJLI Intern




What made you want to intern with NJJN?

I always knew I loved to help people, so when I read up on the organization I knew I would enjoy helping young people get their voices heard and get the treatment they deserve.

What have you taken from your experience so far?

This experience showed me that everything I do here is valued. I know you can’t change the world in a day but we can definitely get one step closer. 

Have you learned anything positive about yourself or learned any new skills while interning during these unique times of COVID-19?
I learned that I can still be vocal through a remote setting. I also learned I can gain a lot of knowledge through a remote setting as well. I never really used Zoom or emailed much, but this experience changed that. 

Favorite quote, book or movie?
My favorite quote is from Psalm 28:7 “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” 



Regina Akinwale, University of Maryland, Senior
YJLI Intern




What made you want to intern with NJJN?
I decided to intern at the National Juvenile Justice network because of my interest in criminal justice reform. NJJN is one of the best places to learn about what advocating for change entails.

What have you taken from your experience so far?
So far, I have learned that there is a large network of people who are passionate about social change constantly working together to promote practices that are in the best interest of youth in the country. I have also gained a professional experience that cannot be gained in a classroom setting. 

Have you learned anything positive about yourself or learned any new skills while interning during these unique times of COVID-19?
Interning during these unique times of COVID-19 has made me aware that I have the skill of adaptability. This means that my internship has shown me that I can always adapt to new situations when the need arises. I never expected my internship to be remote, but interning with NJJN has shown me that I can still gain a great hands-on experience without leaving my home. 

Favorite quote, book or movie?
My favorite movie is A Beautiful Mind. A Beautiful Mind depicts the life of John Nash, a Nobel prize winner who was able to accomplish his goal irrespective of the fact that he suffered from schizophrenia.



Sarah Natchipolsky, University of Maryland, Junior
Communications Intern 




What made you want to intern with NJJN? 
I’ve been interested in justice system reform since high school, and I wanted to intern for a non-profit, so NJJN seemed like the perfect place to work. 

What have you taken from your experience so far?
I’ve realized I definitely want to continue working for mission-driven organizations in the future. 

Have you learned anything positive about yourself or learned any new skills while interning during these unique times of Covid-19?
I’m used to working with people face-to-face, but I learned that I am adaptable and can be just as productive independently and remotely. 

Favorite quote, book or movie?
My favorite books are Kitchen Confidential and Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain. 


Tatjana Farjadi, University of Mary Washington, Senior
Policy Intern




What made you want to intern with NJJN?
I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to attend university and learn about economics and various social justice issues. I knew I wanted to try and find a position this summer that lends whatever knowledge and experience I have, to an already great organization working directly to change these issues, which is why I am so happy I found NJJN, and am incredibly grateful that I can contribute to the work they are doing.

What have you taken from your experience so far?
I have learned how important and crucial it is to listen to youth voices impacted by justice systems. Not only within youth justice but spanning various social justice issues, the work that organizations do needs to be centered around those impacted and oppressed by unjust systems, emphasizing their voices and demands.

Have you learned anything positive about yourself or learned any new skills while interning during these unique times of COVID-19?
I've recognized that I was very comfortable working independently but not very acclimated to working with others. Despite pandemic regulations, working on various tasks and assignments with NJJN has made me realize the importance of communicating with, relying on, and trusting other people (even on Zoom and through email).

Favorite quote, book or movie?
Favorite Book: On Fire, The Burning Case For a Green New Deal by Naomi Klein 

 

Valerie Lott, Elon University School of Law, Second year
Policy Intern




What made you want to intern with NJJN?  
My research during my master’s program at Vanderbilt University focused on public school systems' existing racist policies, including the exclusion of civil rights history. After my experience studying and working in public schools where I saw the ways in which Black children are criminalized and pushed out, I knew I wanted to work with an organization like NJJN because of the anti-racist, youth centered approach to policy.

What have you taken from your experience so far?
I have gained an appreciation for the ways in which NJJN approaches anti-racist organizational work from a holistic perspective—not being willing to sacrifice values for ease of process. Sometimes it takes more work, time, and effort to put out information that takes a completely anti-racist approach, but that’s what dismantling decades-old systems requires. 

Have you learned anything positive about yourself or learned any new skills while interning during these unique times of COVID-19?
I am definitely more “Zoom-savvy” after working with NJJN this summer! 

Favorite quote, book, or movie?
A Wreath for Emmett Till, written by Marilyn Nelson, illustrated by Philippe Lardy

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