My Senior Internship at MAPA

Elise Fitzsimmons

IMG_4707 (1)In my final semester at the Waldorf High School of Massachusetts Bay, I was expected to seek out my own three week internship. Coming from a small school with a generally progressive atmosphere, this appeared to be the perfect time to explore organizations in the area. I came across the Massachusetts Peace Action (MAPA) website during my initial web search and put it at the top of my list. MAPA seemed like just the place for me to develop my skills for college and the working world while making a contribution to the peace initiative.

Since I was a short term “general intern,” my tasks changed daily. The first day of work I was assigned the job of managing the layout and editing articles for the winter 2016 newsletter. I followed the project up to its release date when it was mailed to MAPA subscribers. Overseeing the newsletter from start to finish gave me a sense of how things work at MAPA.

During my second week I further explored the world of communications as I learned how to post events on Twitter, Facebook and WordPress. This required that I not only pay attention to MAPA’s functions, but that I also keep myself up to date with world events regarding nuclear weapons, Syria, Palestine and the presidential election.

After these three weeks, I hope to move forward with the peace movement in other ways and reach out to the younger generation. I have no doubt that there are others just as unaware of the need for nuclear disarmament and policy reform as I was. To educate others in any way can be impactful and I would like to contribute to that.

During my time at MAPA I had the chance to attend a Noam Chomsky keynote speech at Tufts University. I would have loved to have attended more Peace Action events, but trying to fit so much into three weeks had its challenges. I was very fortunate to be at MAPA during such a politically active time and with the 2016 presidential campaign at its height I got to see the unveiling of Peace Action’s Bernie Sanders endorsement. I’m excited and curious about the future of MAPA. I hope the support system will grow as the younger generations promote the peace movement.

There were times when I felt that I was falling behind during meetings because I did not know enough about the inner workings of MAPA to follow what was being discussed. Having some background, perhaps how Peace Action formed or how roles were divided amongst board members would have been helpful to me as I came to know people within the office. Nonetheless, I have great admiration for the time and effort that members put into the organization.

Working at MAPA has given me a chance to combine communications, international relations and peace studies into a condensed experience. Just as my school’s internship program intended, taking on a full time job has introduced me to another level of responsibilities. This internship has also guided me as I research potential majors for my college years ahead. Just as I hoped, MAPA introduced me to new work tactics and allowed me to gain a further understanding of the peace initiative.