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Cristal Espejo '13

Cristal Espejo_001Youth Representative at the Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund (VGIF)

Major: International Studies
Concentration: Latin American Studies

: RA in Spellman Hall, Financial Aid Office Assistant & Student Affairs SGA Representative

Professors are Helpful
Manhattanville alumn, Meg Chapel contacted Professor Meta about the internship. Professor Meta emailed students in the International Studies Department about this opportunity. I researched the organization by going on their website and reading their newsletters to see if it was something I was interested in.

On the Job
I regularly attend meetings at the United Nations (UN) to represent VGIF. My attendance provides our organizaiton with a greater UN presence and I serve as a liasion for VGIF. Following each meeting I write reports and articles for the UN Committee and the VGIF Board. Additionally, I write for the VGIF Intern Blog. During Spring Break I attended The 57th Commission on the Status of Women. This 2 week conference was dedicated towards gender equality and the advancement of women.

What I Learned
The UN meetings provided me the chance to learn about a number of current global issues. This included but was not limited to issues about the post 2015 Millennium Development Goals, girls access to urban spaces, trafficking, femicide, FGM, the environment and food secruity.

Why I LOVED my Internship
This semester, youth representatives attended dinners, receptions and networking events. We were exposed to aspects of the nonprofit world that many of us had never experienced. Access to these resources as well as the interaction with empowered women, empowered us. 

Networking is Important
I had the opportunity to attend a dinner with the VGIF Board, its grant recipients and the foundation partners. This dinner gave me the chance to network with various members of the nonprofit community and make connections. One connection in particular that I made was with the Head of the NY Women's Domestic Violence Committee. As a result of this connection I am now an official member of the NY Women's Domestic Violence Committee.

Making Decisions
Internships are important because they place you in the environment you eventually want to be working in and help you make choices about your career path. My internship has helped me narrow my interests and discover new interests. I have also come to realize that surrounding myself with mentors and role models within the nonprofit world is bringing me one step closer to my own goals.