Starting back up with YWWAV

My name is Hali Ledet and I’m a junior at Tulane majoring in Public Health on a pre-med track. My main areas of interest are maternal/child health and women’s health, particularly as they relate to marginalized groups. I hope to acquire a Masters of Public Health in Maternal Child Health, then go on to work as an OB/GYN and provide high quality, accessible care for the women who need it most. This semester will be my second semester working with the Young Women with a Vision (YWWAV) program, and I am excited to jump back into things!

YWWAV provides a safe space for middle school and high school-aged Black girls in New Orleans to share and learn from their experiences and the experiences of those with similar backgrounds through workshops, projects, community engagement activities, and discussions that focus on issues related to human rights, intersectionality, Black feminism, reproductive justice, and social justice. My role is to aid in the facilitation of these endeavors while also serving as a mentor and providing guidance when needed. As a young Black woman from Louisiana, I see reflections of my younger self in the program participants and am looking forward to continuing to build meaningful relationships with them as we all learn and grow together.

I believe that real change in the field of reproductive justice can only be effected when a life-course approach is taken to address the issues that impact women and inhibit their agency. Before mothers are mothers they are women, and before women are women, they are girls. By continuing my internship, I hope to look at both the obstacles and triumphs of young Black girls in our city through a public health lens and learn of the ways their physical, mental, and sexual wellness are made vulnerable, and what we can do to change that so that we are one step closer to a more equitable and just society in which everyone’s life is valued.




Ready to get back to work!

My name is Brittney Sheena and I am a senior at Tulane University majoring in neuroscience and minoring in public health and Spanish. I am excited to continue working as a reproductive rights and health intern this semester. My knowledge of reproductive health issues developed significantly from my experience over the summer and I know my understanding will continue to grow this semester.

Over the summer, I conducted research with Dr. Alyssa Lederer on sexuality health education. Unfortunately, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have a disproportionate impact on adolescents and can lead to adverse health implications. My principal research project has been investigating college students’ gap in STI knowledge. Through literature reviews and qualitative coding analysis, Dr. Lederer and I have positioned ourselves to use this semester to work on journal publications and poster proposals. In addition to STI knowledge gap research, I helped work on an instrument design project and a grant proposal, tasks I did not anticipate when I entered the position, but I am unbelievably grateful for the intellectual and academic development they provided. I am curious what other research experience will arise as I continue this journey.

In addition to my research on sexuality health education, I work at the Behavioral and Neurodevelopmental Genetics Lab at Tulane Medical School, where my research team and I assess how the mother-child relationship can influence child development. I am also a proud member of Tulane Emergency Medical Services, Mortar Board Honor Society, and Kappa Alpha Theta. I want to pursue an MD/MPH to not only treat patient symptoms and maladies, but also prevent health issues through culturally appropriate education and coordination of health actors.


Research Internship at SPHTM with Dr. Lederer

My name is Kelsey Williams, and I am thrilled to have just begun my reproductive health and reproductive rights internship. I’m a junior from San Diego, California majoring in Public Health and on a pre-med track. My academic interests center on women’s health, particularly how women can become more empowered through improved health and knowledge about their bodies. As I look beyond graduation, I am torn between continuing to medical school and becoming an OB/GYN or pursuing a PhD in Public Health to do research. I am particularly excited about this internship, because I hope it will clarify some of my career goals.

This semester I will be working with Dr. Alyssa Lederer on sex education research. My first project is to compile a literature review on the effectiveness of online sex education programs, and then we will move on to analyzing the data she has collected on the subject. I have already improved my library research skills and have been introduced to several qualitative analysis skills. I am excited to gain a more thorough understanding of how to carry out public health research.

Beyond working with Dr. Lederer, I am involved in Students United for Reproductive Justice, Phi Mu, and calculus tutoring. I’m also a Newcomb Scholar, and I hope that many of the feminist perspectives I am learning through that program can help to influence my research analysis.


Beginning my Internship with the New Orleans Abortion Fund

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Hello everyone! My name is Samah Ahmed and I am a senior here at Tulane studying public health with a minor in political science. My main interests lie in the relationship between socioeconomic status and health, the issue of health care access, and the intersectionality of these two things with the realms of policy-making and legality. After graduation, I hope to explore these interests further in law school.

Outside of school, I write for Tulane University’s online news publication,  New Wave, writing articles about student life, lectures & events, and ongoing university research. I love taking fiction writing classes alongside my typical course load & honing my own storytelling skills. As a former president of the student group TEDxTU, I help Tulane undergraduates coordinate TEDx-style storytelling conferences each year. As a result, I am very excited to be interning with the New Orleans Abortion Fund (NOAF) this semester as a NOAF Outloud intern. I will be responsible for coordinating NOAF Outloud events, which are small, intimate spaces in which participants share stories about abortion and choice in an effort to de-stigmatize the act of abortion and normalize it as a safe and common medical procedure. Since reproductive health policy, like all policy, encompasses a complex intersection of various very personal factors such as race, class, and gender, I believe that storytelling can be used as a tool to provide critical insight into this complexity.

Through my internship this semester, I hope to gain a better understanding of how public health outcomes and civil rights legislation are intertwined, how local groups affect change, and how public health concerns can transcend political barriers. I look forward to sharing what I learn and experience at NOAF with you all this semester!

Internship with Lift Louisiana

980251_10201592251042093_494891359_o My name is Claire Kueffner and I am a senior at Tulane University studying Legal Studies and Gender and Sexuality Studies. Beyond my studies, I am also involved with the prelaw fraternity at Tulane. I am also the president of the Tulane Debate Team, and I coach high school debate at a local high school, Isidore Newman. My career interests center around using the law and my advocacy skills for the betterment of marginalized groups.

This semester, I will be working with Lift Louisiana on several projects to improve local sex education in Louisiana. I will primarily be working on a project called My Louisiana Sex Ed, where we will be working to encourage Louisiana youth to share stories about their sex ed experiences. We will use these stories to present arguments to policymakers about how sex ed is failing Louisiana’s youth. I will also be working to launch this story sharing program on Tulane’s campus and other college campuses around the state. This aims to both collect stories to understand the various types of sex ed that students have received, but also to increase sexual education on college campuses by allowing students to learn from one another.

I am so excited to use my advocacy and communication skills to promote awareness about the problems that Louisiana has with sexual education, and hopefully, use this as a political tool to create substantial change for youth in Louisiana.

Reflecting on My Time at the Juvenile Court

I finished up my internship a few weeks ago, so I’m posting this reflection quite late. Part of the reason for that is that after twelve weeks of working at the juvenile court and at two other places in order to save money, I spent the very end of the summer sleeping like a hibernating bear.

I hadn’t realized how exhausting my work this summer would be, but I also couldn’t predict how much I’d learn over those twelve weeks– both professionally and personally. I turned in my first research paper that wasn’t for a grade. I learned how to summarize information and how to organize my research in a way that would be easy for others to understand. I learned to listen and when to ask questions. I learned that this is what I want to do. Personally, I learned how to sympathize with people I couldn’t empathize with. I learned how to live on my own, manage a power outage, and how to survive the New Orleans heat. I learned how to work hard and how to change gears from thinking and questioning to following and serving as I went directly from court to my catering job.

I certainly fulfilled my goals for the summer. I understand the judicial system and its effect on women and minorities better than I did before. I feel comfortable dealing with dense material and my writing skills have vastly improved.

This was an invaluable experience and I’m so grateful to NCI for giving me the resources to have it.

Internship with the New Orleans Abortion Fund

NOW-NYC GalaMy name is Alexandria Nichols (the one on left), and I’m a senior at Tulane University majoring in English, Psychology as well as Gender and Sexuality Studies.  I am in the 4+1 Master’s program for English, so I have no plans of leaving New Orleans anytime soon.  In addition to my academics, I’ve worked as Building Manager at the Lavin-Bernick Center (LBC) for the past year.  However, most of my time is spent contributing to Greek life on Tulane’s campus.  I’m currently the president of Delta Xi Nu Multicultural Sorority, but I’ve previously held countless other positions including membership educator, alumnae liaison, and signature-event chair.  I am also the president of the Multicultural Greek Council, which I helped to reinstitute on Tulane’s campus this past year.  Our central focus has been to integrate the council into the rest of the Greek community primarily through the promotion of diversity and inclusivity.

This semester, I’m extremely eager to work with NOAF as a fundraising intern.  I hope to help establish connections with local universities through outreach and fundraising events as well as find donors in New Orleans who are able to recognize the importance of the organization’s work.  I plan to not only utilize the many skills I’ve gained this past summer while working for the National Organization for Women – NYC as their Development Intern but to also improve them further as I continue my work as a fundraiser.  While I learn more about the particular struggles that the women of New Orleans face on a daily basis, I know that I will only be that much more motivated to help them access their reproductive rights.  I’ve always seen development as the foundation on which an organization is built, so I’m keen to learn about the particular strategies that NOAF and other non-profit organizations have found to work most effectively in the New Orleans area.  Although I’m originally from Boston, I hope to stay in the Crescent City after graduation and to continue working for the indispensable organizations that defend the rights of all women, but especially those of women of color.

In Reflection: Mongolian Health Initiative


After a full summer as a research intern for the Mongolian Health Initiative (MHI), my time in Mongolia has finally drawn to a close and I am back in New Orleans reflecting on the amazing lessons I learned this summer. Regarding my first learning objective of obtaining knowledge regarding breast cancer risk factors in rural and urban regions, I was able to gain a great deal of knowledge about vitamin D concentrations in rural and urban areas and its relationship with various prenatal risk factors which are, transitively, related to breast cancer risk factors. I had  discussions with MHI employees about the various initiatives that MHI has helped establish in Mongolia, such as the Zero TB Initiative, which is a global initiative working against tuberculosis. This initiative is especially necessary in a country burdened by tuberculosis such as Mongolia. In speaking with MHI researchers about initiatives such as this, as well as the ongoing clinical TB trial in Mongolia, I was able to obtain knowledge regarding tuberculosis infection in school-aged children, particularly in high-risk nations, which was my second learning objective. I gained practical research skills in that I gained a thorough introduction to biostatistics and various research databases, as well as on methodology in finding relevant scientific literature. I also worked a great deal with data tables and data analyses, which was a realm of research that I had never been as very familiar with. In working with my supervisor, I was able to learn about the methodology and protocol for a number of clinical trials that MHI is currently working on, such as the TB clinical trial, as well as the vitamin D trial. During my time as an MHI intern, I was able to interact with women leaders in the STEM fields, many of whom are doing trailblazing research in Mongolia for and with Mongolian women. This not only gave me personal applications and insight into what it means to be a woman leader in the STEM fields, but also on what it means to be a working woman in general. There was a powerful sense of collaboration and camaraderie in the MHI workplace.    

My internship experience at MHI will be an experience that I build off during the rest of my time at Tulane and beyond as I continue to explore and pursue medical and public health research. This experience has also grown my interest in and passion for cross cultural research, which is a field I feel that my background can greatly aid me in. I hope to continue to be able to advocate for and with women, particularly across cultures and in the health sector.

Having now completed my internship, I have found a great need to be equipped with a thorough understanding of biostatistics in the research field. I am thus currently enrolled in a biostatistics class and am excited to apply what I learn in future research endeavours. I would like to take on more public health research experiences, particularly cross cultural public health research. This experience, in its cross-cultural nature, taught me so much about communication, collaboration, and about what public health research means in both urban and rural areas and countries. Due to this overseas research experience, I have also gained a great interest in medical sociology, another class that I am currently involved in. Through it, I hope to learn more about health disparities, global health, and how medical/public health research can become a more equitable and accessible tool around the world.

To a student interested in an internship at the Mongolian Health Initiative or simply in public health or cross cultural research in general, I would emphasize how important it is to go into the experience with an open mind. Due to the variable nature of research, particularly in a culture that may have a different approach to research than one might be accustomed to, it is so important to remain flexible, teachable, and humble. I learned most in the moments when I lay down my pride and learned new ways with an open mind and good humor. Lastly, work well and work hard – be confident in what you do know and be open to learn about what you don’t know.

My philosophy of women being a necessary and powerful force in the STEM fields was definitely reinforced during my interactions with incredible women researchers at MHI. I have learned that so much about finding leadership is about being certain and proud of personal skills and talents while also always being open to learn and change and grow and collaborate. The women I met at MHI are all incredibly hardworking, intelligent, and humble – they have a clear sense of their identity in the workplace and in their respective fields.  

Throughout this internship, I have become more comfortable with creative problem solving. I have found that in my experiences over this past summer, being an effective problem solver involves being able to work independently, confident in the knowledge and skills that I already own, while also being teachable and knowing when and in what areas to be able to ask for help. I have found that this work – both public health research in particular as well as women working together in general – is only truly effective when genuine trust and collaboration are present.

The End of a Great Experience with Girls Who Invest

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Hello again everyone!  My experience with Girls Who Invest is coming to a close, and I could not have been happier with the program or my internship at Wellington Management.

Through my summer experiences, I was able to achieve all of my learning objectives and more.  My knowledge in finance and investing concepts grew dramatically through both the GWI educational program and my hands-on experience at Wellington.  Through the coursework, case studies, and on-the-job projects, I was constantly challenged and thinking through different ways to value a company or approach a problem.  I was able to increase my knowledge and experience while working in a professional environment, and I was able to form so many new meaningful connections and relationships with both my peers and with industry professionals.

I hope to build off this experience by continuing to immerse myself in the finance and investing world.  I am pursuing a Finance degree at Tulane and have plans to take additional courses to enhance my knowledgebase in various areas so I can directly apply this knowledge in future positions.  I am also pursuing an internship in asset management for next summer to further increase my experience and skillset.  I hope to continue to learn more about the nuances within various asset classes, and I hope to gain more exposure to and experience in research and valuation of companies and securities.

To those students interested in pursuing an internship in investing, I advise you to gain as much early-on exposure as you can through classes, internships, competitions, etc.  Be curious and ask as many questions as you can.  At the beginning of the summer, I didn’t realize how many different career paths existed in this industry.  I advise students to reach out to peers or alumni in the industry to learn more about their experiences to help students narrow their interests and refine their criteria for a position.

While investing is certainly a male-dominated industry, over the course of the summer I have found that there is an increasing amount of opportunities for female investors to enter the space.  So may firms offer gender-diversity programs that aim to get more women involved in the field.  I have met so many talented women this summer who have become successful leaders in the industry.  In my experience, hard work does not go unnoticed, so I advise females to put forth their best efforts and strive for excellence in every task they approach.

I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to be part of the Girls Who Invest program and community, and I’m looking forward to continuing to pursue a career in such an interesting and dynamic industry.

Dream a Better Dream

My internship at DREAM (formerly Harlem RBI) was so much more than I could have ever imagined. Not only did I fulfill all of my goals that I had set at the beginning of my internship, but I’ve also had so many different experiences that have opened my eyes to new perspectives. My biggest goal this summer was to develop and hone my resource development skills. The fact that DREAM was a mid-sized non-profit organization in New York City did wonders for my development skills.

Many of DREAM’s donors were corporate donors that required clear and consistent communication skills, as well as the ability to improvise because their schedules were often changed at the last minute. For example, we had a Blackstone volunteer event that was originally scheduled to be held in Central Park, but on the day of the event, the heat index was too high for the players to be outside. Our baseball and softball coordinators were always prepared for the weather, so my supervisor and I had already contacted prior to coming into the office, to ensure that an alternative schedule was in place for the players and the volunteers. Thankfully, Blackstone was very flexible with the change and things went according to plan. My time at DREAM equipped with the necessary skills to think on my feet and improved my written and verbal communication skills, which were heavily relied on for this particular event.

I was also able to network with a variety of different people at DREAM. From the High School Campus Culture Director to the Director of Community Engagement and Government Affairs, I was able to collect a plethora of new information. I learned from DREAM staff as well as DREAM participants. During my weekly site visits to the East Harlem and South Bronx sites, I was able to interact with the players. I began to slowly, but surely form bonds with the on-site staff members, as well as the participants and when my time was up at DREAM, it was hard to say goodbye. This summer, I made an important decision regarding my academic career at Tulane and future professional career. My unique experiences at DREAM had inspired to change majors from Political Science to Anthropology with an emphasis in Linguistics. I had originally planned to teach in New Orleans for at least several years before heading off to law school to study education policy. But

This summer, I made an important decision regarding my academic career at Tulane and future professional career. My unique experiences at DREAM had inspired to change majors from Political Science to Anthropology with an emphasis in Linguistics. I had originally planned to teach in New Orleans for at least several years before heading off to law school to study education policy. But because I had some incredible and insightful teachers for roommates, as well as my lessons at DREAM, I decided to pursue a career I was more passionate about. I am confident and motivated about my future. I want to study linguistics so that I am more equipped as an ESL certified teacher to serve my students.

Being located in East Harlem and providing programming South Bronx, two heavily diverse areas, I was able to learn more about productive and sustainable community engagement. Having learned these skills, I was able to transfer them to my work as an Ignite EXPLORE OC at Tulane. Ignite is an EXPLORE program that strives to connect first-year students the available resources here at Tulane, as well as people within our New Orleans community. During Ignite, we touch on various social justice issues in New Orleans while on our service and learning experiences. Because I had learned community engagement skills from DREAM, I was able to facilitate meaningful conversations and discussions with my participants and encourage them to pursue sustainable, impactful, and collaborative efforts with community partners. In Ignite, we heavily emphasized that participants should not be entering communities with the mindset that know what is best for the community and its residents, but instead they should enter these communities with the mindset that our community partners and the residents are the experts, and we must learn to listen before we attempt to provide help. This work not only catalyzes their leadership potential, but it also strengthens Tulane’s relationship with the New Orleans community.

As I had previously mentioned in my other blog posts, DREAM provides participants with 4 hours of social emotional learning (SEL) programming every week. This programming is critical for it does not reinforce the toxic patriarchal standards and stereotypes that are currently present in our society. This programming allows children to simply be children, but to also recognize the impact of their actions. SEL programming provides the necessary tool for healthy emotional development in impoverished areas. Some topics that were discussed in SEL programming was respecting regarding each other’s identities and gender stereotypes and how they can impact our identities. It is important to note that these conversations were not watered down conversations, but conversations that were designed for the age level that it was being delivered to. Examples of gender stereotypes and its effects were examples that rising 4th and 5th graders could understand. For instance, an example of a gender stereotype that was provided was if a player had told one of his teammates that they hit “like a girl.” The on-site social worker explored the various consequences of that term and by the end of the discussion, students were confident in their understanding of respect and the negative impact of gender stereotypes. Tackling these issues and conducting important dialogues such as the ones at DREAM ensure that we are raising a generation of inclusive members of society.

My advice to female-identifying individuals looking to pursue in the non-profit sector is to prepare yourself for the long journey ahead. Non-profit work is not easy work and often times, the change we would like to see does not occur in a timely manner. Be resilient, be a catalyst for change, and be unwavering. We are strong and we are leaders. Success is what YOU define it as and it is important to not place a monetary value on the work you may accomplish at non-profit organizations.