Summer Centered: Sophia Kaplan '23 Learns about Inner Workings of Nonprofits
The political science and religion double major is a human resources intern at Facing History and Ourselves.
This summer, Sophia Kaplan ’23 is working as a human resources intern at Facing History and Ourselves, or FHAO. The nonprofit provides curriculum, resources, and training to help educators teach about moments of racism, antisemitism, and prejudice in history to inspire students to stand up against harmful structures in their present-day lives. Her internship is sponsored by the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship.
Kaplan found out about FHAO during an event her first year at which students presented the work they had done over the previous summer.
“One such poster focused on a student’s–Soha Saghir ‘21–experience at FHAO the past summer, and I immediately found myself interested in her experience and the organization's overarching mission,” she said. “Therefore, when given the chance to pursue such an opportunity myself, I took it, applying with the hopes that I would be able to gain experience within the nonprofit realm at an organization whose work aligns with my personal values and beliefs.”
One of the political science and religion double major’s projects has involved working with the director of talent acquisition to create a clear title structure chart. This increases the organization’s transparency so that employees can easily see and understand each job title's duties, qualifications, and salary ranges. The project has allowed her to understand the inner workings of a large nonprofit organization. (FHAO has about 190 employees.)
“I have gained a comprehensive understanding of how people come to work and advance in the nonprofit sector,” she said. “It is particularly interesting observing the patterns of employment at FHAO, specifically in reviewing many peoples’ transition from teaching to nonprofit work.”
At weekly meetings with the other interns, Kaplan has also been able to learn about different community organizing, teaching, and social justice careers from FHAO staff members.
“Once a week, the interns gather to hear different staff members talk about how they ended up working at FHAO, whether they come from community organizing, teaching, or social justice work backgrounds,” she said. “Listening to, chatting with, and having the opportunity to ask these people questions is wonderful and has helped to clarify what type of work I want to do post-graduation.”
And that work, says Kaplan, might be in the field of education.
“As of late, I have been wrestling with what I want to pursue after college, and talking to folks at FHAO has allowed me to entertain going into teaching seriously for the first time,” she said. “The work that the organization does in building curriculum and teaching educators how to teach about the oft-forgotten lessons of history provides me with a model of how I would potentially want to lead a classroom.”
“Summer Centered” is a series exploring our students’ campus-supported summer work.