Our Perspective: Interning and Volunteering at LGBTQ Victory Institute

Hi everyone! My name is Karolina Viera (she/her), and I am the 2021 summer Leadership Programs Intern. I have managed several projects for the Victory team, including writing blog posts, updating information on presidential appointees, and creating an outreach program for the upcoming regional conference, which you can register for here 

Hello all! My name is Hannah Baskin (she/her), and I am a volunteer for the Leadership Programs team. I have worked on tasks with Karolina to further Victory’s mission, and through this article, we would like to give you some insight into what it is like to support Victory. 

What has it been like to start an internship during a pandemic? 

Hannah: Since I am not in the D.C. area, it was exciting to still have this opportunity and become part of the Victory family without relocating. Being remote has been difficult for everyone, but I think it may have been the only way for me to have volunteered from any location. However, by being remote, I didn’t get the office feel, and my interactions felt less personal. 

Karolina: It can be difficult if you don’t properly pace yourself with your tasks and daily life activities. During my internship, I also managed summer classes and worked as a tutor, so my first week focused on developing an organizational system. If I was not a remote intern, I don’t think I would have had enough time to complete all my tasks. So, like Hannah, being remote can be convenient, but one definitely misses out on the office interactions that help build professional relationships. 

 What has been your favorite part about the internship? 

Karolina: One of my favorite parts about the internship has been focusing on the work that no one else is doing. I was fascinated to learn about all the effort Victory puts into accurately defining LGBTQ+ representation. Analyzing the Trump Administration’s LGBT representation was one of my favorite tasks because it demonstrated that the work Victory must complete is far from over. It’s inspiring to see Victory become resilient to barriers and made me proud to be part of the organization. 

Hannah: I enjoyed writing blog posts because it was a rewarding experience. I saw my writing improve and transition away from the type of writing that is encouraged in school. Additionally, I appreciated that there was always a variety of tasks to complete, and the assignments always provided insight into Victory’s work. It was interesting to learn about how the organization supports candidates and encourages leaders to make a change. 

What is something valuable you’ve learned from your experiences at Victory Institute? 

Hannah & Karolina: 

The value of communication. How you speak and present yourself plays a defining role in what you make out of your internship or volunteer shift. We focused a lot on blog posts, and since most of our experiences writing have been in a more formal setting, it was exciting to be able to express our own opinions in a way that could be relatable.  Additionally, a lesson that we will apply in future internships is to not just work for others but also work oneself to get the most out of one’s internship.  

 What advice would you give future remote interns, shadows or volunteers? 

Hannah: Be reflective! After completing tasks and engaging in conversations, try to understand the purpose of these moments. Why are you volunteering at Victory? What are you hoping to learn? These are questions that always guide me towards maintaining my goals and setting future expectations for what I would like to do in the future. In the same way that you ask yourself these reflection questions, don’t be afraid to ask anyone on your team for help! 

Karolina: Self-reflection is a huge part of what being an intern is. The most significant piece of advice that I can give interns is to be intentional throughout the internship. If there’s someone you want to meet with, a project you want to be part of, or a topic you want to write about, ask! Be vocal about what you want, and the team will make sure you can develop your interests. 

Fellows & Interns