Internship Reflection - Ali Ali


The social movements and the pandemic during 2020 have highlighted the inequity in our country, making it very visible. The inequity can be seen on a large scale, which is in the educational system, economic level, healthcare system, and other areas. Many low-income and minority communities were disproportionately affected by the pandemic. We also saw police brutality and racism leading to several protests across the nation.

The year 2020 has been a transforming time for our country and it has also transformed me as a person.

Due to education access issues, I became more passionate about working to address the inequity we have in our community, especially at the educational level. Starting last June, I worked as an intern with an organization called Generation Next. We utilize data analysis and community engagement to identify what works and replicate the most promising practices. Specifically, I was tasked with working on a postsecondary project focusing on graduation and retention rates in the Minneapolis and Saint Paul area. I worked on making data that illustrates the inequity and researched recommendations that could increase persistence in postsecondary education. I learned that it is challenging trying to make system changes, but with time and commitment, it will have a positive impact in the long run. Overall, it has been an enriching and rewarding experience working with Generation Next.

First and foremost, I would like to thank Jeremiah Ellis for his guidance and help with the internship. Second, I would like to thank Joe Munnich, Michelle J. Walker-Davis, and Molly Barrett for providing me with the opportunity to work with them and support through my internship experience. I would also like to congratulate Michelle on her new job and best wishes for the future. Finally, I greatly appreciate the support from the Generation team and making my internship a rewarding experience. 

My internship with Generation Next has not only increased my awareness of the inequity of the education system, but it has also transformed me to take action in making system change.

I plan to use my rich experience to work with others in the future and make a positive contribution to ensure students can thrive in the education system. My internship and the events of 2020 have expanded upon my experience of being an informed scholar. As a scholar, I believe I have a responsibility to work with diverse groups of people in our communities in order to solve the issues of inequity.