Class Year: 2016
Major: Political Science
What’s happening? We’d love to hear how your internship is going! I’m in the heart of French Canada, Quebec City, interning at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation and Social Integration, working closely with researchers and attempting to learn French. I’ve spent a lot of time studying disability and human rights theories, and learning the center’s conceptual model for understanding disability, called The Disability Creation Process (DCP), which defines disability not as impairment in a person, but rather as a person’s interaction with an environment which allows or hinders a person’s social participation and exercise of human rights. Basically: a person in a wheelchair is disabled when facing a flight of stairs but not disabled when a ramp is available. This is a really important rights-based shift in perspective, because it takes the responsibility of disability off the person and places it on society, which effectively forces society to be inclusive. Now I’m moving on to policy and legal analysis to help assess the US legal framework to see how the UN’s Convention on the Rights of Disabled Persons could potentially be implemented using the DCP as an analytical tool.
It sounds a bit dry I’m sure, and, well, it is, but I enjoy it! My internship doesn’t require me to be in the office often, and I spend much of my time poring over readings in cafes (where the baristas are annoyed by my English), or over bowls of strawberries on the porch.
Why I applied for my internship: I came to Bryn Mawr because I’m passionate about human rights and politics, and after a single political science course discovered an almost embarrassing passion for political theory. I plan to work for a human rights-based nonprofit post-graduation, and interning at CIRRIS was a really exciting way to study and apply human rights theory at the same time, doing the work that informs nonprofits, government agencies, and activists alike, while also getting a glimpse into life as a researcher (another potential profession for my field). I was really lucky to find such an amazing opportunity