Krina Patel is a rising senior at Virginia Commonwealth University who will be graduating with a joint major in political science and international social justice, as well as a minor in global health. After graduation, she plans to conduct research and work abroad in international development, focusing on issues of human rights and social justice.
Describe some of your previous experience working with human rights issues. What sorts of issues are of the most importance to you?
Since I am planning to work in international development, the issues that are most important to me are those that have the widest social justice implications and the deepest impact on the world's poor. Prior to arriving at Human Rights USA, I studied abroad in Central America and the Caribbean, where I worked with development NGOs on many such issues including corporate accountability, political repression, access to education and healthcare, and the cultural survival of indigenous peoples. Back at school in Richmond, VA, I've worked with a local nonprofit that fights human trafficking in the U.S. and abroad.
What have you learned from interning with Human Rights USA this summer?
I've learned so much! In previous internships, I had used social media for promoting awareness and advocacy; at Human Rights USA however, I learned to use social media to strategically market an expanding organization. I've sharpened my writing skills by drafting stories for our newsletters, publishing blog posts, and writing fundraising appeals and letters for our individual donors, and have also learned a lot about impact litigation and about legal advocacy in general. Next week, I'll be drafting my first press release and will also be attending a grant-writing workshop. I had always wanted to learn these valuable skills, especially since I know I'll use them in my future career!
What is one of your favorite moments from working with Human Rights USA this summer?
I really enjoyed attending human rights events around DC, on behalf of Human Rights USA. For example, I got to attend part of the Human Rights on the Hill event at UDC's School of Law, where I got the chance to listen to panels comprised of human rights leaders representing organizations around the world. Our executive director, Theresa Harris, always encouraged us to attend these events; they helped me better understand Human Rights USA's crucial niche in the human rights world, while allowing me to remain cognizant of the "bigger picture".