NYU Shanghai Students Pursue Internships in Nonprofits Around the World

Purple Banner saying "Summer Service Grant/ Social Impact Work"
Nov 6 2020

The COVID pandemic may have put the world’s  plans on hold, but it did not stop NYU Shanghai students from advancing their careers in public service last summer. Nine NYU Shanghai students received Summer Service Grants to support full-time (remote) internships with NGOs in seven countries.    

While all internships were at nonprofits, the type of organization varied greatly as did student’s responsibilities: from investigating technologies to prevent child trafficking to environmental research to protect rare animals in Pakistan to advocating for women’s rights in India, and running social media for a conflict resolution nonprofit in Texas. 


Fahreen's work remote station with her computer and mugFarheen Foad's remote work station 

While most nonprofit organizations hire summer interns and offer work and resume-building experience in key fields, most of these positions are unpaid.  Many students simply cannot afford not to make some money during the summer.  The Career Development Center launched the Summer Service Grant in 2017 to help make it easier to take these internships and has since funded dozens of students. “We’ve seen an increased interest in NYU Shanghai students developing their careers in the NGO area,” says Gu Yuwei, the CDC’s Career Engagement Program Manager. “The Grant provides support for these students to continue their unpaid internships, develop their passion and career in the not-for-profit sector, and act as global citizens to impact their neighborhood, community, and the world.” 

Here are a few of their stories: 

Damya Bhatia, ’23, Economics major, interned at Parvaah, an NGO based in New Delhi, India that works to empower women and promote environmental sustainability by retraining unemployed women laborers to make marketable handicrafts. “As the lockdown began in India, domestic violence against women drastically increased, given many women were staying home with abusive husbands or fathers instead of going to work or school,” Bhatia said. “I spent most of my internship at Parvaah interviewing artists and collaborating with their startups to help achieve the organization’s mission of women’s empowerment.”


Damya Bhatia sits at a desk working on her computer for her remote internship

Damya Bhatia '23

Farheen Foad ’22 a Social Science major at NYU Shanghai spent the summer at home, interning at Pakistan’s International Union for Conservation (IUCN), working on biodiversity and sustainability projects in Northern Pakistan. “This summer, I conducted independent research on the population distribution of the Himalayan Ibex and gained valuable experience with mapping software including QGIS and ArcGIS,” she said. “One day I hope to work as a civil servant in order to shape Pakistani sustainability and conservation policy.”

Farheen Foad ’22 sits outside, working on her computer for her remote internshipFarheen Foad '22

Tenielle Ellis ’22 a Social Science major focusing on International Relations, spent the summer at home in Honolulu, Hawaii while interning remotely for the Neriah Community Health Foundation, an organization in Haiti that provides medical care and preventative health education and builds  infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, and clinics for underprivileged communities. “As the youngest intern [at Neriah], I definitely learned a lot from my colleagues and supervisor. Being with a more experienced group, I strove to hold myself to a high standard while collaborating with my team to complete tasks.”

 Tenielle Ellis waves at the camera while working at her laptop from home

Tenielle Ellis '22

Angel Olvera ’22, a political science major at NYU Shanghai, is a two-time recipient of the Summer Service Grant. He spent this summer doing local community organizing in his hometown of Victoria, Texas at the Center for Peace Victoria, a nonprofit  that “aims to address conflict and injustice through community-level conversations and deliberations.” “I operated social media accounts, crafted monthly newsletters, created graphic designs for our events, directed junior interns, managed Zoom calls, led public events, and got people to show up! It was a lot of work, but it was really rewarding,” Olvera said.


Angel Olvera sits smiles at the camera with others in the backgroundAngel Olvera '22

The Summer Service Grant application opens every spring. The Career Development Center invites students to book career coaching appointments through Handshake to further explore careers in the nonprofit sector and encourages everyone to visit the I AM LIMITLESS Conference webpage to learn more about potential avenues for social impact. “We are so touched by those students’ stories and appreciate the positive impact they made for their communities,” says Guo Hao, Associate Director of the Career Development Center. “It’s a challenging time for everyone during the pandemic, but we are thrilled to see the resilience, commitment, creativity and adaptability from our students.” 

Other recipients of the 2020 Summer Service Grant included: 

Mehr Un Nisa ‘21, double major in Political Science and Interactive Media Arts, served as an intern at Red Crescent Pakistan on the Women’s Rights team. 

Ashley Zhu ‘21, Interactive Media Business major, was the Digital Media Intern at Globalteer, a UK-based nonprofit that works to connect global volunteers with communities in need. 

Isabella Cuellar ‘23, Business and Finance major, served as an intern for the Council of American Enterprises in Colombia. 

Alina Liliana Cedeno Arteaga ‘21, Business and Finance major, pursued an internship in Ecuador at Congregacion de Misioneras Sociales de la Iglesia, conducting a campaign to find food donations for 100 families in need. 

Cindy Li ‘22, a Interactive Media and Business major, pursued an internship at Media 4 Humanity in New York, where she conducted research on a project about child trafficking prevention methods. 


Learn more about the grant and hear from recipients in this short video