Summer 2020 Intern: Riley Gastin
Meet Summer 2020 intern Riley Gastin. Riley is interning in our communication department, focusing on the editorial side of things such as writing our blogs and helping to maintain our websites. She is a huge help to WHI as her work allows our professional staff to focus more energy on the projects on their plates! This is especially appreciated as so far 2020 has by no means been an uneventful and easy year. Riley originally was to work at our headquarters in Alexandria Virginia, due to social distancing and the ongoing threat of spreading COVID-19, Riley has been able to intern with us remotely. She has adapted with outstanding flexibility, determined to make the most of the situation while still staying safe at home. Keep reading to learn more about Riley!
How did you first get connected to WHI? What made you look into interning with us?
“World Hope International has a connection to my college, so one of my friends, who knew I was looking for a summer internship with an international development organisation, suggested I look into what they do. I immediately loved what WHI is all about and I knew I would be honoured to learn from their team! That’s when I was able to connect with Heather Hill and set up a summer internship.”
I am currently pursuing a BA in International Development and Communication from Houghton College and will be graduating in December of 2020.
Where I call home
I am…Loyal, Curious, Adpatable, and Dedicated
I was the first person on my dad’s side of the family to see the hills of Lebanon (from the Golan Heights in Israel) in over 100 years!
Some of my favorite things
Activities: Traveling, Thrifting & Photography
Food: Authentic tacos
City: Cape Town, South Africa
Out of the many types of projects WHI is involved in, which do you feel the most passionate about?
“One of my favorite things about WHI is that they work on so many projects that all connect in some way. I think that is really special to see that they do so many different types of projects and do it all so well. This summer I have been writing a lot of pieces related to WASH. This has been teaching me just how vital clean water is for any community, something I had not previously understood fully. The protection work that WHI does is also very close to my heart and is perhaps the most difficult work they do. I am excited to be writing some upcoming stories on that work, hopefully helping to spread the triumphs and share the challenges that come with protection work.”
What is your internship focused on and what have you been learning in that role so far?
“As an editorial intern I am focusing mainly on writing blogs, telling stories from the field, website design, and researching for future stories. One of my projects was actually putting together this intern series which has been a lot of fun to develop! One of the things I have been learning so far this summer is how interrelated a lot of WHI’s projects are. I think that working in the communication department is giving me insight into the innerworkings of WHI as I learn to use their voice in my storytelling, which ultimately displays their core values as an organization.”
What are you hoping to learn and accomplish this summer?
“For most of my undergrad I have been studying international development, but only in a classroom setting. That has prepared me to be able to understand this sector, but I really want to learn more about how a organisation actually runs, how different departments interact, and how at the end of the day they get the work done. So far, being in the communication department has helped me to see the big picture of the organisation, as well as learn what all goes into the details.”
How does this internship fit into your long-term or short-term career goals?
“Short-term it fulfills one of my last degree requirements for undergrad as it combines both of my majors in a very practical and valuable way. Long-term I would like to work for an organisation like WHI. I love their holistic approach to international development and I hope to continue learning from, and working with, similar organisations until I am one day experienced enough to be in a senior position at international development organisation.”
What challenges or growth have you experienced while interning remotely during the threat of COVID-19?
“At first, I was pretty bummed to not move to D.C. and be in the office with everyone. However, I have still been learning so much and I love having check-ins over Zoom with Heather and the other interns – which helps to keep us all connected. It can be difficult to stay motivated and focused when you live where you work as you don’t have that office environment to keep you focused, but I have been learning how to be adaptable and to learn how to keep myself motived and connected while working remotely.”