UConn Intern to Aid CTUCC in Justice Work

by Grace O'Connor


Debby Kirk, Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, will be overseeing the work of CTUCC's new intern, Grace O'Connor. Debby has this to say: " We are delighted to welcome Grace O’Connor as an intern for the spring semester. Grace brings a variety of gifts and she will augment our advocacy work by assisting with research, coalition building, communications, and administrative support.  Grace will work closely with Michele Mudrick, our CTUCC Legislative Advocate and Pam Arifian, Director of the Northeast Regional Environmental Justice Center at Silver Lake. This partnership is not only consistent with our commitment to nurture young leaders, but also gives us the opportunity to expand our justice impact."

By Grace O'Connor
I am a senior at UConn pursuing my bachelor’s degree in Urban and Community Studies, with minors in English and Geography.   
For my final semester at UConn, I have the privilege to be part of a program called Urban Semester, which allows students to intern at a site in Hartford for university credit in order to gain experience through fieldwork and learn outside of a traditional classroom setting.  Students intern three and a half days a week and attend classes twice a week, which accompany the program with discussions of urban problems and learning in relation to our experiences in the city.  Many Urban Semester students live in Hartford during the program, and those who choose not to do so reside in nearby towns, such as East or West Hartford.  I am personally living in West Hartford, where I have been a lifelong resident. 
Throughout the first week of this semester, I toured a total of eleven sites at which I, along with the ten other students in the program, had the opportunity to intern.  Each of us selected an agency based on our personal interests and goals, and for me, that was the Connecticut Conference. 
At my tour of CTUCC, two phrases quickly caught my attention: “interdependence” and “social justice”.  Social justice is deeply important to me, as encounters with any form of injustice have moved me to make change for as long as I can remember.  This is what drew me to the Urban and Community Studies major at my school.  I strive towards a career in which I can help under-served populations, and I feel CTUCC offers a valuable experience in this endeavor.  The interdependence approach is something I stand behind as well, because I believe that the most effective solution the problems of our society lies in working together, especially across boundaries that could potentially separate us. 
I am deeply thankful for the opportunity to intern with Connecticut Conference, and I look forward to experiencing the coming semester. 

Grace O'Connor

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