Spotlight: Summer 2023 Learning Life Interns

Learning Life’s interns do vital work responsible for the energy and growth of our organization.  This summer, their work included outreach to thousands of people on Facebook and Linkedin to help grow the Family Diplomacy Initiative (FDI) worldwide, and our Democracy Learning Community (DLC) in the Washington DC capital region; interviewing applicants worldwide for this year’s FDI training in July-October; research and writing to develop our DLC vision and action plan; research and outreach to develop our new program, Citizen Diplomacy International; and more.  Learning Life is very grateful for their dedicated work.  You can learn a little about each of them below.
Summer Anwer

Year, major, and school: I’m a junior majoring in international relations with a concentration in justice, ethics, and human rights at American University in Washington DC.
Hobbies: I love to crochet, paint, and read!  Right now I really like murder mysteries, but I read widely.  I also love spending time with friends and family.
Career aspirations: After graduating from American University with my bachelor’s degree, I want to go to law school, and eventually become an international human rights lawyer!
Why Learning Life?  Learning Life’s core mission and vision perfectly aligns with my passions and interests!  The non-profit shares my values of family and education as well as my academic and professional interest in diplomacy. It was incredibly formative to work with the Family Diplomacy Initiative to bring families’ voices into international policy-making as well as relevant to my academic studies!


April Coppedge-Calderon 
Year, major, and school: I graduated in May from Howard University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
Hobbies: I love to go running.  I just did a half marathon about a month ago.  I watch TV, particularly sitcoms, like New Girl, and Super Store.
Career aspirations: I would love to work in politics or to become a lawyer!  I’m not sure as yet what areas of politics and the law.
Why Learning Life?  I wanted to intern with Learning Life to gain better knowledge about what it’s like to work with a nonprofit. I also wanted to do work in international relations, so helping with the Family Diplomacy Initiative was insightful as it allowed me to learn foreign people’s different perspectives from their own mouths, not a textbook.


Ma’Shayla Hearns
Year, major, and school: I am a rising senior at Virginia Tech double majoring in sociology and criminology with a minor in peace studies and social justice.
Hobbies: I love arts and crafts whether that be drawing, painting, or crocheting. I also enjoy taking long peaceful walks especially on the many trails around the Blacksburg area in Virginia.
Career Aspirations: After completing my undergraduate studies, I would like to have a career working for one of the agencies of the federal government, ideally the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), or as a federal advocate for marginalized groups.
Why Learning Life? I joined Learning Life because I like how it targets the family as the place where democracy and diplomacy can be formed.  The Family Diplomacy Initiative allows for individuals within their families to be empowered to stand up for what they believe in and gain the tools they need to do so. I also enjoy the connections and collaborations that are made in an effort to spread democracy worldwide.


Diya Jaisankar

Year, major, and school: I am a rising sophomore majoring in International Affairs and minoring in Business Administration at American University.
Hobbies: My hobbies include playing tennis, playing the piano, and reading. I have been playing piano since I was five years old, and I was on the tennis team all throughout my high school years. I have always been an avid reader because I love being able to expand my perspective and fully immerse myself into someone else’s story.
Career aspirations: I have always been passionate about advocating for marginalized communities and I believe that this stemmed from witnessing the hardships my parents had to go through when immigrating to the United States. My goal is to give back to my community through government and public service. I want to go to law school and either delve into international law or immigration law.
Why Learning Life?  I chose learning life because I believe that learning about each other’s stories from all across the world has become more important than ever. People tend to only focus on their own lives or the lives of their loved ones, but Learning Life gives individuals the ability to look past their bubble and see all of the different lives that people have experienced around the world. Being able to speak to family diplomats from different countries has really opened my eyes to the joys and hardships that people have been through.

Eunjin Park

Year, major, and school: I am a Master’s student majoring in political science at American University in Washington, DC.

Hobbies: I enjoy digital drawing. I love to draw cartoons that tell stories from my travels and academic journeys.  The most recent digital story I did was a promotional video about a Christian camp I helped organize this summer.  This fall, I’m planning to create a video introducing All of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, a student club I founded at American University.  The video would introduce viewers to the issue of North-South Korea relations, democracy, human rights and peace by speaking with club students as well as North Korea experts and defectors.

Career aspirations: My vision is to contribute to the process of unification between North and South Korea, since there has been a truce, not real peace, between the Koreas over the last seventy years, since the Korean War.  I aspire to aid North Korean defectors, to dismantle the emotional barriers between the hearts of North and South Korea, and more broadly, to help refugees from conflicts and unstable or authoritarian regimes.

Why Learning Life?  Learning Life presents incredible ideas through citizen diplomacy and family diplomacy. By engaging with Learning Life, I’ve discovered the profound power of familial interconnectedness.  Researching, planning, and listening to the voices of families around the world has been a true pleasure for me.


Harrison Reinisch

Year, major, and school: I’m a rising sophomore at George Washington University. At the moment, I plan to double major in international affairs and Spanish.

Hobbies: I like to read, especially about psychology. I enjoy learning about human nature and the trends that shape the modern world.
Career aspirations: I hope to use my foreign language skills in my career. I’m especially interested in using foreign languages for international development.
Why Learning Life? I resonated with LL’s mission of “spreading learning in everyday life beyond school walls.” I also appreciated their goal to connect people across continents. Meeting people in different environments, often through the internet, has given me many valuable life experiences.


Kailee Sullivan

Year, major, and school: I am a rising junior at The University of North Carolina at Chapel-Hill majoring in Global Studies and Latin American Studies along with a minor in Social & Economic Justice.
Hobbies: I grew up playing competitive volleyball, both indoor and sand, which I still enjoy playing and watching when I can today. I love attending hip-hop concerts and festivals whenever I can. I also enjoy traveling, improving my Spanish, thrift store shopping, watching movies, and spending time with my two dogs at home.
Career aspirations: As most college students probably say, I am not completely sure what my future career will be. For the past few years, I have thought about getting an international affairs master’s degree and working in diplomacy. Recently, I have become more interested in attending law school after my undergraduate studies and pursing immigration law. I want to be able to consistently practice and improve my Spanish and work directly with people who I can help. Wherever my career takes me, I hope that I can use my education and privilege to create a more equitable society.

Why Learning Life? This summer I wanted the chance to work in the non-profit sector to see if it is a career that suited me. I learned a lot about the effort, collaboration, and sacrifices that everyone must put in to make these organizations work. I am very grateful for the experience I had to work with dedicated students from around the world who have similar interests and values. It was also so rewarding to talk with and hear the perspectives of families and individuals around the world.


Junlong Wang
Year, major, and school: I am a junior at the University of Southern California, majoring in international relations and minoring in management consulting.
Hobbies: In my spare time, I enjoys cooking Chinese hot pot meals and baking desserts, like Taro Bread, with friends. I also like hiking on mountain trails, and reading, especially detective novels.
Career aspirations: I was born and raised in China, and moved to the United States to study at the age of 16.  My experiences living in both countries has fostered a deep sense of community and belonging.  I’m passionate about bridging misunderstandings between people from different nations, particularly between China and the United States.  Consequently, I aspire to a career in public diplomacy to nurture interpersonal connections or to work at the United Nations, addressing conflicts at the governmental level. Alternatively, I would love to start my own nonprofit organization to advance the cause of citizen diplomacy, including student diplomacy.
Why Learning Life?  The concept of Learning Life – utilizing family as a medium to connect everyday people around the globe – is an innovative and compelling approach. This idea deeply resonated with me. Furthermore, I am eager to gain a deeper understanding of the work style within nonprofit organizations.