Spotlight: Fall 2022 Learning Life Interns

Learning Life’s interns do vital work responsible for the energy and growth of our organization.  This fall, 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; management, video production and impact evaluation for our first annual training of family diplomats; fundraising research and outreach; plus poster design and social media communications.  Learning Life is very grateful for their dedicated work.  You can learn a little about each of them below.

Janice Dias

Year, major, and school: I graduated from the University of the District of Columbia with a Bachelor’s in Political Science in August 2021.

Hobbies: In 2021, I started running, and I fell in love with it. I run at least three times a week. One of my goals is to run a marathon. I love to travel, especially exploring the USA, because I am not originally from here, and it is always nice to visit places I’ve only seen on TV growing up.  I also love reading fiction books.  One of my favorite authors is Jenny Han. Her stories are always captivating.

Career aspirations: I am multi-passionate. I want to do almost everything in my lifetime, but there are two things I know for sure I will do.  First, I want to have a non-profit one day focusing on education. My target audience will be low-income individuals of all ages and backgrounds. Second, I want to have a successful business in the beauty and fitness industry.  I am a certified body sculpting technician, and a Permanent MakeUp (PMU) Artist. I plan on expanding my business to offer courses about my services.

Why Learning Life?  I chose Learning Life because it focuses on democracy, diplomacy, and education on national and international levels.  Before I joined, I read about Learning Life’s projects, like the Family Diplomacy Initiative.  It caught my attention because it brings people worldwide together to share their cultures, some of their personal stories, and the hardships their countries are facing. The media overlooks some of these issues, but when you have someone in the Learning Life family diplomacy community facing it, and divulging it to you, it motivates you more to advocate for and support them, even if they are thousands of miles from you.  These are circumstances that make us citizen diplomats without our noticing.

Yasmina El Argoubi

Year, major, and school: I am a School of Foreign Service student majoring in international economics with a minor in government and philosophy at Georgetown University in Qatar.
Hobbies: I love meeting new people from different cultures, playing board games, and going for long walks by the beach or in a forest. I also enjoy drawing and painting.
Career aspirations: I aspire to work for the cause of women and underprivileged minorities on an international scale. I plan to explore a variety of fields with the main cause to help and support people.  I have been looking into financial education as a form of activism as well and I hope to grow more in that field.
Why Learning Life? I chose Learning Life because of its programs. Bringing together an international community and recruiting family diplomats is such a unique approach for advocacy. I loved the online learning opportunity which transcends physical limits to reach a broader population, and hence, to have a broader impact.

Allison Hechmer

Year, major, and school: Senior/ C/O 2023, International Relations and Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Studies, Boston University
Hobbies: When I’m not in school, you can usually find me traveling! I love venturing abroad and having the opportunity to explore different cultures, try new foods, and meet new people. I just spent my summer studying abroad in London and even got to visit Scotland, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland while in Europe.  During the school year though, I enjoy spending time with friends in Boston and trying out new restaurants around the city.
Career aspirations: At this moment in time, I am not entirely sure what I want to do professionally. I have a strong passion for humanitarian work though, and I hope to pursue some sort of career helping vulnerable populations abroad. I am also very interested in migrant and refugee patterns and plan to devote part of my career to championing migrant rights.
Why Learning Life? I discovered Learning Life through a peer of mine. As a student studying international relations, I understand the power of diplomacy. When people can effectively communicate with one another and lobby for their needs, they can create meaningful change. Unfortunately, globally, many people do not have the capacity to speak up for themselves and their families. Learning Life helps address this issue and is working to ensure people around the world have a voice in global and domestic affairs. I am excited to be a part of Learning Life’s work in training and empowering family diplomats!
Chanel Leonard
Year, major, and school: I am a second year Masters of Public Administration and International Education Management candidate at Middlebury Institute of International Studies.
Hobbies: I enjoy watching psychological thriller movies. Outdoors wise, I love roller skating and hiking trails in Northern California. I love to hang out with my family and friends and find new Thai and Italian restaurants.
Career aspirations: I am interested in education policy. I hope to begin working as a program analyst or program manager for an education development organization. My goal is to design and implement equitable opportunities for minorities and disadvantaged communities through education policy.
Why Learning Life?  I chose Learning Life because of my interest in education and providing resources and opportunities to marginalized communities. I found empowering their goal to provide a platform to individuals and families who had previously not realized the power of sharing their experiences. Through this internship, I was also granted the opportunity to learn about how family storytelling and citizen diplomacy can be linked.
Sarah McInnis

Year, major, and school: I am a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studying Psychology, Spanish for the Professions, and Speech and Hearing Sciences. 

Hobbies: I enjoy spending time with friends and family, playing tennis, trying out new workout classes, live music, traveling, going to the farmer’s market, and cooking!

Career aspirations: I am looking to work in a career in which I can make a difference in someone’s life. As of right now, I feel pulled in multiple directions as to what this could look like (i.e., lawyer, speech pathologist). Whatever my career will look like, I hope to utilize my Spanish language skills.

Why Learning Life?  In the spring of 2022, I had the opportunity to live with a host family and study at the University of Deusto for a semester in Bilbao, Spain. During this time, I was able to travel throughout Europe, experience different cultures, and see what people’s lives look like outside of the U.S. It was extremely eye-opening and inspired me to look into an organization that fosters positive growth throughout the world. I began looking for internships in the realm of international affairs and stumbled upon Learning Life. I was instantly drawn to this nonprofit because I knew that by being a part of Learning Life, I would be making a difference in people’s lives across the world. It has been very inspiring to be a part of this team, and I have benefitted from being an intern immensely.

Anya Neumeister

Year, major, and school: I am a junior at Davidson College majoring in Political Science and Hispanic Studies on the Pre-Law track. 

Hobbies: I absolutely love puzzles of any kind – jigsaw, logic, wooden, and Sudoku. My house has a designated puzzle table, so there is almost always something to work on. I am also an avid coffee drinker and enjoy finding new coffee shops to try. 

Career aspirations: After completing my undergraduate education, I hope to go directly to law school. I am not exactly sure what type of law I want to study, but I imagine it will be either Constitutional, immigration, or civil rights law. 

Why Learning Life? I was immediately drawn to Learning Life’s goal of working toward building a more caring world through the efforts of families.  I love the idea that ordinary people can serve as diplomats and be the force working toward peace.  I was also excited about the international online platform that allows people across the world to be exposed to a wide array of issues.

Edward Taylor

Year, major, and school: I am a graduating senior at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. I am majoring in political science, with a minor in history.

Hobbies:  In my free time, I enjoy reading, writing, watching movies, weight lifting, dancing, and video editing.  I am also passionate about helping my community.  Every other Sunday I help run a video fighting game tournament in McClean, Virginia, a portion of fees from which benefit local charities.
Career aspirations:  I want to work in the field of public policy by either helping draft key legislation that can improve the lives of Americans, or working as a political consultant for a private company.  One day I would like to write novels for a living, and maybe even help write stories for movies and video games.
Why Learning Life?  Learning Life was an opportunity recommended to me by a political science professor at my university. After further research into the organization it seemed similar to much of the volunteer work I’ve done previously.  I am passionate about finding ways to improve the lives of people not just locally but abroad as well, and I believe my mission and Learning life’s mission are identical in that regard.