A Human Rights Intern’s Workday: Career Development & Writing for Social Media, by Emma Christman (A23)

by MH
Aug 19

This summer I am working remotely as an intern at the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH). IJDH interns support the organization in its mission to advocate for human rights in Haiti. Since I began my internship over a month ago, I have been able to take on more responsibility and to devote my time to a greater variety of projects.

I have been focusing much of my workday on social media in recent weeks. Like other nonprofit advocacy organizations that rely on a large community to collaborate and fundraise, IJDH has an active social media presence. Drafting posts for Twitter and LinkedIn has become a part of my daily routine as an intern. However, social media work has proven to be much more challenging and nuanced than I would have expected before! When I write content for Twitter, I am balancing a number of factors: the message I aim to convey, current events and trends, the audience the message is intended for, all within the strict confines of the 280 character limit.

Similarly, on LinkedIn I must consider the academic and professional tone of the platform when choosing my words. Navigating the nuances of writing for social media has certainly helped me improve my communication skills and I look forward to continuing this work.

My internship at IJDH has also allowed me many opportunities for professional development. Every few weeks, the organization hosts “brown bag lunches” where industry professionals come and speak to the undergraduate and legal interns in a relaxed setting. So far, the speakers have included an IJDH Senior Staff Attorney and a Bertha Justice Fellow from the IJDH team, as well as an outside attorney whose work focused on environmental law. Hearing these guests share stories from their educational and professional experiences has been invaluable in helping me understand the steps they went through along the way to their current jobs. As I continue to reflect on the kind of work I want to do in the future, I feel reassured that it is common to take a winding path rather than a direct one.

As the summer continues, I am now halfway through my internship with IJDH. In my short time in this position, I feel that I have already learned a great deal about what it means to work in the human rights field on a day-to-day basis. I am developing concrete skills through my writing for social media and my networking with interesting professionals in the field. As I consider my future career path and May 2023 graduation looms, I feel confident that the experiences I am building at IJDH will help me chart my course.


Photo courtesy Steve Bennett/UncommonCaribbean.com (source)