top of page

Suivez les actualités de Konexio

Blog

Internship Insights from Madeline and Mara


This summer, Konexio welcomed Madeline and Mara to the International Development Team as our interns! Both Madeline and Mara are pursuing master’s degrees at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). At Konexio, they got a close look into the world of NGOs working to bridge the digital skills gap for underserved communities. 


We sat down with Madeline and Mara to discuss their journey, favorite projects, and reflections on the meaningful impact of Konexio's work. Madeline’s and Mara’s interview has been lightly edited for clarity and accuracy. 


Q1: Tell us a little about your background – what was your journey before Konexio?


Madeline: I graduated in 2018, so I worked for a bit both abroad and in my home state of California before starting grad school at the [Johns Hopkins University] SAIS Europe center in 2022. I knew I wanted to spend the summer working for an International Development organization, and saw this opportunity with Konexio. Its focus on bridging the digital divide through education really resonated with me, especially considering the work I've done in the past.


Mara:  I graduated undergrad in 2020 and applied straight to grad school, but then I deferred because I was selected for a Fulbright. I went to Taiwan for 18 months and I taught English. I was really intrigued by Konexio because I'm interested in working at the nexus of education and refugees and migrants. Before this, I spent a summer in Greece at the height of the Syrian exodus working as a translator at a medical clinic in Athens. This piqued my interest in migration and refugee issues.




Q2: What has been your favorite project during your summer internship? 


Madeline: One of my favorite projects was working on the annual report. This involved tasks like copy editing, French to English translation, and making sure that the narrative flowed smoothly. I really enjoyed getting to read about everything Konexio accomplished last year, and I especially enjoyed editing the student testimonials – it was rewarding to read about how Konexio has transformed their future intentions and their career paths, and to see the niche Konexio is able to fill. Konexio does a good job blending technical studies with networking opportunities to empower people who need it the most.


Mara: I've really enjoyed learning about curriculum development more broadly this summer. It was cool to compare the French program's approach, as Konexio is a French-based organization, with what we’re building on the international team. This led to a lot of translation work and understanding the skills being taught on the ground. Specifically in terms of projects, I liked working on the learner pathways – I've reworked a couple decks, I've developed different exercises for skills like graphic design, and made sure the program flowed from beginner to intermediate to advanced. It was eye-opening to see the practical application of skills acquired in the classroom.



Q3: What part of the Konexio mission do you most resonate with?


Madeline: There's a phrase that's not explicitly in the mission but gets mentioned a lot here: "Talent is equally distributed, opportunity is not." This really hits home for me. Konexio's role in international development is about offering opportunities to those who haven't had them and making sure they're prepared for those chances through upskilling. I think that that's a very powerful mission, and Konexio constantly tries to expand its impact through innovation, updating its programs, and connecting with corporate partners.


Mara: I was going to say exactly the same thing. When I talk about this role to others, it's that aspect that stands out for me. Konexio's commitment to equipping communities with tools for their future careers is incredibly powerful. I think that – like Maddie said – it is a super powerful part of the mission because it allows people to access longer lasting skills that they can take into the future. Education as a livelihood intervention is really important for this reason – it goes a lot further than just throwing money at the problem, and I think that the skills Konexio teaches are something students can benefit from for the rest of their lives. 



Q4: Do you have any tips for remote working?


Madeline: Personally, I found it helpful to switch up my workspace during the day. In my current apartment, I have a bed, desk, and couch, so I move around to try and get a different sense of things. This would be a little harder if I had a monitor [laughs], so if you can’t move workspaces then I would at least suggest getting up and standing and stretching. 


Mara: I think a big part of remote work that people don't realize is that while its convenient, you also lose the sense of camaraderie and socialization that comes with being in a workplace. But I think that Konexio, or at least the international team, has done a great job with making sure that we keep up the team spirit. For example, as interns we have a point person, and there are so many people readily available to answer questions on slack or hop on a quick Meets call. I think that this kind of communication is the biggest tip I have for remote work; it's important to make sure that you are communicating often – even too much – so you know that you're making project deadlines and that you’re always on task. 



Q5: What are your hobbies outside of work? 


Madeline: I love to cook! That's my favorite my number one hobby. Sometimes I bake, but I am a way better cook. And since I have been in Amsterdam this month, my new hobby is biking. I go all the time and its very fun to pass by all the windmills here. It’s a great opportunity to clear my head after full day of work. Other than that I just like walking around, exploring new neighborhoods, trying new foods, and those types of things.


Mara: My number one hobby is traveling, if it counts. I love exploring new places, which is why I love living abroad. I love meeting new people, learning new languages, and all that comes with exploring a new place. But on a more day-to-day basis I love reading for pleasure. It's hard to do this when you're in school, but when I can, I just feel so much joy. Since moving to Paris, I have also really been into walking; I’ve rarely taken the metro or any form of public transportation. Walking places gives me time to listen to my podcasts or my music and just clear my head a bit. 



Q6: Where’s the next place on your travel bucket list and why?


Madeline: I really want to go to Mexico City. I've now done my year in Europe and its be so fun and fulfilling and I have gotten to see a lot of new places, but I’m now feeling anxious to travel another region of the world. 


Mara: Next on my list is definitely South America. I hope next summer after we graduate I can take a trip. I've never been, and I want to see all these places I’ve read about. I know this is a little bit broad but I honestly do want to see all of it!



Q7: What are your plans after this internship? 


Madeline: I am going home for a little less than a month. Then Mara and I will be moving to DC for our final year at SAIS.


Mara: Similar to Maddie, I'm going home for a bit before heading to DC, where I will be staying for the next year. Next summer, I hope to travel, or maybe I’ll return to work [laughs]!

0 views0 comments

Comments


Apprenticeship tax: Donate your apprenticeship tax to Konexio

bottom of page