Opening a world of opportunities
Last summer, Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies student Shiva Mazrouei-Seidani travelled to Eastern Uganda to work with Children of Bududa, a child-sponsorship program. “My job consisted of visiting the children’s homes, assessing their living situations and making suggestions for improvements,” Mazrouei-Seidani says.
Launched in 2002, the Arts Internship Program allowed over 200 students to work with organizations in their fields of study in 47 countries and on four continents last year alone. Many of those internships, Mazrouei-Seidani’s among them, were made possible by philanthropy.
“I was itching to go to Uganda and to learn what it is to work with a small, non-profit organization,” Mazrouei-Seidani says. Those ambitions matched the mandate of the David Tarr and Gisele Chèvrefils Arts Internship Award, which put her on the path to fulfilling them.
Tarr, BA’61, and Chèvrefils, CertMgmt’95, CertAcctg’95, whose generosity established the award, have long been impressed by the students the internships draw. “We’ve been consistently inspired by the brightness, energy, enthusiasm and adventurousness of the young people we’ve met through the program and their interest in making a better world,” Tarr says.
Much like Mazrouei-Seidani, Political Science student Janina Grabs, BA’12, was able to elevate her interest in international politics thanks to an internship at the German Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva. The unique experience was made possible through the Hon. Paul & Yvonne Casey Arts Internship Award, established by Garvin Brown, BA’91, in honour of his grandparents.
“By supplementing the Award with some money I saved and some help from my family, I was able to spend 10 weeks at the heart of international politics, where I see my future, instead of being obliged to accept another job in order to earn money,” she says.
The support donors offer interning students cannot be overstated. “Since the start of Campaign McGill in 2007, nearly 400 students have received close to $750,000 in funding through the Arts Internship Program, with the Annual Fund playing a critical role in sustaining this initiative from year to year,” says Christopher Manfredi, Dean of the Faculty of Arts.
Mazrouei-Seidani’s time in Uganda is proof of the program’s power. “The internship gave me a much stronger connection to what I am studying and exactly why I am studying it,” she says. “It further fuelled my passion for helping others, because it put faces, names and stories to the situations I hope to help with in my future career.”