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2018 Summer Interns

The Schull Yang International Experience Award, supported by Joseph Schull (BA ‘82, MA ’85) and Anna Yang (BCL, LLB ’88), helps undergraduate and graduate students gain first hand international experience related to their fields of study. The award provides full or partial funding to assist students with tuition, travel, and other expenses related to their international experience. The Schull Yang International Experience Award is part of the McGill International Experience Awards. For more information, click here.

The Internship Offices Network is pleased to announce the selected McGill students for the 2018 summer internship at the United Nations World Food Programme in Panama, and the recipient of the Schull Yang International Experience Award, Zuleyma Caparo-Escalante, and the recipient of the McGill Undergraduate Internship Fund, Nassim Pezeshkzad.

Zuleyma Caparo-Escalante, BA Political Science

Zuleyma is a second-year McGill undergraduate student majoring in political science with a minor concentration in economics. Her interest in Human Rights and social development has driven her to pursue an internship at the United Nations World Food Programme regional office in Panama. She will be assisting the Communications and Knowledge department, where she is excited to learn about humanitarian work on the field and the policies, objective and strategies the organization employs.

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I had the opportunity to work at the World Food Programme regional office of Latin America and the Caribbean this summer, and gained the valuable experience of working for a non-profit organization specializing in livelihood resilience and crisis responses. These were rewarding and fulfilling months which I couldn't have lived without the McGill International Experience Award. Therefore, I would like to give my sincerest gratitude to Ms. Anna Yang and Mr. Joseph Schull for allowing me to grow professionally by funding this opportunity.

I took part in this internship to learn about the World Food Programme and its operations in Latin America. As a Political Science major, I am interested in non-profit work in the humanitarian field. I found this to be a good opportunity to explore how a United Nations agency provides relief to communities in need, and to expand my horizon on the types of careers available in international development. This was also a great international experience for myself to fulfill a personal goal and learn how to adjust in an unfamiliar living and working environment.

The World Food Programme is a UN humanitarian agency with a mission to end world hunger. Through sustainable development programmes, emergency relief and advocacy, WFP works to accomplish the Sustainable Development Goal 2 and 17 on Zero Hunger and creating Global Partnerships, respectively. This entails providing food assistance, the tools to build resilience, improve nutrition, and collaborating with governments and the private sector.

I worked in the Communications and Knowledge Management Unit, where advocacy and dissemination of information are the main functions. My duties entailed translating documents, articles and videos from/to Spanish, English and/or French. I prepared social media posts, social media analytics, and revised the website translation. Lastly, I designed graphic design material to be distributed to beneficiaries and for social media purposes.  

During the internship, an important project and highlight of my experience was taking part in the recreation of a campaign called #CeroDesperdicio. This included the creation of a stop motion video to encourage the reduction of food waste in the region. Our co-workers were very supportive and thrilled to see new material being made by interns. The work environment was lively and friendly, which made every day enjoyable. I could speak with various staff from different backgrounds about their own experience before they started working at the UN, and received valuable advice. Overall, my objective was to understand how WFP operates as a UN organization. My focus was on the types of programmes that were implemented, and how crises were addressed. I now understand how these impact the lives of many, not only in terms of nutrition, but also female and community empowerment.

This international experience has encouraged me to look for bigger opportunities. It's given me a wider vision on the different paths possible before obtaining a career. What I have learned during the internship has gone beyond what I've learned in the classroom, and it has opened my eyes to challenges felt in Latin America that we are often unaware about. I would like to thank again the donors for the award which was able to cover my housing, transportation and other living expenses, and has made this experience possible.

Zuleyma preparing an arts and crafts presentation at a Social and Behavior Change Communication staff regional workshop for the Communications and Programmes department.


Nassim Pezeshkzad, BSc Food Science and Nutritional Science

Nassim is a third year student at McGill University currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in global nutrition. She will be an intern at the United Nations World Food Programme’s regional office in Panama. Her main interest in learning from the Communications and Knowledge Management Unit of the WFP lies in her passion for nutrition combined with a desire to effectively implement sustainable projects related to food security. She is eager to learn more about the United Nations’ development programs in Latin America and hopes that with her academic education in food and nutrition she can contribute to the work of the WFP. She is positive that this will be an enriching experience to solidify her theoretical education in nutrition.

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From May to July 2018, I had the wonderful opportunity of interning at the United Nations World Food Programme, Regional Bureau of Panama. This experience was made possible due to the generous donation of the McGill Undergraduate Internship Fund. I am grateful for this contribution, as the experience has enabled me to bridge my academic studies with real-world professional requirements, and helped me develop new skills as well as broadened my way of thinking.

As a global nutrition student, I have been interested in learning more about the development efforts in the area of nutrition and food security in organizations like the World Food Programme. Thus, I decided to pursue this internship opportunity as the World Food Programme has a unique role as the world's biggest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and ensuring food security. My hope was to better understand the work of WFP as a whole and learn what makes this organization so unique. My curiosity on the efforts by WFP was being satisfied as I learned about their work in various communities in Latin America and the Caribbean, and it increased my critical-thinking in efforts aimed at developing communities and strengthening their resilience.

As you may know, the United Nations World Food Programme focuses its efforts on the most vulnerable communities to provide food assistance in emergencies, as well as help strengthen their resilience when faced with environmental stressors and ensure they are prepared in the event of a future crisis. The work of the World Food Programme revolves around the objectives of Goal 2 (Zero Hunger) of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, which aims to end hunger, ensure food security, promote sustainable agriculture, and improve nutrition by 2030.

My internship in the Communications and Knowledge Management Office at the World Food Programme entailed providing social media analytics, translating documents and press releases from English to Spanish and vice versa, editing and subtitling videos for internal and external use, designing pamphlets and posters for distribution in vulnerable Caribbean communities, creating material for social media posts, and starting a social media campaign aimed at reducing food waste, “CeroDesperdicio”. One of the main highlights of my time interning was listening to the stories of the beneficiaries and learning how the development programs of WFP are changing their communities for the better, not only in terms of health benefits but also on their social impact. Another highlight was the process of creating a stop-motion campaign video for “CeroDesperdicio”, because although it was a demanding task that required many aspects to be considered for its success, the process strengthened teamwork dynamics and challenged my creativity.

My academic background in nutrition helped me understand certain aspects of the work that WFP is doing in many Latin American countries. For example, it enabled me to appreciate the cooking programs being done in Peru as an effort to eradicate anemia in the country by targeting specific vulnerable communities, as well the programs developed in Colombia to promote healthy eating habits in families through an application and interactive online games. I was also able to relate my studies to the seminars that addressed the need to promote new habits and behaviors that make healthy eating sustainable in Latin American and Caribbean communities. Moreover, when summarizing nutritional information from studies made in different Latin American countries, the knowledge I have gained through my studies assisted me to formulate my thoughts and create material for social media posts. 

This internship has been an eye-opening experience as I learned some of the ins and outs of working in a non-for profit organization and heard from those that benefitted from its programs. Thanks to this award, the experience has been a turning point in my life as it helped solidify my decision for future graduate studies. I realized that Global Nutrition is definitely the career path I want to pursue as I came to realize the vast impact a nutritionist can make in the life of a community. So, again I would like to thank the donors of this award for allowing me to partake of this learning opportunity. I am positive that the new insights and knowledge gained from this internship will guide my studies and career opportunities.

McGill Interns and supervisor saying their goodbyes on the last day of their internship.

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