Name: Sasha Rogelberg
Class Year: 2019
Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.
Internship Placement: Arts and Science Council
Job Title: Just a humble intern!
What’s happening at your internship?
The Arts and Science Council is a nonprofit organization in Charlotte, N.C., that basically exists in place of an office of cultural affairs and works to make cultural programming in Charlotte more accessible and sustainable. The organization acts as a liaison for cultural organizations and the greater community. A couple of months ago, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Opportunity Task Force released a report on the continuing economic and racial segregation of Charlotte and its surrounding towns and outlined suggestions to help mitigate these problems. The Charlotte community and other organizations critiqued the report for remaining so abstract and not providing concrete solutions or initiatives that address the problems outlined in the report. By the end of the summer, I hope to curate documents and reports outlining the role ASC plays in working to mitigate these problems with more concrete solutions.
Why did you apply for this internship?
I originally connected with the VP of Programs and Services of ASC to potentially connect with a member of an organization ASC supports (like WFAE, our local NPR station) to see if I could get an internship position there. However, as I spoke more with members of ASC, I realized that my interest in curating narratives and information would also be of use to this organization. Additionally, and that because there was no formal internship position, I would have greater jurisdiction over how I spent my time at the organization. I also complain a lot about the atrocities of conservatism and discrimination that have transpired in North Carolina, and I think being part of an organization that values social justice is a way of putting my money where my mouth is, so to speak.
What is something you have learned from your internship that you didn’t expect?
Altthough I’ve lived in Charlotte for most of my life, I never really connected with the city. The passing of HB2 and the murder of Keith Lamont Scott among other events last year made me resent and, in a way, demonize North Carolina, as those events marked how rampant homophobia, transphobia, and racism are in my home state. ASC has been an organization that has acknowledged North Carolina’s shortcomings as a state that promotes equity. Now as a small part of the organization, I have learned not only more detailed accounts of Charlotte’s history with gentrification and racial segregation, but have also heard thoughts from community members and surrounding organizations on efforts to work against Charlotte’s continued racism. Being a part of ASC has helped me not dismiss the atrocities that have happened in this state, but rather recognize North Carolina as a multifaceted and changing place. ASC has given me a different lens in which to view change in the place I live and to learn from the individuals trying to make positive and meaningful change here.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced at your internship?
I think the excitement of starting an internship really motivates one to want to dive into a big project and work really hard, but I realized I had to pace myself and spend a lot of time meeting with folks inside and outside of the organization to make sure I fully understood many of the facets of ASC before making commentary on how the organization functions. Because I’m designing my own internship experience, I’ve had to be proactive in scheduling meetings and finding research, which is hard when you don’t always know what you’re looking for. I’m learning how to strike a balance between how much time to spend just taking in information and time spent actually doing something with the information I’ve learned.