The University of Texas at Austin
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Human Rights & Social Justice Connecting Experiences

All Human Rights & Social Justice students are required to participate in two Connecting Experiences as part of their BDP work. All students must complete at least one internship (3 credit hours) in order to satisfy the connecting experience requirement. Please note that all students in the Human Rights & Social Justice BDP must attend a mandatory pre-connecting experience workshop held by the Rapoport Center prior to pursuing their first connecting experience, so be sure to plan ahead! Read on for additional information and resources.

Spotlight
Potential Connecting Experiences

Connecting Experience Spotlight

Ana Laura Rivera

Majors: Government, Spanish (Hispanic Studies)
Type of Experience: Internship, Texas After Violence Project
Mentor: Henry Dietz, Government


How did you find out about this internship project?
I found out about the Texas After Violence Project (TAVP) through an email that my BDP advisor Christine Anderson sent to all the BDP Human Rights students.

Tell us about the internship application process.
I contacted the project director Dr. Virginia Raymond and told her about my interest in TAVP. After applying, I attended training sessions for an entire semester. Depending on the project assigned, the work can be emotionally intense. As a result, training sessions are important before participating in the project.
Read more about Ana Laura’s background before she landed the internship at the Texas After Violence Project blog.

Describe the work you completed with the Texas After Violence Project.
During my internship with TAVP, I examined the role of bilingual education, finance, and immigration status in low-income public schools in Texas. I conducted research on the diverse obstacles minority students have faced in low economic public schools. In addition, I did case analysis research in significant Texas legal cases. I conducted interviews with individuals who participated in these cases or experienced hardships as educators or activists in education, and I transcribed those interviews.

How did this experience connect to your BDP?
One important lesson I learned through my Human Rights BDP coursework and internship was how children are invisible. With their voices unheard, children become vulnerable throughout the world to many issues such as human trafficking, or are forced into prostitution and even terrorist groups. Even in the United States, minority and undocumented students are neglected. Students from low and high-income families are segregated by the school system. However, with the right to a proper education, children in the United States and developing countries will become empowered, creating safe and stable communities. I discovered the importance of making children’s voices heard so that they can have an opportunity of obtaining an education.

In what ways has this CE shaped your plans for the future?
This experience had a tremendous impact on my educational and professional goals, as well as refining my future plans during my undergraduate education. Learning how decisions were made during significant Texas court cases, and the influence Texas’ legislature had in public schools made me deeply interested in policy-making. Through my connecting experience, I became interested in studying how the administration of public policy works, especially in the areas of education and human rights. I aspire to one day pursue a doctorate degree in public policy and a law degree, so that I can represent minority populations in politics.

Read more about Ana Laura’s work and reflections on her experience on the Texas After Violence Project blog.

Potential Human Rights & Social Justice Connecting Experiences

Important: There is no “list” of possible Connecting Experiences to choose from—because Connecting Experiences are designed to fit your own personal interests and goals, the “list” is as long as your imagination and creativity allow. With that in mind, here are some possible internship and research experiences Human Rights & Social Justice students may want to consider. They might help you get started brainstorming what you would like to do for your Connecting Experiences.

Potential Internship Placements

Potential Research Projects

In the past, students have conducted research on

  • Guantanamo Bay detainees and human rights issues
  • Human rights abuses in Guatemala
  • Human trafficking in Africa
  • Humanitarian aid in post-conflict Bosnia & Kosovo
  • The impact of social and new media on human rights in Morocco
  • The politics of foreign financing and development in Zambia
  • The Rwandan genocide of the 1990s
  • United Nations and African Union peacekeeping in Darfur
  • USAID and UNICEF
  • War and violence at The Hague