Public Nonprofit Program Students on their Summer Internships

in Graduate Students, Social Impact, Students
October 21st, 2011

Left Photo: Anya Thomas (far left) with Dominique Chambless (MPH 2012), and Meg Meyer (MBA/MPH 2012); Right Photo: Steph Bloch with Mass. Governor Deval Patrick, and Uri Feld (former BU PNP student)

Left Photo: Anya Thomas (far left) with Dominique Chambless (MPH 2012), and Meg Meyer (MBA/MPH 2012); Right Photo: Steph Bloch with Mass. Governor Deval Patrick, and Uri Feld (former BU PNP student)

Anya Thomas (MBA 2012, Public and Nonprofit Management)
Summer 2011 Vestergaard Frandsen (VF) Intern

“Your goal is to change Ghana’s water policy.”  When my Boston University teammates and I secured an internship with Vestergaard Frandsen (VF), we had no idea that we would get to work on a presentation that has the potential to impact the lives of millions of Ghanaians.  Even though VF is not a non-profit, it is a social enterprise focused on “humanitarian entrepreneurship.”  This small company invents technologies that promote health through out the developing world.  Its most famous product is a bed net that protects people from mosquitoes that carry malaria.  Now VF has started to tackle the international water crisis with an extremely effective membrane water filter.

” This internship allowed my teammates and I to participate in a fascinating public-private partnership.”

This internship allowed my teammates and I to participate in a fascinating public-private partnership.  As VF interns we got to meet with Ghanaian officials in the water sector, multilaterals such as the World Bank and UNICEF, as well as local NGOs.  Together these public and private organizations are trying to save millions of lives. As our research is came to a close, we became more convinced than ever that filters and other types of household water treatment are crucial components of a comprehensive water and sanitation strategy for any developing country.

Our presentation is being used by VF to help the Ghanaian government and various development partners realize that household water treatment is the interim solution they need.  This experience has opened my eyes to so many new areas.  Now I understand the huge affect water quality has on health and economics, and I am inspired by how a small innovative company can affect policy change and promote the health of a whole nation.

Steph Bloch (MBA Dec 2011, Public and Nonprofit Management)
Summer 2011 Rappaport Fellow, Rappaport Institute and Harvard Kennedy School of Public Policy

As a Rappaport Fellow for the summer of 2011, I was placed in Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s Office.  I was charged with educating entrepreneurs about the permitting process for start-up small businesses  through a website launch, the initiation of a collateral series, and a TV segment.  My goal was to help create a comprehensive package for new business owners to access the information they need from all city departments, in order to navigate the permitting process.

My internship gave me the chance to interact with many of Boston’s top policymakers and learn from them about how they keep the city running.  One of the best experiences was riding on a police boat to visit a summer camp on one of Boston’s Harbor Islands for Boston’s underprivileged youths.  But day in and day out, working at the Mayor’s Office has made for an excellent summer.  Everyone is here because they want to do good for the city.  Being surrounded by intelligent people who want to do right by the public is invigorating.

” Maybe the most important thing I learned from the experience was to think about the short term in balance with the long term.”

Maybe the most important thing I learned from the experience was to think about the short term in balance with the long term.  If left to my own devices, as a business student, I would have done research, written proposals, made plans, and nothing tangible would have come to fruition. Being here, I realize that since everything is about the people of Boston, you have to give the people signs that you care about them by going for some shorter term solutions they can relate to and feel good about. The thing is that you’re always working for the long-term greater good, but sometimes you have to help people be proud of their city now.