Reflections from our UW Impact Intern
UW Impact’s student intern, Manaal Shafi, wrapped up her internship with UW Impact this month. Manaal graduated in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic with a dual degree in Political Science and Law, Societies & Justice degrees. At the end of her internship, she took time to share reflections on her work with us in helping to advocate for public higher education.
—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-Over the past year and a half, I have had the pleasure of working as a Strategic Communications & Digital Media Intern at UW Impact. During my time here, I have worked on social media posts, helped draft blog posts, assisted in outreach, and helped out with data management among several other projects. At the beginning of my internship, we were advocating to preserve investments in the Workforce Education Investment Act which helped extend financial aid, expand access to high-demand degrees, and provide funding for training programs. At the time, I thought I had an adequate understanding of the importance of providing funding for higher education but it wasn’t until a few weeks later when higher education was completely transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic, that I was truly able to grasp the impact that funding for higher education has on various aspects of our society.
Quarantined in my childhood bedroom in California, I began drafting social media posts about UW becoming the first university to announce remote instruction, the groundbreaking research coming out of the University, and the inspiring ways students and faculty were adapting to their new circumstances. In June, nationwide calls for racial equity led higher education institutions, including the UW, to consider the role that higher education plays in helping dismantle systemic racism. During the 2021 legislative session, UW Impact successfully advocated for securing funding for UW and higher education by highlighting its critical contributions to advancing racial equity, economic recovery, and the COVID-19 response.
Funding for higher education not only allows universities to provide a higher quality of education, but it plays a fundamental role in creating social mobility for people from underserved communities, instituting education and healthcare programs in often forgotten rural areas, and creating a more diverse and equitable workforce. My time at UW Impact helped me recognize how fortunate I am to have a degree from such an amazing public university and has inspired me to continue to make advocating for higher education a top priority.