Sigal Felber ’21
November 26, 2018
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Sigal Felber ’21
Sigal Felber ’21 is no stranger to working for a cause she believes in. At Kenyon, Sigal is active in community service, the Environmental Campus Organization, and Student Council. For the past two summers, though, Sigal has channeled her energy and passion for community engagement into an internship with the Wisconsin State League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan voter registration organization.
The summer before her senior year of high school, Sigal began the search for an internship opportunity in her hometown of Madison, WI. “I was looking to have a more fulfilling job, something that’s a little more mentally stimulating,” she says. A family friend directed her to the State League of Women Voters, and Sigal took the initiative to contact the organization. “I reached out to them, sent an email explaining what I wanted to do,” she says. “It did take initiative.” Eventually, that communication led to an interview and an internship offer.
Interning with the State League of Women Voters is an experience very different from that of an hourly job. “You have to really embody responsibility… have other people trust your judgement,” Sigal says. “There’s a lot more independence, but the expectations are higher.” Although having more autonomy in her work was one of the benefits of Sigal’s internship, it was also a challenge. “When you’re used to working somewhere more hierarchical, it’s hard to learn to trust yourself in a work environment. I had to rebuild that self-confidence because you do your best work when you’re confident,” she says.
Despite the demands of a community-based internship, especially during an election year, Sigal found the work so rewarding that she came back for a second summer. “Being able to see what I had made, like an event I created or advertised for, exist outside of an insular office setting, that’s the most rewarding thing.”
Sigal was able to apply the problem-solving and critical thinking skills she learned from her internship to her academic interests as a prospective American Studies major: “It gave me a greater scope for some of the classes I’m taking.” Learning to engage with voters exposed Sigal to a passion for community-based work that is influencing her professional path. “I like community outreach and nonprofit work, and getting to know people through a common interest,” she says. “Working in something that seems something kind of idyllic, like a nonprofit, is definitely a feasible career path.”
In June, Sigal will start another internship with Ken Harbaugh’s congress campaign. She’ll be working in Gambier for a local cause that stemmed from connections at Kenyon. “I got this internship because I got to know a professor who was aware of this opportunity, because I was involved in their class, because I was active in the community,” she says. “Get to know your professors as people.” Sigal encourages those interested in a local summer work opportunity to not only build relationships with professors but also with community mentors. This advice doesn’t just apply to opportunities through campus connections, though. “I’ve found that being proactive and reaching out to people can really make a difference,” she says.
Finding her passion in nonprofit work is just one of the takeaways from Sigal’s internship experience. “It’s definitely impacted my definition of what fulfilling means,” she says. “You get to do something you’re passionate about without needing to apply a label to it.” For more information about summer jobs or internships on and off campus, the CDO staff are available for appointments.
By Amelia Yeager ’20