Any virtual internship is naturally more difficult to conduct, but in my opinion a community-based participatory project is one of the most difficult types of work to complete virtually. There is a lot to be gained from direct interaction with the community, and that was limited by the nature of the project. Despite not having as much interaction with the community as desired, the few times that we were able to meet with them were very valuable to our experience. I was delightfully surprised by the openness displayed to us by the community members and their eager willingness to participate in our project. It is difficult to feel the full impact of the project that we are conducting, not being there physically, but the thanks that we received from the villagers was very inspiring. In terms of development, I naturally gained professional experience by this being the first virtual internship that I have ever been a part of, and also gained personal experience in having to use much more empathy in my work than I am used to. I typically do research on animals for my work, so working with people, although in a completely different field, was a very welcome change.
Name: Jack Lavey - Northwestern University