2018 Internship Fellow Spotlight: Izzy Ostrowski

HRI Summer 2018 Internship Fellow, Izzy Ostrowski, tells us about her internship experience at
WITNESS in Brooklyn, NY


Hello everyone! My name is Izzy Ostrowski, and I am a senior at the University of Connecticut. I double major in Sociology and Human Rights with a double minor in Public Policy and Human Development and Family Studies.  In summer 2018, I interned with WITNESS in New York City as a fellow from the Human Rights Institute at UConn. Throughout the sixty days of my internship, I was immersed in a human rights environment that provided me with practical tools, concepts, and experiences that I will- no doubt- carry with me through my future endeavors.

WITNESS, founded in 1992, is an organization that seeks to train and support activists using video in the fight for human rights. The work extends to sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, and the United States.

Within the first day of my internship, I was immediately exposed to a human rights environment that I had always dreamed of working in. I was overcome with admiration for the work atmosphere, my coworkers, and WITNESS in its entirety. WITNESS has team members located in different regions of the world, but I was able to “see” them on video chat for the weekly staff meeting.

This enabled me to learn more about how constant communication is imperative in a human rights organization where staff members are constantly traveling and engaging with global partners. The fight for human rights must be an engaged, passionate, and responsive one. WITNESS embodies all three of those things on a daily basis.

To say that I built a few practical skills during my internship would be an understatement and a gross miscalculation of the vast amount of valuable information that WITNESS instilled in me. One project that I engaged heavily with during my internship was creating training materials and social sharing resources from the Video as Evidence Guide, one of WITNESS’s two large guide documents. I also worked on multiple platforms for the WITNESS website and blog. I learned about different camera and filming equipment, as well as some techniques that go with it, and different applications of Photoshop. My time was also used on various projects throughout the office that provided me with the chance to engage with different staff members and learn more about their roles and responsibilities.

I will not be the first, nor the last, to say that WITNESS is a rare, extraordinary organization. My internship was truly life changing; thank you to my mentors and colleagues at WITNESS and UConn’s Human Rights Institute for helping me grow as an activist and person.



Learn more about our Summer Internship Fellows program on our website, http://humanrights.uconn.edu/internships/