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Four Gallatin Students Honored with Mike Bender Internship Award

The award celebrates interns whose work promotes compassion, understanding, and tolerance.

Dec 9, 2021

Headshots of Mike Bender Awardees

The Gallatin Internship Office awarded Alyssa Barone (BA ’23), Nikki Myers (BA ’23), Lydia Pamudji (BA ’23), and Laura Zhang (BA ’23) with the 2021 Mike Bender Internship Award. Named after New York City businessman Mike Bender, the annual award is designed to supplement work at unpaid internships that promote compassion, understanding, and tolerance. 

Alyssa Barone (BA ’23) works as an archivist intern at the Black Gotham Experience (BGX). Embedded within Hannah Gurman’sCollective Memory of Atrocity and Injustice,” Barone is in the process of creating Land of the Blacks, a comprehensive map of the people of African descent that lived on homesteads under Dutch colonial rule in New Amsterdam, some of which NYU's campus is built on today. Barone’s Work at BGX relates indirectly to her concentration that combines public health, social work, and critical race theory to address how racism affects health in marginalized communities. She enjoys the opportunity to think critically about the telling of collective history through narrative. 

“I was interested in this internship in particular because it will give me a strong historical foundation for my academic interests which include critical race theory and the impact race and racism have on the health of marginalized communities,” she said. 

Nikki Myers (BA ’23) works at The Door, a youth development center that provides a holistic range of services to New York City youth. As a bilingual intake counselor, she interviews youth who drop by the center and connects them with the many services provided by the Door in English or Spanish. Myers is pursuing a concentration in  Representations of Latin American Women In US Media with a Social work minor, but thinks that hands-on experience is important to her education. Myers’ work at The Door connects to her classwork in Valerie Foreman’s “Border Fictions/Migration Narratives” and wants to continue to explore the experiences of migration and diaspora. 

Lydia Pamudji (BA ’23) is a Program Assistant intern at the Office of Equity and Inclusion at education nonprofit Facing History And Ourselves. Embedded within Hannah Gurman’s course “Collective Memory of Atrocity and Injustice,” the internship has been useful to expanding Pamudji’s understanding of diversity in memory. Pamudji is developing a concentration in Arts Activism.

Diversity and Inclusion are ongoing themes of her work as Confluence published "Color By Her: Justice and Peace-Building by Women Artists of Color'' written in Marisa Tramontano's Spring 2021 Transfer-Student Research Seminar: “No Justice, No Peace: Peacebuilding, Social Movements, and Intellectuals.” Eventually, Pamudji hopes to use the lessons from Facing History and Ourselves to increase diversity in the world. 

“The bigger end goal is to make something like that for myself. How do we implement more ethnic studies into our curriculum?” she asked.

Laura Zhang (BA ’23) is working as a Teaching Assistant at the International High School at LaGuardia Community College which is designed for students who have been in the United States less than five years. Working closely with her adviser Judith Sloan at her arts nonprofit Earsay, Zhang teaches a weekly class on PSA announcements to a class of eleventh graders that is designed to teach the students how to make their own PSAs about issues important to them like gender norms, mental health, and school dress codes.

Zhang has a background in education as a violin teacher in a program designed to provide music lessons to low-income students of color in Boulder, Colorado. However, has learned a lot about teaching through her internship. Zhang is pursuing a concentration on the intersections art and legal and social institutions as it relates to human rights abuses and studies how communities who have suffered human rights abuses can gain agency through storytelling.

“This experience has taught me the importance of proximity and understanding how to build relationships with people and how to tell stories with people and understand people who are different from me.”