Having created her own internship, Connie Mandeville ’12 worked with the Clinton County Human Rights Commission in Plattsburg, N.Y., last summer. Mandeville is a history and women’s studies dual major, and saw the Clinton County Human Rights Commission as a great organization that works to help the people of the area fight against discrimination. Before spring break, Mandeville contacted the founding members of the commission and offered her services. The members were excited at the prospect of having an eager individual join their team so, after an interview during spring break, Mandeville was given the position of junior communications supervisor.
The Clinton County Human Rights Commission helps foster a common respect and understanding among those of a diverse group (in terms of race, religion, nationality and more) within the county. People turn to the commission to figure out if there has been a breach in their human rights -if they have been discriminated against because of their sex, age, sexual orientation, race, etc. When a claim has been made, the commission either takes action or offers suggestions to a solution.
Mandeville understands that social justice work, and advocating for civil rights, is not the easiest of jobs, but her heart is not interested in what the job can do for her, but what she can do for it. She enjoys working as an advocate of social justice, and involving herself in such efforts while on campus. She has been engaged in countless LGBT, feminist movement, and social justice ally conferences. Her course work in women’s studies and learning about the history of human rights in the United States has prepared her for the internship.
The internship was valuable, she says. “I learned how hard it is working at a Human Rights Organization to outreach to people. Many people have no idea that such an organization exists in the rural Clinton County. The Clinton County Human Rights Commission is one of the few commissions in upstate New York, especially in the Adirondack/ North of Albany region. I would love to work in a similar field,” she says.