Spotlight On Summer Interns: Melissa Pan and Flora Baik
Every summer Nomi Network is joined by students who travel from all across the US to join the executive team for an internship lasting several months. Learn more about our two newest summer interns, Melissa Pan and Flora Baik, both of whom found us by way of the New York City Urban Project (NYCUP).
NN: Tell us a bit about yourselves!
MP: I'm a
senior at the University of Texas at Austin studying corporate communication
and Plan II, an interdisciplinary liberal arts program. I have lived in a
Dallas suburb since I was eight, so New York life is quite new to me! I'm in
love with Jesus, people, reading, writing, and dancing. As a recent
ex-vegetarian, I'm quite infatuated with eating meat, especially good ol' Texas
FB: I heard
about Nomi Network through the New York City Urban Project, a program that
engages college students with the community and seeks social justice through mentoring,
raising awareness, creating partnerships, and hosting events. I chose Nomi
Network because it aligned with my skills, interests, and passions.
NN: Tell us a bit about yourselves!
FB: I am a short, energetic Cornellian of Korean descent. My passion is to dance and to seek justice in the community that I am in. The word "family" carries deep meaning in me and I want to mend broken families to the best of my abilities and talents. I love to choreograph hip hop routines, snowboard down the slope as fast as possible, read novels at a coffee shop, and do sudokus on trains.
NN: How did you hear about Nomi Network?
MP: I learned about this great organization when I was applying for the New York City Urban Project, a summer program with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship that helps college students learn ways to fight social injustice.
NN: Why did you select human trafficking as your summer program? How did you first learn about human trafficking?
MP: Human trafficking started breaking my heart when I first learned about it. I read a National Geographic cover story on modern-day slavery when I was thirteen, and was deeply moved at the suffering of the 27 million individuals who are still in chains. I hope to commit my life in some way to combating human trafficking, and absolutely jumped at the chance to intern with an anti-human trafficking nonprofit.
FB: I selected human trafficking as my summer program because I have been exposed to this issue for about a year. As I unraveled the reality and complexity of this issue, I felt called to be more active and give my time and effort in fighting this with my friends and neighbors. I first learned about human trafficking when I was asked to research and help out a congressmember with an online anti-human trafficking bill.
NN: How has Nomi Network exposed you to new ways to combat human trafficking?
MP: The most important way is with hope. In every aspect of what the staff and volunteers do, whether it is here in New York City or overseas in Cambodia and India, they carry out Nomi's vision with a fervent hope that is infectious. Nomi Network has also taught me how necessary holistic programs are for survivors and women at risk. You can't just hand a trafficking victim some money to start a new life and walk out. She needs to learn, maybe for the first time, her value as a human being, she needs to be empowered, and she needs to be sustainably employed. These steps will help her on her way to restoration.
FB: Nomi Network has exposed me a new way to combat human trafficking as part of development work--not just relief. It is critical to strive for decent jobs and create an environment where survivors and at-risk women can realize their potentials and sharpen skills for the advancement of the society.
NN: What is your favorite thing about your internship so far?
MP: Working with the awesome staff and volunteers. They are kind, funny, amazingly encouraging, and they keep my co-intern Flora and me stuffed with bubble tea and food.
FB: My favorite thing about my internship so far is sharing an office space with 4 strong, dedicated, and inspirational women of God from whom I can impart wisdom. This is not a typical business with profit as our ultimate goal. We are fighting for social injustices and human rights together as a team and it's such a blessing to be a part of that and bring to the table my skills and passion.
NN: What advice would you give to others who are looking for an internship or want to get involved in fighting trafficking?
MP: Apply and be open. Apply wherever you can and don't be afraid of being under-qualified or whatnot, because you will never get in if you don't apply. Be open to learning new things, so that you can take these lessons back to your university or hometown and apply them.
FB: I would advise other who are interested in fighting trafficking to evaluate at which level one would like to get involved. Examining strengths and weaknesses would be a start. From there, one can see how they can use their human resources to impact the world and fight this injustice most effectively.
NN: Thanks for all your hard work to date, ladies!
- Lisa Kim