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Savina Tapia

Intercultural Development Research Association (IRDA) – San Antonio, TX


How did you get your job?

I found my summer internship by browsing through open applications that were listed on CORE. I filtered my search listings by my interest areas: education, children, policy and government. As I was browsing through those listed under “Education” and “children”, I came across the listing for the Intercultural Research Development Association and fell in love with the organization’s mission and goals.

What did you like most about your job?

The organizational culture at IDRA has been one of the most welcoming environments to enter as a freshly minted 1L. Everyone from the CEO to the Policy Fellows were supportive of every project and idea I had to share with the staff. The culture at IDRA was more like a family rather than just coworkers and peers. The independence to manage my own projects, hours and legislative work was also a bonus. I never felt micromanaged or under a microscope and was allowed to flourish and create my own work culture as well.

How do you think this experience has helped you in your career path?

My internship with IDRA has definitely solidified my interest in working in the realm of public interest. Having the hands-on experience to work with Texas education legislation has strengthened my existing skill sets in advocacy and writing, but also provided me the opportunity to see what other pathways and positions exist for someone with a J.D. My CEO, the National Director of Policy, Advocacy and Community Engagement and the Regional Director for Policy and Community Engagement all have J.D.s from law schools across the nation and the work that they each do is very unique. This experience has helped me think about other ways to utilize my J.D. in the future outside of the traditional courtroom and litigation setting in a manner that is more personable for me.

How did your job change in a virtual workplace? How did you interact with your co-workers?

My internship was mainly virtual. On a day-to-day basis I was in contact with my co-workers, my intern cohort and the Policy, Advocacy and Community Engagement team via Microsoft Teams, Zoom and GroupMe. We had virtual social hours to get to know one another. The interns also hosted Zoom workrooms where we would share collective presence with one another while we worked on our respective projects. We also did biweekly lunch and learns with different members of the executive staff that covered their specialty areas such as data science and I even hosted a lunch and learn training on adultism. My team (everyone who was vaccinated) also got to take a trip up to Austin where we spent the day together touring and exploring the capitol. I felt very bonded to my team over all of these platforms even though our in-person interactions were limited.