Lyon's Pride Internship Fund


Our summer internship program began in 2011. We wanted to help students to take an unpaid, LGBT-related internship by raising $3,000 to help them with their expenses. If a student takes an unpaid internship, the income from a paid summer job is lost to them, and they need that income for their fall expenses. Many internships take place in a city that is not the student's home town, which means that they also have to get housing and pay for meals and transportation they may not have had if they were working in their home town. Mount Holyoke has some funding available for students in unpaid internships, but the priority goes to the upper classes, and the sophomores have the hardest time securing funding. It is no coincidence that our first recipients were sophomores!


In the summer of 2011, our first recipient was Michaela Schwartz '13. Michaela secured an internship at the Family Equality Council, a gay right's organization in Boston. She served as the New Media intern, blogging, editing photographs, doing web design, and setting her foot into the world of communications. She helped organize their Tell Your Story database, where people shared their stories of family, equality, and discrimination. She also edited and organized photos from the previous summer's Family week, a week-long event in Provincetown sponsored and run by FEC celebrating LGBT-headed families.

In the summer of 2012, our recipient was Holly Mitchell '14. Holly spent her summer interning with I'm From Driftwood, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit and website which archives stories from LGBTQ people across the globe. She assisted IFD with general non-profit management and preparation for their new Community Spotlight video series on LGBTQ elders. She headed IFD's grant search, learning skills necessary for keeping a nonprofit alive. She developed an e-book anthology of IFD's written stories, wrote for IFD's blog in the Huffington Post's Gay Voices section, and co-organized their annual Summer Rooftop Barbeque Fundraiser. She also recorded the life story of an LGBTQ elder over the course of six weeks to be included in IFD's Elder Community Spotlight.

In the summer of 2013, our recipient was Zoe Crabtree '15. Zoe spent her summer interning at Theatre Rhinoceros, the world's longest running professional queer theatre. She served as assistant stage manager for their summer production of an evening of one act plays. Some of her responsibilities during the show included managing props and costumes, running the box office, helping prep the actors, and helping with set changes. After the show's run ended, she helped her supervisor in the theatre office. She researched marketing strategies for the theatre, read grant applications, read plays and provided feedback on shows that her supervisor was considering producing. 

In the summer of 2014, our recipient was Megan Haaga '15. Megan is studying Gender Studies and English, and worked in the Lesbian Herstory Archives in Brooklyn, NY as an Archival Intern. She listened to and cataloged over 150 cassette tapes to add them to the LHA database, ranging from oral histories and conferences, to love letters and comedy albums. Some of these were also digitized and made available online. She helped organize and process new book donations, gave tours, and assisted visitors to the LHA. She also helped with special events, like Brooklyn Pride, the LHA Used Book Sale, and a concert ticket raffle.

In the summer of 2015, our recipient was Meghan Schindler '16. Meghan worked for Trans Youth Equality Foundation in Portland, Maine. She worked directly with the executive board director to develop programs for transgender youth that foster growth, development, and safe environments. She worked directly with transgender youth and their families, as well as providers and educators interested in transgender youth training. She consulted with trans youth and their families to assist them along their journey as they navigate the medical, legal and educational issues within transgender youth equality. Her responsibilities included developing new programs for youth, leading the youth support groups, running a monthly podcast called Transwaves associated with the National Transgender Law Center, running a workshop designed specifically for youth that are gender non conforming, and serving as a youth facilitator during TYEF youth retreats. She presented at TYEF events and conferences, such as the Philadelphia Trans Health conference, and assisted in conducting workshops for providers and support groups for youth and their families.

In the summer of 2016, our recipient is Samantha Panikian '18. Samantha served as an intern with Youth Pride, Inc. in Providence, RI, a nonprofit for LGBTQ youth ages 23 and under. Samantha's diverse responsibilities included outreach, volunteer coordination, and budgeting for two of YPI's biggest events, RI Pridefest and the CVS Charity Golf Tournament. Samantha also worked directly with YPI's executive director, observing and participating in the grant application process, as well as traveling to the statehouse to witness testimony for a bill to ban conversion therapy in Rhode Island. Samantha also proposed a program to get YPI's youth registered to vote, which is currently under review by the Youth Programming Council. Samantha's most meaningful role has been working directly with youth, particularly the 13 and under age group, to build relationships and nurture YPI's supportive environment. Samantha added, "I am so honored to have the support of Lyon's Pride for this internship. It has been wonderful to work with the youth of Providence, and absolutely affirmed my hopes to pursue a career in LBGT nonprofits and social work."

In the summer of 2018, we had two recipients! Isa Zuluaga '19 interned at Pridelines, Miami's LGBT community center, specifically with the Homeless Youth Programs and Services manager, helping to provide warm meals, access to showers, and other services. Isa also worked with an outside contractor to set up a digital filing system in order to streamline case management for homeless and at risk youth; co-facilitated Beyond the Binary, a weekly group for trans, non-binary, gender non-conforming, and questioning youth; and hosted a makeup circle to share knowledge about the artistic, creative, and healing properties of makeup. Isa added, "As a first ten low income queer student of color, I could have never imagined that I would be able to do the work I did this summer, have it funded, and be at home. For all of this I am so grateful!"

The second 2018 recipient was Rachel Urbano '19, who interned at MigraBo in Italy, an organization that focused on LGBT+ migrants who cannot be who they are in their countries without security risks. It is illegal to be gay in at least 72 countries, so people are forced to migrate, and one of the countries they go to is Italy. Once they are in Italy, MigraBo helps them seek international protection on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity (SOGI claims). Rachel worked in Bologna, one of the more well known queer areas in Italy, helping asylum seekers in different steps of the process of requesting international protection. Rachel helped migrants prepare and submit a narrative of what they experienced that led them to seek asylum, waited with migrants at their appointments with immigration offices and entered with them to offer support, helped them find housing, and offered events at the LGBT+ center to get asylum seekers involved in the LGBT+ community.

In the summer of 2019, we had three recipients! Kai Holzhauer-Chuckas '20, a Critical Social Thought major, was a Diversity Research Fellow at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA. Kai shadowed the Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and got to learn firsthand the work that goes on behind the scenes on the administrative side. Kai worked on editing policy, creating resource guides and technological systems so that transgender students have more access to pronoun and preferred name options. 

The second 2019 recipient was Cynthia Gonzalez '20, a Theatre major who worked as a Digital Media Intern at FIERCE in Bronx, NY. Cynthia worked duties relating to Pride, such as social media, shooting and editing videos, taking photographs, creating a template for a monthly calendar, designing events posters, and even designing an ID card for the interns. A favorite memory of the summer was FIERCE's open mic; in addition to taking pictures of the event, Cynthia also performed! Cynthia said, "It was such a fun and inspirational time and I'm glad I was able to participate."

The third 2019 recipient was Shayn Massefski '21, a Psychology & Education major who was an Outreach and Advocacy Intern at Safe Passage, a domestic violence response and prevention agency in Northampton, MA. Shayn worked on a project to properly and deliberately expand their services to queer and trans survivors of domestic violence and relationship abuse. Shayn did research and reviewed webinars on why screening potential LGBTQ+ clients is important, and how to integrate that into the organization's common practice. 

Our 2020 recipient was Hanna Schoenbaum '21, an English and Five College Film Studies major, who served as an intern for Lambda Literary in Los Angeles, CA. Hanna researched and collected upcoming LGBTQ books in the horror/fantasy/Sci-fi genre, and published several articles on the organization's website related to these themes.

Our 2021 recipient was Paula Mascuch '23, who worked as a Summer Programs Intern at Translate Gender and continued to work with them in the fall. Translate Gender is a collective-based, consensus-run organization that works to generate community accountability for individuals to self-determine their own genders and gender expressions.

Our 2022 recipient was Amika Sethia '23, a psychology major who served as a Clinician Coordinator at GLASS in Boston, MA.  GLASS provides a continuum of services to LGBTQ+ youth of the Greater Boston and Greater Framingham areas. As a leader in LGBTQ+, youth services, GLASS also provide education and consultation to other, providers and community organizations. Amika served as a member of the Behavioral Health Services Team. Amika engaged with youth in the Drop-In and virtual Drop-In, co-led groups, supported the planning and execution of events and supported the coordination of counseling services.

Our 2023 recipient was Raven Joseph, a critical social thought major who worked for Translate Gender completing research about inclusive curriculum. Raven was curious about the roles education could play in allowing students to feel like they belong in every classroom they find themselves in, and focused on studying social justice in education and educational reform. The internship allowed Raven to advocate for students who often face educational inequality and social exclusion. Raven facilitated training and workshops for administrators in schools, and gained more confidence in public speaking.

Giving to the Fund

In 2014, when our fourth recipient was named, we received a letter from Nancy Jefferis '69, a Lyon's Pride member who shared some thoughts with the board about the internship fund:

I have never participated very much in MHC alumnae activities, except for a couple of Choral Reunions. I have nothing against such activities, they're just not my kind of thing. I have, however, given frequently to the College general Alumnae Fund. But I haven't really gotten much of a feeling of connection with the school through those donations.
Now, I have very specific giving targets in the MHLP Fellowship and Internship funds. I cannot give large amounts of money, but I feel that I can make a real difference to lesbian students and alums through those targets. And when I read about the recent recipients of those funds, I feel a much stronger connection with the school and with my fellow lesbian alums.
So, I just wanted to let you know how much it means to me to be able to have this closer connection and give money where I know it will be used for a cause I believe in so strongly.

If you feel the same way, we would love your support for the internship fund. The Lyon's Pride Internship Fund is being coordinated by the Development Office. Each year, we strive to have a handful of alums pool their resources and give exactly the $3000 needed so that we don't have to establish an endowed fund. If you would like to be one of those alums, send your gift with a note designating that the gift is for the Lyon's Pride Internship Fund to Development Office, 50 College St, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA 01075. This means the gift will be noted on your file record. The Development Office and any classmates who work on fund raising may have access to an individual's file record.

Please make checks payable to "Mount Holyoke College".

To give online with a credit card, please go to:

Make sure to state the donation is for the Lyon's Pride Internship Fund in the comment area of the donation form, or else it will get credited to the Annual Fund by default. The drop-down menu of suggested uses does not include our fund, so you have to choose the "Other" option and use the comment area to name the fund. You MUST leave a comment in the donation form indicating how you want your donation to be credited in order for them to handle your donation correctly.

All donations are fully tax deductible.

Please do NOT send any money to Lyon's Pride for the Internship Fund via PayPal.
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