Megan McClymonds had the opportunity to spend 10 weeks this summer in a virtual internship/class blended experience. Her internship placement was with a Social Enterprise in Shanghai, China called Upbeing, where she created videos in English explaining important concepts driving the organization. Upbeing focuses on social innovation by facilitating workshops, hosting project-based learning projects, and encouraging those in the community to openly collaborate and find their passion. There, she learned about what other cultures are doing to combat common problems faced in communities all over the world. With the opportunity to talk to her supervisor and co-founder of the organization via instant messaging, Megan was able to discuss topics like social learning and mental health and how Upbeing helps anyone learn about these topics, among many other important outreach programs. She got to see how even a small company can make a huge impact and would like to bring this outlook with her as she continues her studies in Statistics and Data Science at RMU.
In culmination with this unique internship, Megan also had a weekly class with other students all around the world. The course taught cultural values to be applied to aspects of the internship. The class consisted of weekly journals and discussions with her peers. Not only did she get to share about her own experiences, but Megan also heard about what experiences others had in their unique internships. By the end of the course, she brought all of her knowledge together in a research report combining her major, interests for the future, and a case study on the internship. She continuously looks for connections between her studies and social innovation, both now in her internship as well as in the future ahead.
CEE Title Virtual Experience, Global Issue: The Mental Health Effects of Virtual Communication
The Community Engagement Experience (CEE) put on by the Robert Morris University 2021 Cohort Vira’s combined their experiences and challenges with the world at large around them. The presentation, entitled: Virtual Experience, Global Issue: The Mental Health Effects of Virtual Communication included a brief documentary followed by a panel discussing the details of virtual communication challenges in many aspects, focusing on Imposter Syndrome. The documentary detailed the experiences and struggles of each Cohort member. The discussion then transitioned to how these struggles do not just appear in a global virtual setting, but rather any virtual setting. The panelists, an International Communications professor alongside a Counselor in Residence at the university were posed questions about the effect virtual communication has had on students. The questions warranted helpful, well-explained answers that helped students to hear what they are facing being brought up by someone else. It aimed to be informal yet informative, allowing students viewing the presentation to ask their own questions and have them answered in real-time. Students learned about the pros and cons of virtual communication. They also were provided with tips on better presenting themselves in a virtual world as well as coping strategies for any mental health issues surrounding the virtual world. Over the course of an hour, a lot of information was received by all in attendance. From this CEE, the RMU Vira’s hope that awareness of Imposter Syndrome has increased on their campus. Their goal was to spark conversation among their peers so that the awareness only spreads to others.