This summer, Veronica Ung-Kono ’18 is advocating for the world’s poor from her desktop.
Ung-Kono, a political science and communications major with a pre-law concentration, is interning with The Borgen Project, a nonprofit organization that lobbies for quality education, access to proper health care, and enough food for the world’s poor. For her internship, Ung-Kono is writing 22 articles that will appear in Borgen magazine and in The Borgen Project’s blog to make information accessible to the public, as well as to legislators. So far, she’s written about emerging technologies to combat disease and poverty, strategies to eliminate the Zika virus in Brazil, and strides in education in Cameroon.
Ung-Kono spends much of her time researching and speaking with representatives or legislators—either by phone, email, or in person to ensure she writes the most accurate and effective articles. No two days alike. “One day, I may only be doing research, and the next, I’m meeting with my district’s legislator, skyping my editor who just flew to Egypt, and then doing more research,” she says. “My greatest successes are probably being able to see my articles on the site and seeing people comment on them via social media and generating a conversation about the topic—which is precisely The Borgen Project’s goal—and seeing legislation being voted on by legislators I’ve spoken to,” says Ung-Kono.
Her time with The Borgen Project has definitely made an impression on her, especially as she considers attending law school. “I can really feel how much my understanding of international politics has grown and developed. I’m thinking of pursuing international law or an area of business law involved with international relations.”
This internship, for Ung-Kono, is the perfect mix of her two academic interests: international law and journalism. “Much of the background one needs to fully be able to work with The Borgen Project is a great understanding of international affairs, U.S. foreign policy, different legal systems and how they operate at different levels, and the U.N.’s involvement in the international community,” she says. “I believe all of my political science courses have helped me not only to be chosen for this internship, but also thrive in it. My communications and English classes have definitely helped me with my writing and being able to clearly communicate all that I need to. Being a part of Model U.N., Amnesty International, writing for the online publications the Odyssey and Her Campus, and for The Dolphin all definitely helped me to get this position and prepared me to partake in everything we do at The Borgen Project. “
Though her internship is helping her discover different areas of law she might study, it’s also helping her see what she can do now as a student and citizen. “I’m learning a lot more about international diplomacy and international affairs, but also a lot more about how easy it is to get involved in politics. Getting involved and advocating for more people to get involved is a huge part of The Borgen Project. They want everyday citizens informed on the different policies, and about how it will impact local communities, and how citizens can actually make a difference.”
You can read some of Ung-Kono’s articles here:
Nations’ Plans to Prevent the Zika Virus from Spreading
Education: A Key Combatant of Poverty in Cameroon
The Red Cross Takes the Lead in Providing Aid in Sri Lanka
A Quick History: Global Goals for Sustainable Development