Ashley Rowland | August 4, 2020
Matthew Heilman ’23 planned to spend the summer working in a Tanzanian hospital as a medical intern, researching the educational histories of its clinical officers. Instead, the International Development Studies minor is interning remotely from his home in Indianapolis for an all-female soccer club in Cape Town, South Africa, that works with girls from underprivileged or high-risk areas.
The club, Badgers Academy, uses soccer as a way to provide mentorship, support networks, and educational programs. Along with two other interns based in southern Georgia and Toronto, Heilman is designing single-day workshops that address topics ranging from reproductive and sexual health and to self-confidence and leadership skills.
“The goal is to help them become not only better soccer players, but more well-rounded young women equipped to go out into the world,” said Heilman, a neuroscience and behavior major who is also minoring in gender studies. “While I won’t be able to execute the project in person, my end goal is to hand in a final product that is detailed enough for those on the ground to implement when the coronavirus pandemic is over.”
Heilman is one of a number of University of Notre Dame students taking part this summer in a new virtual internship program offered by the Kellogg Institute for International Studies that provides critical on-the-job experience and learning outside the classroom. The program offers undergraduates the opportunity to gain international work experience at a time when overseas travel is largely off-limits to students due to COVID-19.
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