The Quarter Life Crisis and My Internship with NCTE

It’s the big question: What are you doing next? I’m graduating this December, and it’s the inquiry I’ve been asked the most. I told my advisor I was waiting for a late stage epiphany (a very late stage epiphany at this point). I knew I wanted to pursue something related to my fields—English, film, and communications—and in a way that felt like I was making a difference, but I wasn’t sure how to get there. Sigma Tau Delta’s internship with the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) came at the perfect time. I was between jobs at the time, with tutoring on hiatus for the summer and leaving my job at a nursing home due to a COVID-19 outbreak. The stipend supplemented my time with NCTE and enabled me to dedicate myself to the experience fully. I had never heard of the organization before, but after doing some research I knew I wanted to learn more.

It was my first internship and my first remote company, and while there was a learning curve for both I learned a lot about myself, too. Almost all of the people I spoke to at NCTE came from vastly different backgrounds. Each story was different and it quickly became clear that there wasn’t any one path that was the best, or that I had to choose. Some were new hires, and others had been there for decades. This range of experience helped provide a larger overview of the organization, including what it was like during the transition to remote operations and the recent rebranding.

Given the intellectual uncertainty of the pandemic, I was especially impressed by the flexibility and good-nature of the team. Events and details were constantly changing with the Delta variant and rising cases, but my NCTE contact always kept me updated. My work ranged from creating social media content on Canva and Sprout to writing press releases to conducting research. I still wouldn’t call myself technologically savvy, but I’d like to think I’m approaching competence. There was always some satisfaction in seeing a post on social media that I’d helped create—and relief that I’d scheduled it correctly.

As a queer Asian-American, I was pleased by how much NCTE’s work overlapped with striving toward equitable learning and media literacy. Several of the projects I assisted with were centered around these goals, and were both professionally and personally fulfilling. I definitely felt like I was helping achieve some of that positive difference I wanted, no matter how small. Representation has always been important to me; outside of foreign language classes I didn’t have an educator of color until college. Working toward a space for historically overlooked communities to share their voices is important both in academia and in the broader discourse surrounding equality. It confirmed I wanted to work with a nonprofit after graduating, and I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to continue working with NCTE beyond the internship.

While it was a little disappointing to learn there wasn’t a magical epiphany I’d be granted after graduation, in a way it’s exciting. Perhaps it’s less of a singular “Eureka!” moment and more a series of interlocking events that somehow snap into place. Whatever those pieces end up creating, I’m thankful that NCTE was able to be a part of it.

Michaela White
NCTE Communications Internship Recipient, 2021
Rho Chi Chapter
The University of Maine, Orono, ME


NCTE Communications Internship

Sigma Tau Delta encourages undergraduate student members with a focus on communications and/or journalism to apply for the NCTE Communications Internship, which will support communications initiatives of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

The internship opportunity will be held over six weeks (15 hours per week) during summer 2022. The intern will work on various communications projects, including helping with social media content, supporting NCTE Twitter Chats, creating emails to promote live events, drafting press releases, and developing copy for In addition to these projects, the intern will also spend some of their time with key NCTE staff from Marketing, Membership, Publications, Events, and other departments to learn about day-to-day NCTE operations. The NCTE is a fully remote organization, so the intern must have access to a computer, video camera, and reliable internet access.

Stipends from Sigma Tau Delta and NCTE

  • Sigma Tau Delta will award the NCTE intern a $300 stipend.
  • NCTE will provide the intern with a $1,000 stipend.

The intern will also receive a one-year complimentary NCTE membership after successful completion of the program, as well as a certificate of participation.

Application Deadline and Notification

Applications will be accepted through AwardSpring through April 11, 2022, 11:59 p.m. CDT. The internship will be awarded by May 18. Questions regarding the online submission process should be addressed to [email protected].

More from Footnotes: March 23, 2022

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Student Leadership: Bigger than Yourself
Summer Internship Stipend
Summer Program Scholarship
Lambda Iota Tau (LIT) Research Grant

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