Meet Our Summer 2021 Interns

Meet Our Summer 2021 Interns

July 8, 2021
Category: News
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Three young Black women seated in a baseball stadium, taking a group selfie and smiling

We’re delighted to introduce you to NCCJ’s Summer 2021 interns – Shekinah, Chloe and Ma’Kayla.

Internships give young people experience (learning how a professional office operates and building their resumes), perspective (the chance to figure out what sort of work they enjoy doing – and what they don’t) and access (the opportunity to network with our staff and board members.)

Student internships are good for NCCJ, too. In addition to growing our capacity (with a team this small, 3 extra people make a huge difference!), these talented students also bring a wealth of new ideas and approaches to this work.

Keep reading to learn more about Shekinah, Chloe and Ma’Kayla and hear from them firsthand about the projects they’re working on and why they chose to spend their summer with NCCJ.

Shekinah Gonzalez

Young Black woman sitting on a park bench and smiling

Shekinah is an undergraduate student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where she’s pursuing a double major in Anthropology and Sociology.  Shekinah says, “Coming from a small town where social justice issues are often ignored and marginalized communities suffer the consequences, I was inspired to become a part of the changes I wish to see in the communities around me. Earlier this year I was granted the opportunity to do just that by becoming a SECU Public Fellow and furthermore an intern at NCCJ. Here I am able to commit to civic and community engagement while learning how to tackle tough conversations and build curious and compassionate communities.”

This summer, Shekinah has been working with Alison (NCCJ’s director of administration) and María (our associate program director), on a key project: the administration and preparation of NCCJ’s summer youth programs, STARR and Anytown. “Right now,” Shekinah says, “we are finalizing the last pieces of the life-changing program that is Anytown. I am excited to see how the delegates interact with the program and one another, the passion that will be poured into them by Anytown staff, and the changes they will go on to make in their own communities.

Shekinah has a tip to round out your Instagram feed: “For anyone searching for social media accounts that talk about social justice issues I highly recommend checking out @soyouwanttotalkabout on Instagram. This page uses slideshow graphics to dissect topics ranging from race, current events, gender and sexuality, religion, physical and mental health, and more. Their posts are great conversation starters and an easy way to stay informed.”


Close-up of a young Black woman with natural hair and a nose ring.Chloe Griffin

Chloe (Anytown 2009) is a student at Wake Forest University School of Divinity, where she is pursuing a Master of Divinity with a concentration in Interfaith Literacy and Leadership. Chloe says, “I wanted to be an intern with NCCJ because I am passionate about community building and fostering relationships amongst diverse groups of people. I have been connected to NCCJ since I attended Anytown 2009 as a high school student. I am thrilled to be back with the organization, this time making contributions to programs that will hopefully inspire others the way NCCJ has inspired me.”

Chloe is working with María, NCCJ’s associate program director, on several projects. “I am working on updating and developing existing interfaith programs within NCCJ to further reflect the rich diversity and social impact of faith communities in the Piedmont Triad,” says Chloe. “I am excited about this project because I have the opportunity to help NCCJ get back to its roots in interfaith advocacy by facilitating more interfaith dialogue in our community.”

Chloe has a book recommendation for you: “Recently I read Holy Envy by Barbara Brown Taylor. I recommend this book for anyone interested in exploring how learning about other faith traditions besides one’s own can inspire personal growth and opportunities for meaningful reflection.”


Ma’Kayla Hunter

Ma’Kayla a student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where she’s working on her Master’s in Public Affairs with a Nonprofit Management concentration. She says, “I wanted to intern with NCCJ because of how effective their organization is within their mission and goals. NCCJ has had success, leading to other individuals reaching out to them, showcasing their talents with addressing social justice. Noting the support and partnerships that the organization has, it was critical to see how a successful nonprofit operates to allow me to help other organizations in the future.”

This summer, Ma’Kayla is working closely with Gloria (NCCJ’s development manager) and Erika (NCCJ’s development and communications director.) Ma’Kayla says the projects she’s most excited about “include fundraising and grant writing. Though my passions rely in writing, resource development allows me to combine these skills and advocate on behalf of NCCJ. I believe that funding is crucial for quality projects to be executed by an organization, allowing me to assist so that NCCJ can continue to produce amazing events and conversations.”

Looking for a new show to binge? Ma’Kayla has a suggestion: “Something I have watched recently that correlates to NCCJ is the new Netflix show, “High on the Hog.” This show talks about how African Americans transformed America with their food, but often receives no recognition. Along with food, it talks about the disparities faced by African Americans for land and ownership, highlighting the disparities NCCJ works to address and confront.”