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Summer Internships: Elana Spector '26

July 7, 2023
Elana standing in front of a desk with a Rainbow flag

Name: Elana Spector
Class Year: 2026
Major: Sociology (Intended)
Minor: Gender and Sexuality Studies (Intended)
Hometown: Washington, DC

Internship Organization: The DC Center for the LGBT Community 
Job Title: Sociology and Advocacy Intern
Location: Washington, DC

What's happening at your internship? We would love to hear what kind of work you are doing!

I have been fortunate enough to intern at The DC Center for the LGBTQ+ Community this summer, a small but mighty community-based organization that helps support and empower the LGBTQ+ community in the DC area. Their resources, programs, and events span a variety of different needs, from free HIV testing to identity-based support groups, to a community closet and food pantry, to arts and cultural events. One of my favorite parts of my internship at The DC Center so far has been the variety of work that I get to do. Although my title is “Social Media and Advocacy Intern,” I get to learn about all aspects of the functions and planning necessary to run a small, nonprofit community center organization. In addition to developing social media marketing for the DC Center's programs and creating impactful and engaging content, I help with graphic design artwork, help run and plan certain programming, and work at the front desk in their offices to directly help people as they come into The DC Center.

Infographic for a Binder Program

Why did you apply for this internship?

Something that drew me to The DC Center was its direct, local impact. As someone who has lived in Washington, DC all my life, I love that I am doing work that positively affects the community that I live in and have a strong affinity with. In addition, one of the reasons I applied for this internship was to become more connected to the queer community and LGBTQ+ culture in DC. And as an intended sociology major and gender and sexuality studies minor, I knew I wanted to translate my academic knowledge and passion into real-world application.

Booth with cup sleeves and t shirt merch from the DC Center for the LGBT Community

Can you give us three adjectives and three nouns that describe your internship experience?

Adjectives: Joyful, Affirming, Rewarding

Nouns: Community, Growth, Gay

Pins on a table at the DC Pride Parade
Our booth table at the DC Pride Parade!

What is most rewarding about your internship?

The most rewarding aspect of my internship is being able to work directly with people in the LGBTQ+ community that are seeking help. I love the direct impact I am making, and I can see the results of that impact first-hand. For example, The DC Center has a binder program where anyone who needs it can come in and get a free chest binder (some trans men, trans-masc, or non-binary people use a chest binder to combat gender dysphoria). One day, a couple walked into The DC Center to get one of them fitted for a new binder, and their excitement and gratitude was overflowing. They talked to me about how much they loved The DC Center and our space even though they had only been there one time before. I then showed them our collection of binders and helped them get fit for a binder (part of my training as an intern was learning how to do a binder fitting). They were overjoyed as they left with their new binder, and the whole interaction made my day and probably even my week.

I love the queer joy that I get to help people experience, and it has made my internship so rewarding to see people in the LGBTQ+ community get the resources and help they need. Although much of my internship has been filled with joy, I have also navigated people through the harsh reality that many queer folks face and the many hardships and inequalities that come with being LGBTQ+. Many people who come to The DC Center are economically disadvantaged; some are homeless or even seeking asylum. Although The DC Center can’t directly help with all those hardships, we navigate those people to other organizations that can help those people and support them as best as we can with the resources that we do have. This aspect of my internship, although more intense, has still been rewarding as I have learned how to navigate people through their hardships and get them the support that they should have access to. With these experiences, I have developed my sense of self and my confidence as a queer person immensely. I know that I will take these skills and experiences back to Bryn Mawr and to my classes/studies.

Visit the Summer Internship Stories page to read more about student internship experiences.

Sociology Gender and Sexuality Studies