By: Niousha Farhangi

As a political science major passionate about social and political issues domestically and abroad, Town Hall’s 80 year history of renowned speakers drew me in four months ago, and prompted me to apply for their internship program. I was excited to not only learn about the nonprofit sector, but to also assist in an organization that’s doing meaningful work to promote civic engagement – a topic that people of my generation especially need to be more involved with.

I happily accepted Town Hall’s offer to bring me on board as a Program Research intern. Right away, I instantly got a glimpse into the process of creating unique and informative programs. My research tasks, under the THLA staff, allowed me to explore innovative questions and topics that undoubtedly enhanced my knowledge areas. I saw the real impact of my research in a nonprofit setting; the staff used the information I curated as the building blocks to create and develop more of the organization’s popular events. Everything from tracking congressional and gubernatorial races to brainstorming topics for a women-centric panel – the breadth of my experience was vast.

Researching was hugely informative, but experiencing the programming created under Town Hall LA, was another. The programs I saw come to life featured empowering female CEOs who spoke about career advancement, gender diversity in corporations, and the future of technology for LA. After the Chief Technology Advisor to Mayor Garcetti took the stage, my imagination soared as I walked the Downtown LA streets, envisioning flying cars and how technology will change in the coming years. Equally beneficial was a Japanese cultural experience courtesy of Japan House Los Angeles – one of three in the world! It was the quality of content, domestic and worldly, that strengthened my awareness and passion for civic education.

Alongside the glamour of programming, I was introduced to grant research, speech writing, and got a taste of the media mechanics behind Town Hall Los Angeles. I was particularly surprised to find media managing so entertaining. From the creativity and skill involved in media writing, to the on-the-move aspect of filming video content – I got to meet the youngest female mayor elected in the country! – my blood was pumped after a day of research. Furthermore, it was the possibility of media to enlighten and incite civic engagement that I discovered from the diverse and accessible media platforms of Town Hall Los Angeles.

Leaving the halls of Town Hall Los Angeles, I am thankful for everything that I gained, both personally and professionally, and am encouraged and excited to pursue a future of strengthened civic engagement.