Welcoming our Summer Intern, Elena Quiroz

[Note from Zach: Elena joins us as an intern for the next 8 weeks and we are really excited! I asked her to take over this week’s blog and newsletter to share more about herself, her internship , and her goals. Enjoy!]

My name is Elena, and I’m currently a rising junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I was born in New York but moved to Peru when I was five and lived there my whole life until I moved back to the US for college. Growing up in Peru, I was able to see the political and social divide and instability, which motivated me to study Political Science and History. 

I’m currently living in Washington DC and staying here for most of the summer as a part of the Academy for Civic Education and Democracy (ACED) program at the Ronald Reagan Institute. The program focuses on creating the next generation of civic leaders, something which resonates with my passion for civic engagement. The program includes incredible opportunities to network with peers, listen to speakers, and visit organizations all around DC. Alongside this program, I’m thrilled to be interning at Thinking Nation. Coming from Lima, Peru, my journey to this point has been heavily shaped by witnessing firsthand educational disparities and societal divisions and seeing how these can limit opportunities for people across the country. Growing up, it was clear how unequal access to quality education impeded the ability of many to become engaged and involved citizens. My background is the main reason why I am enthusiastic about involving myself in initiatives that create fair learning opportunities for everyone. Thinking Nation’s mission to create critical thinkers aligns perfectly with my strong belief that education can empower individuals and create a powerful impact on society. 

During my internship, I will primarily focus on one of my main projects involving creating comprehensive unit overviews and ensuring Thinking Nation’s resources meet educational standards. This hands-on experience will help me sharpen my research and analytical skills, and help deepen my understanding of curriculum development. 

Choosing to join Thinking Nation was an easy decision for me. The organization’s commitment to empowering students to become thoughtful and active thinkers and citizens aligned perfectly with my values. During my internship, I hope to gain practical experience and tools to address the challenges in education. I’m incredibly excited to make an impact on students’ lives. Whether it’s refining curriculum materials or advocating for educational equity, I am really driven by the idea of helping students reach their full potential. I believe my upbringing in Peru has made me appreciate diversity and the power of education more and I’m excited to talk with colleagues who share the same dedication about creating a social impact. Through this experience, I am eager to learn and contribute to meaningful projects. 

Looking ahead, I see this experience with Thinking Nation and through the Academy for Civic Education and Democracy as a crucial step in both my personal and professional growth. Being able to be involved in projects that have an impact on the real world is something that will help me deepen my understanding of civic engagement and social unity. As I start my journey with Thinking Nation, I am filled with excitement and optimism to learn, grow, and be able to contribute to a mission that aligns with what I’m passionate about.