Six Students Interning With Housing Nonprofits
Six Occidental College students have completed their first week as interns with community-based nonprofits in Los Angeles that address the region’s housing crisis.
Selected from among 47 applicants, the students are working with community organizations that engage in housing development, tenant organizing, policy advocacy, research, and homeownership counseling.
In addition to their full-time, 10-week paid internships, the students meet with Occidental’s Dr. E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics Peter Dreier each week to discuss readings and exchange ideas about their experiences.
“The program was created to give Oxy students real hands-on experience working to solve real housing problems in Los Angeles,” Dreier said. “For some students, this is a life-changing experience, but for all of them, it is a real eye-opening summer.”
The interns are:
- Kay Ambriz, a sociology major from Los Angeles, who is working for the Coalition for Economic Survival, a tenants rights organization;
- Jordan Aura-Gullick, an urban and environmental policy major from Culver City, who is working for the Southern California Association for Non-Profit Housing, an advocacy organization that is working to influence public policy to expand resources for affordable housing;
- Chandrika Francis, a UEP major from Oakland, who is working for the East Los Angeles Community Corp., a Boyle Heights-based organization that builds affordable housing and organizes residents to improve their neighborhoods;
- Aly Hammett, a UEP major from Minneapolis, who is working for ACORN, a community organizing group that works on issues of gentrification, tenants rights, predatory lending, and mixed-income housing;
- Lorie Margolis, an economics major from Sherman, Texas, who is working for Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE), a community-organizing group that addresses issues of slum housing, gentrification, and accountable development; and
- Eric Martinez, a politics major from Los Angeles, who is working for L.A. Neighborhood Housing Services, which builds affordable housing, provides counseling for prospective homeowners, and helps existing homeowners avoid foreclosure.
Now in its fifth year, the program is funded by Union Bank and Washington Mutual Bank foundations. Occidental’s Undergraduate Research Center has been a valuable partner since the program’s inception. A number of the program’s past participants have been hired by their internship organizations after graduation, and others have pursued careers and/or graduate study in the fields of housing and community development.
A total of 12 organizations have served as hosts for Occidental summer interns. The mutually beneficial program allows students learn about community issues and themselves, and the nonprofit community organizations get valuable help in addressing the city’s housing crisis while mentoring a new generation of citizens committed to public service.
Founded in 1887, Occidental is one of the oldest liberal arts colleges on the West Coast. Since winning its first Rhodes Scholarship in 1907, the college has consistently won national and international recognition for academic achievement. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the institution in the top tier of liberal arts colleges since 1991.