Alexa Stevens was one of our first three scholars in 2012 when she interned at the The American Task Force on Palestine.
Where are you from?
San Rafael, California
Where did you go to school? What did you study?
I graduated from Tufts University in 2013 with honors, and a double major in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies.
What was the best part of your internship?
Interning with the American Task Force on Palestine, made possible with the generous help of the B.A. Rudolph Foundation, was my first experience in Washington, DC. Meeting other interns and young professionals, who were studying the same topics I was but applying them to a range of fields, was the most valuable part of my experience. I am still in touch with many of those same colleagues and friends today, and it has been incredibly helpful to chart our paths together into the working world with an interest and passion for the Middle East.
What lessons did you learn that you would like to pass on to future interns?
One of the most important lessons I learned as an intern was that it was okay, and oftentimes encouraged, to not know. Not know where this job might take you, why things are done the way that they are, where your interests might lead, or how to get to where you want to end up. Rather, I learned that always looking to improve your own knowledge—asking questions, taking seminars, finding a mentor whose life path particularly piques your interest—was one of the most important steps, even when questioning career paths.
What are you doing now?
For the past year and a half, I have been a Project Development Officer at Ma’an Network, the largest Palestinian independent media NGO, in Bethlehem, Palestine. As a member of the Programs Department, I fundraise for the organization by writing grant applications for journalism trainings, different multimedia programming, and capacity development for our staff. Additionally, I am a project manager for multiple donor-funded development projects, which use multimedia platforms to promote the rights of people with disabilities, prevent gender-based violence, raise awareness of the rights of children, and bolster independent media as an actor for change in Palestine.
What do you hope to be doing in 10 years?
To be honest, I’m not entirely sure yet! At some point in the future I would love to return to school, to pursue a Master’s in Anthropology. Studying the intersections of personal identity and group identity in public spaces particularly excites me.
What is your favorite book and what are you reading now?
I just finished a fantastic book of short stories, The Tenth of December by George Saunders. However the book I would most recommend to just about everyone would be Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi. Persepolis is a graphic novel covering a young girl’s experience during the Iranian Revolution, however also dives into the issues of nationalism, the causes of revolution, and the fascinating experience of a girl trying to figure out her own identity and path alongside that of her country’s.
Tell us a fun fact!
My favorite font is Georgia! I have a huge interest in typography, and just starting to take classes in Arabic calligraphy in Bethlehem.