I was looking forward to this internship with the Community Recovery section within the Sandy Long Term Recovery team at the American Red Cross. I already had some experience within the emergency management field at my previous internship in Washington, DC, and wanted to learn more about the recovery aspect of the disaster cycle.
Although my colleagues smothered me with acronyms and strange-sounding terms, I quickly picked up the lingo and understood a basic conversation between my colleagues. I helped publish newsletters on post-Sandy community resources and even got certified in Adult First Aid/CPR/AED. Sitting in on a few meetings with FEMA and volunteer organization officials made me realize how lengthy the recovery process is, especially with a natural disaster such as Hurricane Sandy.
Perhaps my biggest project at the Red Cross was the transition docs, a series of reports on the five boroughs, Long Island, and Metro New York North. For each of these reports, I helped compile Sandy damage metrics, neighborhood demographics, and general background information on Sandy-affected areas. It helped me further understand the toll Sandy took on New Yorkers’ lives.
I am glad that I was exposed to the nonprofit section of emergency management and disaster relief. It was a humbling experience and I received the opportunity to work with some of the most dedicated and mission-oriented people in this field. I will definitely contribute my time and talents to any future volunteer opportunities with the Red Cross. I am proud to carry this experience forward and I look forward to a lifelong career in the emergency management and public health fields.
Conrad is pursuing an MA in public administration at Baruch College's School of Public Affairs. He holds a BA in political science from Pace University.