Chrissy Ramkarran interned with POV’s Community Engagement and Education department as a part of the Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship program. 

The summer of 2016 encompassed some major “firsts” for me. It was my first term as a Jeannette K. Watson fellow, a fellowship program created to engage undergraduate students in the early stages of their college career, exposing  them to the working world through a multitude of unique and challenging internship and mentorship experiences. The fellowship maintains relations with a plethora of national and international organizations, such as the Institute of International Education (NY), International Federation of Women Lawyers (Ghana), and M Venkatarangaiya Foundation (India).

It was through the opportunities provided to me by the Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship that the summer of 2016 became centered around my very first internship experience. I became aware of Watson’s partnership with POV prior to receiving the fellowship and knew within mere minutes of research that I wanted to be a Community Engagement and Education (CEE) Intern. POV’s mission is to produce films that humanize social issues and the CEE department stands at the heart of that objective. As someone who values the need for progression in human awareness and compassion for the issues that affect our communities on a daily basis, I wanted to be a part of an organization that was tracing the path for social change.

Ranging over a span of nine weeks, my internship experience was saturated with administrative duties, department/staff meetings, and assisting in the facilitation of The New York Times and Human Rights Watch Film Festival screenings. However, my primary focus was to flesh out effective outreach campaigns for the Season 29 films. In total, I worked on six different outreach campaigns, my first being centered on the Oscar-nominated film, The Look of Silence, a companion to the also Oscar®-nominated film, The Act of Killing. Via phone calls and emails, I began contacting organizations that worked to combat genocide, increase awareness for Indonesian history, and promote justice in the face of human atrocities. As my internship progressed, it seemed as though each film and its subjects affected me to a greater capacity than the last. However, it was the outreach I did for Pervert Park that allowed for the most professional and personal growth. Over the course of four weeks, I made calls to non-government sex offender treatment programs, correctional facilities, and civil commitment centers, while maintaining a level of heightened awareness for the level of sensitivity I needed to extend to every individual I spoke with. Surprisingly, every executive director, counselor and probation officer I contacted seemed to go through the same process of shared emotions; a mixture of intrigue and hesitation, yet ultimately a level of relief that the dialogue for safe and effective sex offender management/treatment was finally garnering an audience.

Now that my POV internship has come to an end, I reflect not only on all of the professional skills I have gained, but also on all of the stories I was able to help mobilize into the communities that will benefit from having an open avenue of discussion for social awareness. Going forth, I know that I want to continue working in the fields of advocacy, education and progressive dialogue, as well as the craft of storytelling. I am so incredibly thankful to POV, and especially to the CEE staff, for providing me with the opportunity to be an active participant in bettering our national neighborhood.

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POV Staff
POV (a cinema term for "point of view") is television's longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films. POV premieres 14-16 of the best, boldest and most innovative programs every year on PBS. Since 1988, POV has presented over 400 films to public television audiences across the country. POV films are known for their intimacy, their unforgettable storytelling and their timeliness, putting a human face on contemporary social issues.