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Field Notes

Staff Spotlights: Summer 2021 Interns at Root Cause!

July 29, 2021

At Root Cause we were incredibly lucky to have these 3 fantastic interns join us for the Summer of 2021 working on various Root Cause projects and initiatives. They each come from various universities across the United States and study a wide range of fields. Take a look at our mini features on each of them below:

Swarna Shiv:

Where you’re from: Aurora, Colorado, USA

University and class year: Babson College 2023

What you’re studying: Majoring in Business Administration with concentrations in entrepreneurship and marketing

What was your path to Root Cause?

I was connected to Root Cause through the Forest Foundation. This program pairs college students with non profit organizations in the greater Boston area to intern with them for the summer while teaching the students about nonprofit management and grant writing. I am so happy that I was paired with Root Cause and highly recommend the Forest Foundation to anyone interested in working with nonprofits.

Why did you want a social change internship? What are your professional goals?

Babson has taught me a lot of valuable business skills within marketing, analytics, finance, etc. but I have always wondered how I could apply that in an social impact environment. This guided me to apply to the Forest Foundation and thereby Root Cause because I found that I could get a lot of exposure in both realms. 

My professional goal is to launch my own social impact venture that assists homeless individuals to more easily access mentoring and professional development resources in order to form sustainable careers. I would also like to attend graduate school and perform research for the previous topics. 

Current Root Cause Projects:

I am on the Boston Public School District and Tillotson Fund projects assisting my supervisor Alekhya Chaparala with respective strategy planning through working groups, internal meetings, and client meetings. I love both of these projects as they have provided me with a stronger understanding of the public education and philanthropic sectors. There is a lot of work that the teams at Root Cause put forth to help these non profits achieve their missions and I am proud to be a part of these amazing efforts. 

I am currently working with Abby Alexanian to perform market research in the nonprofit consulting sector by evaluating various organizations by their services, social focus areas, methodology, mission, and work philosophy to better guide Root Cause’s strategic planning. I am really excited about this project as I know it will make a greater impact on Root Cause’s path for several years!

Root Cause Mad Libs:

  • I am passionate about …….. Homelessness, education equity, and economic development.
  • Here’s what I’m currently reading, watching, or listening to………. I just finished watching all eleven seasons of Modern Family! My favorite show ever.
  • In my spare time, I like to……….  Sit in my backyard patio and enjoy the weather.
  • In 10 years, this is the change I hope to see………  I hope to see homeless shelters with greater resources and connections to aid and educate homeless individuals who would like to find a stable career path to achieve their dreams. I hope to be a part of that initiative to the greatest extent. 
Daisy Coles

Where you’re from: London, England

University and class year: Vanderbilt University, Class of 2023

What you’re studyingMajors in Psychology and Medicine, Health and Society. Minor in French.

What was your path to Root Cause? (how did you get connected to us?) 

Having grown up in London and currently an Ingram Scholar at Vanderbilt University, I was looking for a summer internship to gain hands-on experience in consulting to the non-profit sector in the U.S. My research led me to Root Cause, and to Boston for the first time! Root Cause’s work with a broad range of organisations, which focus on the social determinants which impact daily life and improve health outcomes, perfectly aligned with my interests.  

My first email of introduction to Root Cause was greeted with the kind of positivity I have come to understand can make a change in how people see their own potential.  I knew at once Root Cause was my first choice.

Why did you want a social change internship? What are your professional goals? 

I wanted to further my understanding of the range of issues which impact the social environment, such as early development, the effects of poverty, employment and social support, in order to try to see how commercial business interests can join community-partnerships meeting needs in dialogue with service users. In terms of my professional goals, I want to play a part in bringing together stakeholders in the health industry to drive broad-based change.

Current Root Cause Projects

Root Cause Mad Libs:

  • I am passionate about: 
    • Health equity and accessibility
    • Working with businesses to develop the adaptability required to forge collaborative change
    • The role education can play to support self-care and responsible health choices
  • Here’s what I’m currently reading, watching, or listening to……..I am currently reading Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari and Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell; I am listening to the podcast Serial.
  • In my spare time, I like to……….Play tennis, visit art museums, play the guitar, do jigsaw puzzles.
  • In 10 years, this is the change I hope to see……… An increase in inclusive and equitable access to health services


Bre Anna Clinkscales

Where you’re from: Charlotte, NC, United States

University and class year: Duke University, Class of 2022

What you’re studying: Major in Chemistry; Minors in Education and Biology

What was your path to Root Cause? 

I was connected to Root Cause through a program at my university called DukeEngage. DukeEngage empowers students to address critical human needs by fully funding a summer of immersive service. My program focused on addressing social inequities by advocating for children and families in Boston, Massachusetts. 

Root Cause was the perfect partner to fulfill that goal of advocating for children and families.  

Why did you want a social change internship? What are your professional goals?

I wanted a social change internship because I am passionate about reducing and eliminating health, racial, and educational disparities and inequities. With a social change internship, I can begin to make a positive and sustainable impact in my community. In the future, I aspire to be a Physician Associate/Assistant and I desire to provide compassionate care. As a result, it is immensely important that I understand the issues that affect my local and national communities.  

Current Root Cause Projects:

Root Cause Mad Libs:

  • I am passionate about…….Educational equity, racial equity, health equity, and food security
  • Here’s what I’m currently reading, watching, or listening to: 
    • Reading: The Mindful Twenty-Something by Holly B. Rogers, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. 
    • Watching: Tik Tok; 5 AM Morning Routine Videos on Youtube
    • Listening: Frank Sinatra, Randall Goosby, Jazz, Hamilton Soundtrack
  • In my spare time, I like to………… Bake chocolate chip cookies, read, knit, binge watch Netflix or anime, and nap 
  • In 10 years, this is the change I hope to see…….. A reduction in the achievement gap and infant mortality gap in the United States. 

    We wish all three of these fantastic women the best in the future! Thank you for all of your contributions to Root Cause. 

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