Letter from Our Executive Director of Blindness Initiatives Regarding Summer Internship Opportunities

close up shot of the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute main entrance on east Wells Street with the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute building  sign showing.

Letter from Our Executive Director of Blindness Initiatives Regarding Summer Internship Opportunities

by Anil Lewis

I see our internship program as more than just a summer job. It is an opportunity for blind students to enhance their skills so that blindness is not a barrier to their full employment. Our summer interns benefit from having candid discussions about the challenges of workplace accessibility, sharing nonvisual productivity strategies, and experiencing a truly inclusive work environment where blindness is normalized. Moreover, for many of our interns, it has presented an opportunity to actively participate in the design, development, and implementation of the next generation of projects and programs that will positively change the lives of blind people. Some have helped us with strategies to support our legislative initiatives by developing a video describing the misconceptions and fallacies of the subminimum wage provision found in the Fair Labor Standards Act. Others have assisted with the execution of education training programs hosted at our NFB Jernigan Institute. Still others have worked with our state affiliates to build our membership by conducting outreach and educational meetings.

The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams.

Since 1940, the members of the National Federation of the Blind have come together in state affiliates and local chapters to share the real life experiences, practical techniques, and innovative strategies we use to transform our dreams into reality. In 2004, we established the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute as the first research and training facility developed and directed by blind people. Fueled by the dreams of the blind of America, the Jernigan Institute is now a leader in creating innovative education programs, accessible technologies, pioneering research projects, and collaborative partnerships that empower the blind to live the lives we want.

As we continue to raise expectations of and for the blind, we realize that we must actively work to empower the next generation of dynamic leaders and innovative thinkers who will dream, develop, and implement the next groundbreaking project or program that changes the lives of all blind people. To that end, we must cultivate the energy and talent of young motivated blind students by sharing our knowledge and life experience as they travel their individual paths toward full participation. We seek to accomplish this goal through our National Federation of the Blind Summer Internship Program, a unique learning experience that can only be directed by the National Federation of the Blind.

Our National Federation of the Blind 2022 Summer Internship Program will provide an opportunity for individuals to contribute to the projects and programs of the Federation, while gaining valuable experience at the center of innovation in the blindness field. Our 2022 summer interns will be hosted at the NFB headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland. NFB internships will begin on May 30 and end on August 5, 2022 (ten weeks). The internship experience includes a stipend and, if necessary, may include sleeping accommodations at the NFB Jernigan Institute. One of the requirements of the internship is participation in program activities at the annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind to be held in New Orleans, Louisiana, from July 5-July 10, 2022.

Our 2022 summer interns will collaborate with National Federation of the Blind staff to execute projects within a variety of program areas including:

  • Access technology
  • Governmental affairs
  • Civil rights—specific to our legislative agenda of blind Americans
  • Education and employment programs
  • Information technology and data management
  • Jacobus tenBroek Library research
  • Membership building
  • Outreach and fundraising
  • Communications and social media

The National Federation of the Blind Summer Internship Program is like no other. It is filled with unique opportunities for personal and professional growth.

How to Apply

If you are interested in applying for an internship with the National Federation of the Blind, prepare the following materials and submit them via email in an accessible electronic format to Pat Miller: [email protected].

  1. A cover letter expressing why you are uniquely qualified for an NFB internship and addressing the following:
    a. List the program area(s) in which you are most interested in gaining experience
    b. Describe the projects that drive your passion in those program areas
    c. Include a description of any previous involvement you have had with the Federation
    d. Include a brief description of any innovative new projects that you might want to work to develop during your internship
    e. Note any scheduling conflicts that would prevent you from being available from May 30 through August 5, 2022.
  2. A resume including current contact information.
  3. At least two reference letters supporting your application.

Applications must be received by March 15, 2022, and we anticipate selecting members of our 2022 internship cohort by April 15, 2022. Questions regarding NFB internships can be directed to Anil Lewis at 410-659-9314, extension 2374, or [email protected].