An OJPC intern reflects on spring internship


“Thank you for the best and most rewarding internship I’ve ever had.”

This blog post was written by Kaelan Doolan, OJPC’s 2018 communications intern and a 2018 graduate of Xavier University.

“Kaelan – OJPC is pleased to offer you the position of Scripps Howard Communication Intern for the period of 1 January – 31 May 2018.” I received this message on December 5, 2017, from Devorah Waesch; I had been hired by OJPC.

The emotions I felt were overwhelming: excitement, fear, nervousness, curiousness. All of these seemed to flow into my brain when I read this message.

“Thank you so much! I’m looking forward to getting started” was the reply I sent and, while I’ve always been excited for new opportunities, I didn’t expect the impact OJPC would eventually have on me.

After a relaxing Christmas Break in my hometown of Canton, Ohio, I returned to Cincinnati, on January 3rd, to start my first day of work. Sasha Naiman greeted me with a warm smile and showed me around the office. In that time I got to meet Jorge Dalence Gastelu, Dorianne Mason, Sarah Estes, David Singleton, Stephen JohnsonGrove, Tiffanny Smith and Sheila Donaldson Johnson.

I also met a very special person for the first time, and by complete coincidence. There, standing directly in front of a poster of herself, was Tyra Patterson. I gave her a hug as I introduced myself, but I believe she had to be somewhere, so she left shortly after. It’s not until I looked at the poster that my brain had connected the dots: It was Tyra’s story that really changed my perspective on how unfair the criminal justice system really is. This boosted my already-inflated work ethic. I wanted to help the center do the amazing work that they’ve been doing for over 20 years. As I sit next to a large pile of concept flyers and typed documents, I can’t help but think of the many stories behind each one. Every project presented to me has a special place in my memory: Dorianne’s infographics, Stephen’s “Get Healing, Get Free” flyer and helping Sarah with the annual report. These are just a few of the projects I worked on, but all were not only challenging, but extremely fun to do as well!

When I had come back from Spring Break, I had the pleasure of meeting the new communications manager, Marais Jacon-Duffy. Hearing her experience and insight opened my perspective to the world of communications, and help me develop new work habits that helped with post-grad job interviews. Watching her in action at media events, social events and OJPC events was one of the best learning experiences I’ve ever had. I can’t thank her enough.

On May 31st, I’ll be leaving OJPC for the final time. It hasn’t been easy to think about — OJPC has been arguably one of the most important aspects of my college career. But, it’s time for me to spread my wings as a graduate and explore the world, with the lessons I learned from each and every single person here. (Mentioned in order of office location):

Thank you, Jorge, for sharing a workspace with me for two weeks.

Thank you, Dorianne, for being one of the realist people I’ve ever worked with.

Thank you, Sarah, for your kindness and help throughout my internship.

Sasha, you have been one of the best bosses a man could ask for, thank you so much.

David, I mean it when I say you are truly doing God’s work. Thank you for the hope and advocacy that you’ve given myself and OJPC’s clients.

Devorah, you are one of the sweetest and kindest souls I’ve ever met, and thank you for being a friendly soul to talk to (and for consistently reminding me to fill out my timesheet!).

Thank you, Marais, for being one of the best partners I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with — your insight has educated me so much.

Thank you, Stephen, for educating me so much about law and how it can intersect with advocacy — and, man, is your energy something to envy!

Tiffanny, your dedication and attachment to your clients is something that always touches my heart. I truly wish more people in this world were like you.

Tyra, I can’t begin to explain how much you and your story have impacted me. I never thought that hope could have a face, but I think it looks a lot like you.

Sheila you’re hilarious, but I think you’re probably aware of that. Your no-nonsense attitude reminds me of all of my aunties and it was a welcome presence to have in the office.

I could go on literally forever about how awesome this staff is, and I can’t thank them enough for how much they’ve helped me grow and mature as a man. I owe you all so much.

With that said, thank you for the best and most rewarding internship I’ve ever had. I’ll always be sure never to write people off. With that, I bid my farewell.

Love Y’all,