Three Yale undergraduates have created a summer internship opportunity called Go South, which aims to inspire Yale students to spend their summers working and interning in the south of the United States, rather than “usual” internship destinations in the Northeast and the Bay Area.
Dasia Moore ’18, Olivia Paschal ’18 and Michelle Peng ’19 — the former from North Carolina and the latter two from Arkansas — founded Go South in Jan. 2017. Their organization connects Yale students with nonprofits that work in fields ranging from environmental research to historical preservation in cities across the South. Go South is currently accepting applications for its first cohort of Yalies.
“When I arrived at Yale I noticed a lot of people seemed to disregard the South as a region,” Paschal said. “They didn’t seem to realize that there are a lot of opportunities and room for growth in the South.”
Moore and Paschal said they were inspired to create Go South after coming to the Northeast for college. Before coming to Yale, they were unsure whether they wanted to return to the South after college for work. But after seeing the disconnect between the reality of the South and Yalies’ perceptions of the region, they were inspired to return home.
The most frustrating perception on campus is the idea that the South is not a feasible place to do meaningful work, Moore explained.
“There are so many people interested in public health, anti-poverty and schooling at Yale,” she said. “Many of these issues are very pronounced in the South, but few were considering working in the South.”
The co-founders came up with the idea for the organization in the wake of Trump’s election, as students at Yale Law School led the attempt to brainstorm possible reactions. Paschal, who was part of those meetings, started to brainstorm ways to bridge the divide between the Northeast and the South.
After writing an opinion column for the News expressing their desire for seniors to work in the region they call home this October, Moore and Paschal received an email from Michelle Solomon ’96 who offered to help by connecting them to companies that offer internships in the South. They now are connected to 11 Southern nonprofits.
“These are real projects with real impacts that students may not be able to have if they intern somewhere in New York or on the Hill,” said Paschal.
Jackson Cole ’20, a native southerner, said he plans to apply for an internship through Go South this summer because he is excited by the prospect of doing meaningful work in the region he calls home.
“Growing up in Dallas, I know the beauty and charm of the South and look forward to the possibility of creating positive change,” he said.
The organization’s cofounders said they have received applications from students from both the South and the North so far.
The deadline to apply for Go South is Friday.
Skakel McCooey | email@example.com