Meet the SISGI interns: Anna-Maija Lee – Fall 2015 Cohort

Anna-Maija Lee

SISGI Group Interns work in project teams connecting their academic and career interests and gain critical thinking skills, the ability to develop original products to address social issues and skills in project management and research.

Anna-Maija Lee is a Licensed Social Worker (LSW) and a graduate student at the University of Southern California, working to attain her Master of Social Work.  Anna-Maija’s primary concentration of study is Community Organizing, Planning and Administration (COPA). Since graduating from the College of Saint Scholastica in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work, Anna-Maija has developed a passion for building healthy communities and stronger family systems.

In order to get to know Anna-Maija better, we asked her the following questions:

#1  What is your area of focus as a SISGI intern?

As a SISGI intern my research has centered around the grief and loss experiences of children and teens impacted by death, divorce, parental incarceration, parental deployment and foster care placement.  I have centered my research on developing a better understanding of the perceptions and misconceptions of grief and loss experiences of youth and offering best practices to key players in the lives of grieving youth today. 

#2  What was the most interesting or challenging assignment during your internship?

My most challenging, yet exciting, assignment during my internship experience was my cause marketing project where I  developed a social media campaign around my research focus on grief and loss experiences of children and teens.  The social media campaign entitled #Grief5 was a compilation of all of my research thus far.  The challenge I faced was being able to disseminate what has now become my passion, to educate and empower not only key players in the lives of youth, but youth themselves and the systems that develop policies and practices around them in a respectful, helpful way in keeping with my own purpose, passion and mission.  Putting myself out in the public eye was very terrifying yet so rewarding. 

#3  Name one thing you like about the SISGI Group intern experience?

As a single mom of five working on an intensive one year master's program, this virtual SISGI Group intern experience helped to reduce barriers for me and my family.  I was given a flexible, low cost, rich mentoring experience and access to training platforms I may never have had the opportunity to participate in in my lifetime.

#4  What would be your dream job?

My dream job would be to impact family systems on a large scale by first working to create a cultural shift on how we as a society view grief and loss experiences.  My personal mission is to strengthen families impacted by grief and loss and I'd like to help to create and implement policies and practices in programming for families, especially adolescents touched by trauma, grief, and loss as I believe the largest gap in programming today is with our adolescent population.

#5   What has been the greatest learning experience while interning with SISGI Group?

The SISGI Group internship experience has taught me to see what true macro is, and because of this internship experience I've gained confidence in my ability to work to create change at a system and policy level.

#6   What was one thing that surprised you about working virtually or a virtual internship?

One thing that surprised me about working with a virtual internship is how easy it can be to impact large scale social change within a smaller capacity. With the combination of a rich mentoring experience coupled with training of key online platforms, I learned that one person doesn't need to be part of a large organization to be the voice of change.

#7   Name one interesting fact about you that you would like to share.

I am 50% Finnish and 50% Iranian.

#8   How do you plan to use the knowledge from this internship in your career?

I will use the knowledge I've gained from this internship and apply it toward any future experiences and career opportunities that come my way.  I know this experience will give me an edge in any capacity and will make me a better social worker.  I plan to use the tools I've acquired towards the development of a non-profit organization as I've gained increased confidence in my ability to develop, strategize, lead, and empower individuals, families, and communities.
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