On October 3, 2022, we welcomed Naima Small as the Communications Associate Intern for the Office of Immigrant Affairs. She is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania who will intern with our office during the 2022-2023 school year. 

Naima will work with Alain Joinville, Director of Strategic Communications and Programs to draft social media content, assist with the redesign of the Office of Immigrant Affairs website, and other communications-related projects and tasks.

We asked Naima some questions to get to know her better.

Why did you decide to intern with the Office of Immigrant Affairs?

At Penn, I’m majoring in Communication with a concentration in Advocacy and Activism. I have a passion for working with and for underserved communities and know that I want to take that passion into whatever position I work post–grad. So, when I saw the opportunity to work with Philly’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, I was excited to learn more about how city governments operate. I also wanted to learn more about the ways in which social media can be utilized to improve access to important community resources. 

Why are you interested in working in the communications industry?

I enjoy working with social media because, in today’s media environment, social media is a primary source of information for many people. Creating creative, clear, and relevant content ensures that people receive the information they need.

Where are you coming from, and what do you enjoy about Philadelphia?

I grew up in a relatively small town in Connecticut. I knew I wanted to go to school in a city, but I always expected that city would be New York. However, I visited Penn as a junior in high school and had the opportunity to see the school as well as explore the city a bit. I immediately fell in love with the area and knew that I could see myself spending my college years here.

This summer, I worked with Dr. Krystal Strong on the MOVE Activist Archive, a research project aiming to archive the history of Philadelphia’s MOVE organization and create a virtual tour of areas of Black resistance. This summer research helped me learn more about the city, as we filmed content at places like the Philadelphia Zoo, City Hall, and Malcolm X Park. I love that Philadelphia has such a rich diversity of people and places, and I know I made the right decision in choosing Penn and living in Philadelphia.

What do you do in your free time?

I enjoy writing whenever I have the time. I’ve been doing journalism since my junior year of high school when I started a blog focused on Black women’s issues called Dear Dark Skinned Girl. After a hiatus last year, I hope to begin writing more about it this semester. On campus, I’m involved with Penn’s arts and culture magazine, 34th Street, as well as Diversity Inclusion Strategic Consulting (DISC)’s Research Committee. Also, I love to read, with my favorite genres being fantasy and historical fiction. I’ve always loved that reading allows me to escape to worlds much different than my own. 

What are you hoping to accomplish through this internship?

I’m hoping to learn more about local government, refine my communication skills, and connect with the many diverse communities in Philadelphia. I look forward to stepping out of my comfort zone in this role and taking on new responsibilities relating to language accessibility and social media management!

Sign up to receive the Philadelphia Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA) newsletter. The newsletter typically includes information from OIA and our partners on Policies Employment and funding opportunities Programming Meetings Convenings.