Hi everybody, my name is Dillion! I’m a rising sophomore at Princeton University, and I plan to major in the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs. I was originally supposed to study abroad this summer, but once the pandemic restricted international travel—and plenty of other aspects of life—I started exploring internship and volunteer opportunities. I saw an offering from the Sextant Foundation and was instantly interested in their descriptions of human-centered design, creativity sessions, and industry workshops. It was lucky I saw the offering when I did because the initial information was due hours from when I scrolled past it. With some hectic organizing and emails, I got in touch and the rest is history!
The luck only continued as a Sextant Volunteer: I met eleven amazing people, nine of whom are fellow Princeton students, and have gotten to work both in the Sextant Development Team and on another project focusing on the intersection of race in the architecture, engineering, and construction fields. From overhauling the foundation’s website to designing protocols for transitioning to work in the United States, this summer has been a tremendous opportunity to gain first-hand experience in the nonprofit world and work collaboratively for a good cause.
When I’m not volunteering at Sextant, I enjoy reading, writing, and, only occasionally, drawing. This summer I’m trying my best to read a couple books a month and review some Mandarin before classes start up again!
What is the most exciting part/moment working as a reimagining volunteer?
The most exciting part of being a Reimagining Volunteer is the freedom we have in setting our own goals and agendas for both our projects and our personal growth. I’ve been grateful for the opportunity for hands-on experience in this field. And of course, the other Volunteers are all amazing people, and I’m glad I got to meet them!
What principles/goals did you have when redesigning the website?
The website has turned out to be a very time-consuming project, and for good reason: the older version was not doing justice to the mission of the Foundation, our volunteers, or our community. When we decided that it needed to be overhauled, we were very cognizant of telling the story of the Sextant Foundation, particularly by presenting both our mission and impact in an approachable way.
What are some of the findings from your secondary project?
We are just beginning to ideate around the challenges concerning representation and mentorship opportunities for employees in the industry, particularly employees of color.
What is the most challenging task so far?
The most challenging task so far has been managing the schedules and projects of several different teams. Although it is so rewarding to work within different contexts and with different ideas, it is a challenge to juggle all of it.
How do you see your work relevant to your academic goals?
Part of my academic aspiration, and part of the reason I applied to Princeton, is to get a well-rounded education, and I think working in a field in which I had no prior experience and with so many interesting ideas has helped me get closer to that aspiration this summer. In particular, the nonprofit sector has always interested me, and getting so much (virtual) hands-on experience has been a great experience.
Share with us a hobby you developed during social distancing.
Cooking, although I’m not sure anybody else would call it that.