Interning with Project Over Zero By Noah Zussman (A’20)

by tuftsigl
Nov 30

Through IGL’s summer opportunities program, I had the opportunity to intern at Project Over Zero this past summer. Project Over Zero is a small organization that was founded to harnesses the power of communication to prevent, resist, and rise above identity-based violence and other forms of group-targeted harm. A partner-driven organization, Over Zero works with community leaders, civil society organizations, and researchers across relevant disciplines to incubate and learn from interventions, draw connections across silos and geographies, and advance the field’s collective knowledge. Over Zero’s trainings and design tools - informed by science and practice - support our partners to take effective action.

I was very lucky to have joined such an amazing team. Since the organization was very small, I was able to work with each of the members roughly equally. The four-person team consisted of: Rachel, the Founder and Executive Director, has a background in using communication to prevent violent conflict; Sam, the Regional Director for the U.S., has a background in leveraging strategic communications for social change; Laura, the Regional Director for Europe, has a background in the relationship between governance, conflict and peacebuilding; and Dr. Argo, the Director of Research and Field Advancement, has an academic background in studying violence. The combined expertise of all four created an environment where I was really able to absorb and learn a lot from each and every one of them. I was also lucky in that I got to work with another amazing intern who I already knew before this internship, Meera. While we had our individual work to complete, Meera and I had an opportunity to collaborate together on group projects. It was very nice to have a familiar face as a part of the team, and I was thrilled to further get to know Meera over the course of the internship.

Though the organization is itself small, it has an outsized impact. After working at both medium-sized and large organizations, it was nice to be able to join a tight team. I found that there are many benefits to joining a smaller organization, including great communication and planning, increased individual responsibility, and amazing teamwork. I was able to make an impact on the organization almost immediately after starting the internship. This was a great change of pace from my previous experience working with some larger organizations. One of the big projects I worked on over the summer was creating case studies for a rapid-response Covid-19 guide that was going to be disseminated to our partner organizations. I also had the chance to code a nationwide immigration survey from the American Immigration Council, a partner organization. In addition, I provided in-depth research to ongoing projects relating to the upcoming election. Overall, I was very happy with my experience at Over Zero. The work was engaging, I expanded my knowledge around communications, resiliency, and community building, and I was a part of an incredibly driven, passionate, and fun team!


Alumna Rachel Brown and colleagues Lauran Livingston, Dr. Nichole Argo Ben-Itzhak, and Samantha Owens provided this remote internship.


This internship was supported through the generosity of the Cummings Foundation.