The ADL Mountain States Region thanks its 2023 Summer interns, Marlie Cohen and Josh Wigler. Marlie has been working in person in the regional office in Denver, while Josh has been participating remotely from Great Neck, New York. Read their reflections of their summer internships below to learn what ADL means to them, what they accomplished, and what’s next. They’ve both earned the gratitude of the entire regional team!
If you or someone you know are interested in applying for an ADL internship, click here! We are currently accepting applications for the 2023-24 academic year.
My ADL Internship by Marlie Cohen
As a young Jewish person growing up in a predominantly white, Christian and conservative town, I didn’t know why my peers treated me as if I were an anomaly – though, in a way, I kind of was: I was typically the only Jewish kid anybody knew. People were fascinated by me, but as my peers and I grew up, their interest quickly turned into hatred. Hearing someone I had gone to school with for many years make a “joke” about sticking me in an oven was jarring and reminded me just how isolated I was from everyone else. From then, I didn’t like telling anyone I was Jewish. I didn’t want them to hate me for something I couldn’t control.
Time went on, and as everyone else seemed to stick to their hateful ways, I developed a sense of justice. I funneled my anger and resentment toward educating myself and others, intent on making it known that I wasn’t going to tolerate any antisemitism in any form from anybody. In addition, I learned about civil rights and advocacy, not just for myself, but for the beliefs of others like me.
I didn’t expect to be taking on such an important job this summer, but when I discovered the summer internship at ADL, I knew I had to take it. Not only has this experience completely reinforced my beliefs, but it has given me a sense of weight and importance – the work I’m doing isn’t just affecting my small hometown, it’s affecting the world.
This summer, I’ve had the immense pleasure of working with so many amazing people on some incredible projects, including helping to organize the annual Supreme Court Review and the Summer Associate Research Program, research potential speakers for next year’s Governor’s Holocaust Remembrance Program and more. On top of that, I’ve created marketing materials promoting the Words to Action Program in Europe, working with other ADL employees across the globe to help educate young Jewish people on how to address and fight antisemitism.
After my internship concludes, I will be starting my second year at Colorado State University, where I will continue to work toward a bachelor’s degree in history. With my passion for advocacy and civil rights, I hope to one day become a professor and teach other young adults the importance of fighting for what’s right, as well as how organizations like ADL have impacted history.
Thank you so much to all those who have supported and worked with me this summer, including (but not limited to) my supervisor and Senior Associate Regional Director Sue Parker Gerson, my fellow intern Josh Wigler, and the rest of the ADL Mountain States team.
Interning at ADL Mountain States – Josh Wigler
Prejudice and hate confront us all differently – it can manifest subtly and overtly, close or far, unsuspectingly or predictably. As a Jew, antisemitism made scarring incursions in my life. Despite having grown up in New York, an area with a concentrated Jewish population where Jews have learned over the past 100+ years to congregate for their necessary political, social, and economic survival and to maintain a sense of self-determination and identity, I still faced antisemitism. Students would hurl historically common insults and even teachers would propagate antisemitic lies about Jews and the Jewish state.
Now, the internet transmits messages and ideas at unfathomable speeds and without borders, fostering a closer but simultaneously more divided society. As such, antisemitism, an unquestionably borderless infection, has proliferated, finding especially fertile ground in schools. At college, I joined Jewish organizations and participated in extracurricular activities. These spaces were where I felt most comfortable in my identity in the campus environment, which has become, as most young Jews know, hostile and unwelcoming. I quickly took to the activist arena, joining my university’s pro-Israel club and eventually assuming the role of president; concurrently, I joined the undergraduate student government to advocate for Jewish interests and improved treatment of the community.
With graduation approaching, I contemplated my summer plans. Knowing that ADL has long stood as a bulwark of defense against antisemitism, I became interested in joining as a summer intern and excitedly accepted an internship with the Mountain States Region. Over the past few months, I have had the pleasure of contributing to interesting and significant projects and interacting with colleagues across ADL. Under the guidance and partnership of many ADL team members, specifically Senior Associate Regional Director Sue Parker Gerson, I worked on projects from the annual Supreme Court Review (where legal scholars discuss touchstone Court decisions from the past year) to the Summer Associate Research Program (where law school students submit memos broaching legal questions relevant to the ADL’s work for competition). I am most proud of my work crafting an exhaustive table of all reported antisemitic incidents in the Mountain States Region from 1979 until today from the ADL National Library’s archives, where I was able to research in person. Along the way I learned tangible skills interfacing with various software and conducting investigative research.
After my internship concludes, I will begin attending USC Gould School of Law in Los Angeles this August as I seek to continue defending against antisemitism and all forms of prejudice both personally and in my professional career. I want to thank ADL and everyone with whom I have worked and learned from this incredible internship.