IYF Intern Alumni Spotlight Series: Tavon Mei, Summer 2023 Intern

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T. Mei headshotAt IYF, we are committed to igniting the potential of young minds and cultivating future leaders. A cornerstone of these efforts is our internship program, designed to cultivate talent from underrepresented communities and diversify the international development field.

As part of our ongoing series highlighting the journeys of our interns, we're excited to share the insights and experiences of Tavon Mei, a former IYF intern whose passion for diversity and dedication to making a good change continues to inspire us all. Recently, IYF caught up with Tavon to learn about his current endeavors and how his internship has shaped his career. 

Tavon is now pursuing a degree in human physiology with a minor in psychology at Boston University. His commitment to social impact extends beyond academia, as seen by his leadership position in the Graphic Medicine Club, where he hosts monthly reading clubs to promote awareness of underserved health issues. Here's what he shared:

What motivated you to apply for the internship program at IYF? 
Witnessing IYF’s dedication to empowering young people like me through their remarkable global impact inspired me to join and collaborate with such a passionate and dynamic team. With a background in aquatic education with diverse students and coursework that humanized the experiences and culture of people with disabilities, I was determined to leverage my knowledge and skills as an Inclusion Intern to inform others of inclusivity practices and redesign ableist material.

How did your experience as an IYF intern influence your career trajectory?
My experience as an Inclusion Intern with IYF has heightened my sensitivity to diverse groups of people and increased my vigilance regarding current systems and structures. Through researching the guidelines for accessible web content creation, I have increased my awareness of the barriers faced by people with learning differences. As I progress in my career toward becoming a physician, I will continue to educate myself on and advocate for accessibility and inclusivity.

What are some key learnings or skills you gained during your internship?
After delivering multiple presentations, I learned to tailor and deliver content in a meaningful and engaging way while catering to the interest and knowledge levels of the audience. Between co-leading the intern team in executing a presentation on the benefits of TikTok, providing weekly updates with my supervisor, and bonding over team meetings, I improved my communication, project management, and leadership skills. Most importantly, I learned how to self-reflect, stay motivated, and grow personally and professionally.

Can you share any memorable moments or experiences from your time in the program?
One of the most memorable experiences I had was the presentation several interns and I delivered to IYF members. We had an enjoyable time organizing questionnaires to gauge members’ initial thoughts on TikTok, destigmatize stereotypes and myths, and encourage the use of TikTok for outreach and fundraising efforts. It was refreshing to witness the genuine interest of many IYF members in something we use daily, and certainly, a privilege to share our knowledge about it.

Where are you now in your career journey?
Currently, I am a sophomore at Boston University studying Human Physiology with a minor in Psychology. Aside from academics, I am part of the Graphic Medicine Club where I host weekly book club meetings to educate students on and bring awareness to overlooked health topics. Recently, I obtained an internship at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, assisting the team in perioperative anesthesia clinical research regarding post-operative delirium prevention.

Are there any words of advice or encouragement you would like to share with current/future IYF interns?
You guys are going to have an amazing time! It’s extremely fulfilling and motivating to be working with such an uplifting and supportive team and to be contributing to such transformative initiatives. I wish you all the best!

This finishes the Intern Alumni Spotlight Series for the season! Check out the amazing stories of our other remarkable alumni: Brandon, Collins, Kristi, and Megan. Their stories speak to the transforming experiences that await our interns.

Are you interested in joining our team and making a difference? Apply for our 2024 internship program!