On Friday, January 27, the Mathews Center traveled to our state’s capital to host the 2023 Jean O’Connor-Snyder Internship Program Intern Retreat! Over 40 students and faculty mentors from seven colleges, universities, and community colleges across the state met at the Figh Pickett Barnes School House in Downtown Montgomery to get to know each other, learn about the DMC, and share their upcoming projects for the Spring semester.

Students received a wealth of knowledge about the history of the Mathews Center, the use of dialogue in the classroom and beyond, and how their unique community projects contribute to the overall civic health of our state. Interns participated in a historic deliberative forum utilizing the Separate and Unequal in 1963 issue guide to get a sense of the deliberative process and how to be a reliable moderator. In a team-building exercise, each school crafted its own coat of arms to represent its values, goals, and unique sense of community.

Together, we enjoyed tours of some of Montgomery’s significant cultural attractions, including the Alabama Voices gallery at the Alabama Department of Archives and History and the Equal Justice Initiative‘s Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice. 

Ten former JOIP alums joined us for dinner to share their experiences as interns and give the current students advice on their summer projects. We were also honored to bring back distinguished JOIP alumni Marian Royston and Hannah White for a question-and-answer panel with the students. Hannah and Marian described how their involvement in JOIP made lasting positive changes on them both professionally and personally. We are extra thankful to our JOIP alumni for continuing to be outstanding partners of the Mathews Center!

The DMC is grateful for our partnerships with each university facilitated through the JOIP program and looks forward to being a part of their programming in 2023. Stay tuned on the blog for intern-authored articles coming this summer as part of the Civic Dispatch series!