For the past two years Rachel Alatalo ’18 has maintained a personal blog as a way to practice writing and acquire a unique voice. “When I came out as bisexual a year ago, it was a natural progression to start including LGBTIQ issues when I wrote about my life,” said Alatalo, a creative writing major.
As she looked for a summer internship, Alatalo applied to organizations that would provide opportunities to develop her writing. But when it came to OutRight Action International, an LGBTIQ human rights, non-governmental organization (NGO) based in New York City, there were additional factors that made the job a perfect fit for her.
“Contributing to an LGBTIQ-focused NGO for a summer would let me do a lot more for a community I belong to and am concerned about than I had been doing,” she said. “And, with current events being what they are, a career writing for an NGO seems just as relevant to me as any other involving writing.”
At OutRight, Alatalo works with the Communications Department to prepare press releases and statements, contact journalists regarding articles and interviews, and research and write blog posts for the company website and other publications. The New York team is fairly small, with around 15 full-time employees and four summer interns.
On a typical day, she conducts research for upcoming statements, press releases or blog posts. This involves checking relevant global media outlets, monitoring activist and organization work and researching OutRight’s own past work and communications about the assigned topic. Sometimes, Alatalo generates drafts for statements that will be given by OutRight’s executive director.
When she is not researching, Alatalo can often be found blogging, writing posts credited to OutRight about current events and company work with other regional teams. She also works on her own self-designed posts. “The writing process for me usually involves getting all of the research out of the way first, and then working through several drafts before sending something along to my supervisor for approval,” said Alatalo.
Concentration: creative writing and Hispanic studies double major
Hometown: Wilmington, Mass.
High School: Wilmington High School
“Submitting articles to media outlets and watching our list of mentions and quotations in other articles grow serves as proof that we’re not publishing for a void. It’s a reminder that all our work here in New York is contributing to a larger fight,” said Alatalo.