Bryce Nishikawa '24 gets REAL Experience with TurnUp
Interning with TurnUp Youth Activism, a nonprofit grassroots organization working to increase voter turnout among US youth
By Bryce Nishikawa
My name is Bryce Nishikawa, and I am a junior sociology and ethnic studies double major. During a nine-week period from June to August 2022, I engaged in a remote internship with TurnUp Youth Activism. This non-profit grassroots organization works to empower the next generation of American youth to become active voters and encourage others to do the same. As an intern, I worked in teams to research critical obstacles to voter registration on the basis of race, class, geography, and more across the nation. I created and presented multiple deliverables and was able to critique and receive critiques on my research and presentation skills. I was also given multiple opportunities to conduct research on sociological topics of interest to me such as LGBTQ+ rights in the wake of the Supreme Court’s overturning of the landmark case Roe v Wade (1973).
In addition to research, TurnUp also partnered with multiple other grassroots organizations that hosted phone/text banking, letter/postcard writing, and speaker seminars that helped participants network with their community and encourage them to register to vote. I attended many of these sessions and was able to see the work that grassroots organizations do while also doing my part in writing and sending letters and postcards in preparation for the coming midterm elections.
I owe my positive experience with TurnUp in part to the SCU College of Arts and Sciences’ REAL program and my advisor Dr. Laura Nichols, who advised me to maximize my time with consideration to how my work would assist me in applications to graduate school or careers. Dr. Nichols’ expertise in the nonprofit sector helped me to reflect on what I learned and how I can use those skills regardless of whether or not I continue to work in the nonprofit sector. I am fortunate to have had this opportunity to network with peers who share similar interests with me and to explore this potential career pathway. I remain interested in public service and hope the REAL program can help other students explore future endeavors they are interested in.