Intern Spotlight: Sarah Fleming

While pursuing her master's degree in social work, Sarah is helping create healthier relationships in the community.

While pursuing her master’s degree in social work, Sarah is coordinating a Neighborhood House program and helping create healthier relationships in the community.

Graduate student and Neighborhood House intern Sarah Fleming didn’t always know where her social work career would take her. Now, she’s not only a Neighborhood House program coordinator, but also an award recipient of the Women’s Philanthropic Leadership Circle, with future plans in domestic violence prevention.

After graduating from Macalester College with a degree in psychology, Sarah started pursuing her Masters of Social Work at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Having developed a passion for preventing domestic and sexual violence in college, she then put her skills and passions into practice working at Casa de Esperanza, a Latina organization in St. Paul serving those who have experienced domestic abuse.

Sarah then arrived at Neighborhood House as an intern in fall 2016 and worked with the Youth Leadership programs. While her career experiences and expectations were mostly rooted in violence prevention, she was thrilled to interact with teens through the Celita Center and learn alongside members of the Youth Leadership team. As a result, she gained newfound perspectives on how to best meet the needs of different age groups and community members.

“Be open to new experiences,” says Sarah. “At first, I had narrower expectations on what directions my career would take me. Then you realize that everything–parents, teens, sexual health, healthy relationships, domestic violence–is connected.”

When the school year came to an end, Sarah was nominated by her U of M advisor for an award from the Women’s Philanthropic Leadership Circle, a group dedicated to investing in outstanding women graduate students and faculty at the U of M College of Education and Human Development. As one of three Master’s recipients, she will be using the award to help with her education costs and continue developing skills to best meet the needs of St. Paul’s community.

For the rest of the summer, Sarah will be continuing her internship as the program coordinator for the It’s That Easy (ITE) program at Neighborhood House. In this capacity, she will be helping parent educators have meaningful conversations on sexual health and sexuality with their families. Afterwards, she will return to Casa de Esperanza in the fall to intern with their youth programs, applying all of her new experiences towards building healthier relationships in the community.


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By Peng Thao