Q&A with
 and Students

The following are questions asked by Hornstein and answered by fieldwork supervisors and alumni who describe their fieldwork experiences during their time in the program.

Wendy Joering and Daniel Larson

Jewish Alliance of
Greater Rhode Island 

Daniel Larson, MA/MBA'17 (above right) did his fieldwork at the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island in Providence, RI during the summer of 2016. His supervisor was Wendy Joering (above left).

Fieldwork Supervisor:
Wendy Joering,
Director of Membership and Community Engagement

Q: What did you know about the Hornstein Program before Daniel came on board as an intern?

Honestly, I did not know anything about the program before Daniel came on as an intern.

Q: What was your impetus for accepting Daniel as an intern? (That is, were you undergoing any significant changes that made having an intern especially helpful? Or did you have special projects that benefited from some extra help?)

We had a special project that we knew we could use the assistance on. Daniel was a tremendous help. 

Q: I’ll ask Daniel about the specifics of his project and/or responsibilities, but you will be better able to tell me if, and how, his work moved the organization forward toward your goals.

Daniel was an incredible asset to our team, in helping this project stay on schedule. Daniel was an excellent self-starter and he was able to increase our productivity because of his eagerness and enthusiasm to help and learn.

Q: Is there any specific advice you have for other organizations that are considering hiring a Hornstein student intern.

Our experience having Daniel as a Hornstein intern was extremely positive. I would encourage any organization that has the opportunity to hire an intern to do so. Not only did it help our project move forward in a timelier manner, but having Daniel on board helped to give fresh a perspective to the project we were working on.  Daniel helped us tremendously, and I believe we were able to help give Daniel a positive experience in the Jewish communal world. 

Daniel Larson MA/MBA'17

Q: How did you learn about the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island and what prompted you to do your fieldwork there?

As a scholarship recipient of the Jewish Federations of North America, my Hornstein fieldwork placement involved placement at a member Jewish Federation. With that established, I had a productive conversation with Professor Mark Rosen, who was both my advisor and the Hornstein fieldwork advisor, and we chatted about options at Jewish Federations across New England. Upon learning about the Jewish Alliance, I was excited to work in a new city and new community, in an organization that was a so-called “functional Federation,” that both served as a Jewish Federation and as a Jewish Community Center. Professor Rosen helped connect me to the organization and we traveled to Providence to meet with internal stakeholders from the Alliance to talk about what fieldwork there would look like.

Q: How did you manage the logistics of working in Providence?

At the time, I was living in Cambridge and so I drove to Providence most days for my fieldwork. The travel was around an hour or so, each way, and I was fortunate that I was often able to work from home as needed. All in all, the logistics were pretty easy!

Q: What projects did you work on and/or duties were you responsible?

My fieldwork entailed research on various initiatives that the Jewish Alliance sought to modernize and/or expand, including new leadership development programs for lay leadership and campaign allocations processes. My main project was compiling data for an outcomes and output retrospective on the state of financial insecurity in Jewish Rhode Island. This was designed to illustrate how the community had responded to a community study conducted by the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, that identified ways in which the Jewish community could tackle Jewish poverty. My work directly contributed to the final report that was made available to the community.

Q: How were you challenged (professionally and/or personally)?

In my fieldwork placement I was challenged to learn a great deal about a community that I did not know, in a very short amount of time. That involved building new relationships with community members and staff at the Jewish Alliance. Since every Jewish community is different, I needed to immerse myself in understanding the nuances of Jewish Rhode Island, in order to best inform my work.

Q: By way of parting advice to current students, please review the objectives listed above and recount a specific fieldwork experience you had that was especially meaningful.

Part of what made my experience at the Jewish Alliance particularly meaningful was the fact that as part of my fieldwork, I was invited into important conversations about day-to-day organizational operations that expanded the quality of my fieldwork experience. I was made to feel part of the team, over and above the extent of what was included in my fieldwork. From decision-making processes, board meetings, to community celebrations, my input was valued and I was able to ask tough questions. These experiences highlighted the immersive nature of the fieldwork placement and told volumes about how a Hornstein education and perspective was valued by the Jewish Alliance.

Learn more about the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island>