The Beijing Olympic Games may be over, but the Olympic spirit shows no signs of waning at Team Darfur. Farah Zaman (HSS '09) can attest to that. She spent her summer interning at the organization — an international coalition of athletes committed to ending the crisis in the Sudanese region.
It was the perfect opportunity for Zaman, who wants to continue her family's tradition of selecting a career aimed at helping others. A decision science major at Carnegie Mellon, Zaman is passionate about improving the situation in Darfur.
"I come from a family of physicians, but I am primarily interested in social science and the law as a way of helping people," said Zaman, the recipient of a Friedman Internship that made her internship experience possible. "I believe that the status of refugees is a policy issue that can be improved through attention and proper management."
Through Team Darfur, Zaman worked on a daily basis with Olympic Gold medalist speed skater Joey Cheek, who co-founded the organization, and Martha Heinemann Bixby, co-founder of the student-led division of the Genocide Intervention Network, as well as other internationally known personalities.
"Our message took me through the closed doors of a Senate subcommittee hearing to the open podium at the National Press Club and a range of other unique and inspiring experiences," she explained.
Zaman said the most exciting part of working in the nation's capital was the dedication she was surrounded by every day.
"Despite a never-ending to-do list and the need to adapt to a constantly fluctuating global arena, there was a sincere and pervasive dedication to the cause of bringing awareness — and hopefully an end — to the suffering of the people in Darfur," Zaman explained.
Carnegie Mellon Trustee Cynthia Friedman established the Milton (E '47) and Cynthia Friedman Washington Internships in memory of her husband, an alumnus of the university.
"I think it is important in today's global world and economy that the best and brightest young people, such as Carnegie Mellon students, have the opportunity to develop a solid understanding of the political process," Friedman said.
She explained, "These internships give the students a chance to see Washington from the inside and cultivate the skills and connections they will need to have a real impact when they go out into the world."
Zaman feels that internships like hers are critical in supporting a commitment toward work that is meaningful.
"If for no other reason, opportunities like the Friedman Internship are crucial as a means of encouragement," Zaman said. "Carnegie Mellon possesses a great wealth of unique skills, interests and ideas. Programs like the Friedman Internship allow these elements to come to fruition."