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Our intern program seeks to open the minds of highly motivated students to the realities of incarceration in the U.S. and beyond. Inspired by the compelling stories of people inside, our interns report feeling a lasting motivation to continue advocating for the rights of incarcerated persons long after their time with us.
Our interns correspond with and reach out to our incarcerated writers, manage our social media channels, design and publish content for our website, write grants, fundraise for our organization, create newsletters, and more!
Humans of San Quentin is continually and eagerly recruiting high school and college-aged interns local to Marin County and the greater Bay Area.
Want to get involved?  Send us your resume and cover letter to get involved!
Contact Us to Apply Now

Meet Our Interns

Parker Rothbart

Head of Correspondence

Parker is a sophomore at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. She has been a part of Humans of San Quentin since the fall of 2021 when she wanted to do more in the field of criminal justice after participating in the restorative justice organization, Youth Transforming Justice (YTJ). She found working with kids in the justice system gratifying but aspired to support a larger community in the criminal justice system and correspond with those already incarcerated. She heard about Humans of San Quentin, emailed Diane, and was immediately welcomed into the supportive and loving community of HoSQ. She aspired to learn more about the injustices in the system and support those who are wrongfully convicted, so she and HoSQ were a natural fit. After working for years at HoSQ, she was promoted to Head Intern and was in charge of training any new interns. Eventually, she was also able to go into prison and be a part of Inside Team meetings.

At Vanderbilt, Parker is the co-chair of the Community Engagement and Advocacy Committee for VandyVotes. She is on the Campaigns Committee for the Vanderbilt Prison Project. She is the Props Master for Vanderbilt Off-Broadway and is on the Club Golf team. Finally, in her free time, she plays piano, reads a lot, and can binge TV shows with astonishing speed.

Aanika Sawhney

Head of Social Media

Aanika Sawhney is a senior at Redwood High School. She was reminded of the complexities of local institutions through Humans of San Quentin’s work and is passionate about the intersection of journalism and local impact. She was struck to learn about the zero percent recidivism rate at San Quentin for those who participated in the media center and is inspired by the unique journeys shared by many previously and currently incarcerated people. Aanika believes everyone has a meaningful voice and should be given the opportunity to share their experiences with others. Her work as a journalist has consisted of print, online, and visual media as a news and opinion editor for her high school newspaper, The Redwood Bark. She is also the executive producer for her TV and Media course. She is interested in social justice initiatives and leads the Environmental Action Club and the Black Indigenous Women of Color group at her school. Additionally, Aanika is a member of the Tamalpais Union High School District Racial Justice Youth Advisory task force.

Aanika has been a part of her leadership class for three years. As secretary for Redwood’s Film Club, she is a connoisseur of creative media. She loves to spend her free time at the beach or enjoying live music.

Madison Herrero

Head of Outreach

Madison Herrero is a rising senior at Redwood High School. As a junior, through her Student Led Anti Racism Movement (SLARM) class, she was offered the opportunity to tour San Quentin. She heard the stories of four currently incarcerated men. This experience changed her perspective on the current punitive justice system. Madison feels everyone should hear the stories of those silenced behind walls. She has been able to do this with Humans of San Quentin and enjoys every minute of it.

Madison loves to read and hang out with friends. She also volunteers with the Marin Youth Court as an advocate and peer facilitator. She leads the writing and editing team for the Youth Wellness Campaign.

Anika Goyal

College Intern

Anika is currently a freshman at the University of Michigan planning on majoring in Public Policy and Economics. She is involved with a public policy newspaper and tutors local refugee students. In high school, Anika was an Editor-in-Chief for her school paper and also led a club based on humanizing the immigration process at the US-Mexico border. Anika was interested in interning with Humans of San Quentin after doing a program in Chicago regarding the Juvenile Justice system. In her free time, Anika loves to dance, go on hikes with her dog, and go to concerts!

Lauren Olsen

High School Intern

Lauren is a current junior at Redwood High School. She is currently in the school journalism program and loves to write. She is an avid sailor, sailing on the Redwood Sailing Team. She loves to explore Marin County, through hiking.

Lauren is also passionate about art, she does the art for the Redwood Bark. She is so happy to be interning at Humans of San Quentin and is very passionate about criminal justice.

Judi Lee

High School Intern

Judi is a junior at the Urban School of San Francisco and lives in Mill Valley. Taking the Voices of Incarceration class at her school taught her about how silenced and isolated so many people feel throughout their incarceration. This class inspired her to get involved in social justice concerning the prison system with HoSQ. Judi is committed to making people feel heard and appreciated despite their incarceration. She’s excited to be a part of this team because of HoSQ’s outreach and hard work toward sharing everyone’s unique story. 

Another passion that Judi has is environmental justice, and she has done conservation work through volunteering. Outside of HoSQ, she is the captain of her school’s swim team and swims for a club team. She also plays volleyball for her school, mountain bikes, and does triathlons. In her free time, Judi loves to read, hike, teach swim lessons, spend time with her friends, and listen to music.

Helena Pflaum

High School Intern

Helena Pflaum is a rising senior at Marin Academy and has worked at Humans of San Quentin since January 2023. Outside of volunteering, she is a columnist for her school newspaper, The 1600, practicing singing with her voice coach, prepping for her independent study next involving the literary genre of magical realism, crafting culinary treats in her kitchen, working on her current creative writing project, and she loves to daydream.

Fun Facts: She frequently dreams in the third person and likes to get into other characters’ heads. Her middle school obsession was the Sony mixtape she got for her birthday.

Leila Acevedo

High School Intern

Leila Acevedo is a rising junior at Redwood High School. Through her Student Led Anti Racism Movement (SLAM) class, she was offered the opportunity to tour San Quentin State Prison. This experience changed her perspective on the justice system and the consequences of it. Leila believes more awareness should be spread about the current system, and she enjoys doing this through Humans of San Quentin.

Leila enjoys hanging out with her friends, being outdoors and going to the beach. She works at Mighty Pilates at their front desk and volunteers with Peace Ambassador Leadership Program to help spreading awareness on bullying and suicide prevention.

Emerson Swift

High School Intern

Emerson Swift is a sophomore at Tamalpais High School. She is interested in journalism, history, politics, and poetry. She is involved in her school newspaper, The Tam News and is the editor of the youth magazine FastForward. Emerson enjoys participating in Model UN and registering and pre-registering students to vote as a Student Elections Ambassador. She loves interning at Humans of San Quentin because she understands the importance of giving everyone the platform to share their voice. She is excited to learn about and get more involved in criminal justice.

In her free time, she reads articles, writes articles, plays soccer and field hockey, and hangs out with her cute golden retriever, Scout.

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