Hello! My name is Hannah Jensen, and I am the fall intern for Teens Dream. My experience here at the Global Co Lab was not what I expected but in the best way possible. In high school, I learned about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); however, I did not realize at the time how much they would eventually change my perspective on the world. Working at the Co Lab has taught me that these goals are reachable, and after meeting all these incredibly passionate teens, I am confident that the next generation will make it their priority.

Because of this focus on the SDGs, the Co-Lab works with all areas of interests. Regardless of what I was working on, I felt that my interests were actively engaged. For instance, as a sophomore at Pepperdine University on the health tract, I was originally drawn to the Co Lab for its work with the UN SDG #3: Good Health and Well-Being. During my time here, I was given the opportunity to explore this passion in many ways. I attended a luncheon on the dangers of plastics towards health which made me much more cautious about plastic use. One of my most memorable experiences was attending a symposium entitled, “Implications of Conflict and Emergencies for Global Health” held by the Global Health Interest Group at the NIH. I heard fascinating talks ranging from the spread of disease to the need to train mental health specialists in war zones. In addition, one of our teen winners is working with her mentor from the National Alliance of Mental Illness to open up a dream hub on mental health. I am so excited to see what the mental health dream hub accomplishes and am truly grateful for being a part of it.

Each day at the Co-Lab is different. It teaches you to be flexible and proactive. The beginning of my time here was largely focused on the annual celebration. This meant making sure that the winners had travel to DC, had host families to stay with, and mentors to meet with. After that, I worked on getting the next video contest out and helped build the platform for the incoming dream hubs; however, my favorite part of this internship had to be working with teens committed to making the world a better place. I learned that teens have really great ideas on how to improve the world, but they do not often have the resources to do so. The focus of Teens Dream is to encourage teens to pursue their passions and make sure their voice is heard. I am really proud of what this organization is accomplishing.