ASU sociology student awarded Douglass-O'Connell Global Internship

Khadidiatou Dieng eager to use experiences for positive change in education

Portrait of Khadidiatou Dieng

Arizona State University sociology student Khadidiatou Dieng.

Arizona State University sociology student Khadidiatou Dieng was awarded the prestigious Douglass-O'Connell Global Internship, an eight-week journey to Ireland this summer that will expand her knowledge of Irish history and provide hands-on work experience.

Dieng, who is passionate about educational reform, stood out among hundreds of applicants from various universities. The internship encompasses invaluable opportunities for real-world work experience, networking and immersion in Irish history and culture.

Alongside 14 other interns, Dieng will receive full funding for internship placement, academic coursework, housing, airfare and a living stipend.

“It means the world, honestly,” Dieng said. “It made me think that I belong in places like this, that these opportunities are meant for me if I go out of my way to get them. I can do whatever I set my mind to.”

The program’s name pays homage to Frederick Douglass’ famed visit to Ireland in 1845, where he crossed paths with Irishman Daniel O’Connell. Nicknamed “The Liberator” for his campaigns for reform and Irish rights, O’Connell deeply inspired Douglass to fight for freedom, justice and equality.

Through collaboration with Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs, the African American Irish Diaspora Network and the Council on International Educational Exchange, the program honors the powerful legacies of these two bold historical leaders while equipping students like Dieng for professional success. 

“I’m looking forward to being in Ireland and learning what Irish culture has to offer,” Dieng said. “I’m Senegalese, which is West African, and I grew up with my traditions and customs, so this will be a complete 180 from what I grew up with. I’m excited to see all it entails.”

While in Ireland, Dieng will intern with a host company, engage in lectures on Irish history and culture, and participate in networking activities across Dublin, Cork and Belfast. 

Dieng is eager to draw wisdom from the profound accomplishments and legacy of Douglass and O’Connell, as well as learn the importance of diverse perspectives in global contexts. The student hopes to leverage these experiences to drive positive change alongside skills gained from her sociology coursework.

“I want to do sociology research within society, which is a general career path. The trip will help pique my interest in what specific demographics I want to work with,” Dieng said. “I moved around a lot and saw different demographics and minorities, especially in my own communities. I feel like more opportunities can be given to them and more programs can be provided. I want to do research that helps bring those disadvantages to light.

“This is going to be the first time I can apply it to real-world situations, and I’m excited to see how knowledgeable it will make me moving forward.”

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