Courtesy of Avalon Fenster grad

Incoming law student Avalon Fenster, known as @internshipgirl online, shares content to 150,000+ TikTok and Instagram followers.

June 28, 2024

@internshipgirl: How Incoming Law Student Avalon Fenster Uses Social Media to Foster Educational Equity

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Avalon Fenster grad, also known as @internshipgirl on Instagram and TikTok, has landed over 12 internships with Fortune 50 companies, national nonprofits and congressional offices in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate.

But beyond traditional accomplishments, Fenster works to share accessible, professional advice with young students across the world, so that they can reach similar heights.

With over 160,000 followers on Instagram and over 155,000 on TikTok, she is now expanding her network to Cornell Law School.

When Fenster was running social media accounts for organizations such as Pay Our Interns — a group that enforces paid internships countrywide in order to broaden students’ access to a professional career — she saw online the overwhelming demand among young people to learn about early career development.        

“There was no other real space online, where a young person was sharing her own personal statements and her own experiences, [and] educating in a relatable way, giving honest, real advice,” Fenster said.

To fill this gap, Fenster created her TikTok account during her sophomore year of college at Barnard College at Columbia University. She aims to share relatable pre-professional content and guide young women in navigating their early careers.

Within two weeks, she gained 10,000 followers and received dozens of responses from young women across the world expressing their appreciation for her videos that made career advice highly accessible. She experienced a similar level of positive feedback and popularity on Instagram. 

“As I started to grow, and as I started to change and learn, my platform also started to change and learn,” Fenster said. “I just graduated from college, so as I’ve been giving this advice, I’ve also been in real time, going through these processes.” 

As her platform grew, she began to move her education advocacy efforts beyond social media, collaborating with professional networking platform Handshake, productivity application Notion, United Nations leaders and more. 

As a 15-year-old, Fenster began learning from successful professionals on Linkedin while navigating her early career. She also credits her ambition and drive to her mother, who pushed her to found the March for our Lives Long Island chapter soon after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in February 2018.  

“Every time there was an opportunity for me to speak about things I cared about, she would always push me to do it,” Fenster said. “She would always tell me to find the confidence in me and to go and put myself out there, learn something new and advocate for what was right.”

Fenster said that as a young, first-generation American woman, she feels an immense privilege to have the educational and professional opportunities she has had so far, and realized how valuable her content is after communicating with young women across the world.

“A lot of times we forget — especially in the bubbles that are like Columbia and I’m sure like Cornell — that the lives that we have, the education we have access to [and] the networks we have access to are so unlike what 99.999999 percent of other women have access to,” Fenster said. “The tools I was [posting] for a lot of these young women were a lifeline.”

While assessing her account analytics, Fenster discovered that over 90 percent of her followers were women, hailing from more than 100 countries.

With this audience in mind, Fenster sought to target what she saw as an insufficient amount of career support provided for many women post-graduation — both for high school and college graduates — by continuing to share educational resources. 

“I can’t go [around the world] and give [young women] absolutely everything they need to evade these substantial obstacles, but the least that I can do is post free resources that are going to reach these women, [so] that they can use them in ways that they’re able to use them,” Fenster said.

An incoming student at the Law School, Fenster plans to continue to grow her platform as she learns more about intersections between law, social media and online advocacy.

“If there’s not dedicated advocates, dedicated legal experts, that are working on digital transformation issues around the world in support of making sure that women are benefiting from these changes, then women are not going to benefit from these changes,” Fenster said.

She was attracted to the Law School’s international law and interdisciplinary tech programs, along with the opportunity to relocate from New York City to Ithaca.  

“I’m really excited to be in a smaller rural community where I can dive a little bit deeper into how we can remove some of the obstacles that come from geographic barriers that people face based on where they live,” Fenster said. 

At Cornell, she intends to focus on her academics while developing new content, continuing advocacy efforts and offering insights into navigating a career in law as a young person. She also plans to include content about law school and post-graduation life. 

Surrounded by a new educational environment, Fenster is also looking to feature young women at Cornell who are actively pursuing their goals and passions on her platform.

Though Fenster has not yet begun classes on the Hill, her content has already inspired current Cornellians.

Lucia Caravella ’26 decided to follow Fenster because of the creator’s transparency in sharing both her successes and mistakes throughout her college career.

“She delivers tried-and-true methods that I feel confident learning from,” Caravella said. “I feel really grateful for the resource she’s created for young women like me.” 

Katrina Greene ’27 first discovered Fenster’s account on TikTok feed a year ago through a post sharing how beneficial networking and self-advocacy were for Fenster’s future as a first-generation pre-law student. Greene finds Fenster inspiring due to her desire to always want to help others.

“She never gatekeeps interesting projects and opportunities because she knows how important it is to support other women of color,” Greene said. “Seeing all the events and spaces that she was invited to on her account is so inspiring because it allows me to see that there is a space for me, but first I must create that space.” 

Through Fenster’s platform, Greene discovered and utilized horizontal networking. This technique, which Fenster continuously encourages, refers to young professionals going beyond connecting with older, more established leaders — networking vertically — and additionally branching out to peers and colleagues among their age range. 

“Some of the most amazing and meaningful opportunities I’ve had as a young person have come from talking to my peers, talking to my friends, talking to people that I’m in clubs and organizations with [and] talking to upperclassmen,” Fenster said.

Greene shared a similar outlook on horizontal networking.

“Many of us limit ourselves when it comes to networking because of this preconceived notion that we should only talk to the people in charge,” Greene said. “However, connecting with students whose work is in line with your passion can help expand your academic and career journey and enhance your knowledge of that work.” 

Drawing from her experience as a Barnard student, Fenster suggests that students can overcome obstacles and gain opportunities through tapping into their college network.

“We don’t have professors [in post-graduate life] that are willing to do office hours with you every single week,” Fenster said. “You don’t have people that you live with who are doing the stuff that you want to do. That’s just not how life works after you graduate. So just take advantage of it.”

Clarification, June 30, 5:10 p.m.: This article has been updated to more clearly explain Avalon Fenster’s follower account on Instagram and TikTok.