More Blog Posts

More Pencil Blog Posts for original stories, interviews, event recaps, photo highlights and more!



This summer, PENCIL has been sharing blogs about our students and their experiences. This made us look back to our own first internship experiences, what drew us to work at PENCIL, the advice we have for our younger selves and current students as well as the importance of PENCIL’s mission of connecting students to success. We hope that you will enjoy these posts from our team, read more about it in PENCIL Personals and PENCIL Personals: Part II






Intern Personals: DIANE LACHHMAN

Meet Diane Lachhman. She was recently invited to participate on PENCIL’s Alumni Panel during our internship training session to share her experience as an intern with our newest cohort of students. In her blog post, she mentioned, “It was a great pleasure to inform as well as inspire students to take the initiative in pursuing an exceptional internship…” READ MORE






Intern Personals: CHRIS BRITO


Meet Chris Brito. He says: “I am currently the Program & Strategy Intern here at PENCIL where I will be supporting the facilitation and organization of the strategic planning process.” READ MORE

Age: 19
School: University at Albany (SUNY)
Last Internship: Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC)
Special Skills: Bilingual (Spanish, English), Financial Planning and Analysis Intern



Intern Personals: AJAY SARJOO


Meet Ajay Sarjoo. He says: “I plan to use this opportunity to develop my experience in the workforce by advancing my technical skills and problem solving abilities so that I can become a better computer scientist in the future.” READ MORE

Age: 19
School: Stony Brook University
Last Internship: This is Ajay’s first internship!
Special Skills: Java, Python, C++, SQL, HTML, CSS, Java Script, XML, Flask, R, Git



Intern Personals: SALIHA NOOR

Saliha Noor


Meet Saliha Noor. She says: “L4L and PENCIL are very important programs because they provide numerous students like me with opportunities that relate to our career and academic goals. ” READ MORE

Age: 20
School: John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Last Internship: Dr. Golda Johnson, MD clinic
Special Skills: Digital photography, drawing, writing, organizational skills, Urdu



Intern Personals: LUIS CASADO


Meet Luis Casado. He says: “Through the various pieces of training provided by both programs, I have learned skills such as time management, organization, and financial planning. ” READ MORE

Age: 19
School: Medgar Evers College (CUNY)
Last Internship: Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications
Special Skills: C++, Python, AutoCAD, Native Spanish speaker





We’re celebrating our volunteers during National Volunteer Week! Meet Maria, current volunteer and former PENCIL student, pictured above working in a classroom at PS 226. One of her favorite things about volunteering is that she can help students knock down barriers by exposing them to fundamental business concepts and showing them the power of building lasting relationships. Thank you to Maria and to all our partners and volunteers! Read more about her experience, here.

Occupation/Place of Employment: Associate at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.




Ariana Alessandri


In our latest Intern Personals, you’ll meet Ariana Alessandri. She says: “The PENCIL program is a great way to get your first internship and start exploring your career interests.” READ MORE

Age: 20
School: St. John’s University (Sophomore – Marketing major)
Last Summer Internship: Popwallet
Special Skills: Microsoft Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint), social media (Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat), teamwork/collaborative projects, written/verbal communication, time management


Intern Personals: ANGELA LI

Angela Li


Meet Angela Li. She says: “You really do form lasting connections. I still keep in touch with my mentors and supervisors from previous internships.” READ MORE

Age: 18
School: University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Last Summer Internship: Paul Hastings LLP
Special Skills: Research, Social Media Marketing, Public Speaking



Intern Personals: STEPHAN JOSEPH

Stephan Joseph


In our latest Intern Personals, you’ll meet Stephan Joseph. He says: “The beauty of the program is the availability of the resources to the students.” READ MORE

Age: 17
School: The Scholars’ Academy
Last Summer Internship: Allstate
Special Skills: Bilingual, good interpersonal skills with customer and other employees



Intern Personals: NADIA FERGUSON

Nadia Ferguson
Meet Nadia Ferguson. She says: “Put your best foot forward when you apply! PENCIL is actively working behind the scenes to help you find the best internship.” READ MORE

Age: 18
School: St. Mary’s Preparatory High School
Last Summer Internship: JobPose as Social Media Intern
Special Skills: Art – drawing, painting, design and strong organizational and leadership skills



Intern Personals: LAIZA PADILLA

Laiza Padilla
Meet Laiza Padilla. She says: “If you are hesitant, apply anyway! They’re very open about answering questions on various topics of discussion.” READ MORE

Age: 22
School: CUNY The City College of New York (Major: Media, Communication & Arts – Advertising & Public Relations)
Last Summer Internship: Her Agenda (2017), The New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner (2016)
Special Skills: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Lightroom, Canva, Photography



Intern Personals: NATHALIE PEREZ

Nathalie Perez
Meet Nathalie Perez of Hunter College. She says: “Everyone has the potential to be great and PENCIL/Ladders for Leaders will help you become just that.” READ MORE

Age: 20
School: Hunter College CUNY
Last Summer Internship: NYU Langone Health




Intern Personals: WENDY WANG

Wendy Wang
Meet Wendy Wang of Boston University. Her advice for interns is to ask questions and ask for guidance. READ MORE

Age: 18
School: Boston University
Last Summer Internship: Artists in Residence, Inc.





Intern Personals: AMY CHEN

Amy Chen
Amy Chen of Cornell University has some special advice for students thinking about applying to the Ladders for Leaders Internship Program? “Just do it!” READ MORE

Age: 19
School: Cornell University
Last Summer Internship: Marketing Intern at Thomson Reuters
Special Skills: Photography, dance, and social media marketing



Intern Personals: DASHAWN JONES

Our new “Intern Personals” column features Dashawn Jones with advice for those thinking about applying for our upcoming Internship Program season. We are looking forward to serving hundreds of high school and college students as a provider of the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development’s Ladders for Leaders Program. Students receive real-world work experience and have the opportunity to explore career options with training, mentoring, and résumé building, all while earning money toward their future. READ MORE

Age: 19
School: Baruch College
Last Summer Internship: A2IM (American Association for Independent Music)
Special Skills: Public Speaking, Mindbody Software, Booker Software, Social Media Advertising, Fashion DesignPencil Intern Jia Yu (Ivan) Chen

Pencil Intern Derek Conde Barranco

Pencil Intern Barbara Zhong

My Experience with Ladders for Leaders

Meet Sunny Chang, a sophomore at Brooklyn College who participated in the February Ladders for Leaders training in February 2017. Sunny serves as the Director of Publications for Brooklyn College Women in Business (BCWIB), a student group that strives to engage and empower women to excel in both their personal and professional endeavors through business education and hands-on experiences. She decided to share her experience with the internship program in an article for BCWIB.





Kingsley UdoyiFrom Instant Message to Meeting the Boss, Michael Bloomberg

At PENCIL, we believe in empowering each of our students with the skills and confidence they need and deserve as they begin new journeys through our PENCIL Internship Programs. This year we placed over 400 students in summer internships at businesses throughout the city. With so many students, it can sometimes be easy for meaningful moments to get tucked away beneath the many layers of work carried out tirelessly by our partners, students, and staff. However, every now and then we receive a welcoming reminder of why we do the work that we do.

PENCIL Fellow Kingsley Udoyi, 18, had the opportunity of interning at Bloomberg L.P. this summer and shared one of these moments with us.

BFAD EmpirePENCIL Boss for a Day 

On July 7th, hundreds of our students got to experience what it’s like to “be the boss” in PENCIL’s second annual BOSS FOR A DAY event.  The students visited companies from a variety of industries across New York City, including Ogilvy & Mather, Salesforce, A+E Networks, The New York Daily News and several others. BOSS FOR A DAY gives students the unique opportunity to speak with and hear from business leaders about their first workplace experiences as they prepare to join the workforce themselves, many doing so for the very first time.

One of these leaders is Larry Schreiber (President, Empire BlueCross BlueShield, Commercial Markets New York), who kicked off the day by giving students advice about volunteering, trust, teamwork and the importance of avoiding procrastination.

But students weren’t just listening to experts. They got the chance to see their work in action. PENCIL Fellow Sekou Neiaye talking to NY1, said, “I always watched NY1…[but] to actually be in a studio now [and], to see the people who make the magic behind the scenes, it’s amazing.” (NY1).

Some PENCIL Fellows even made their debut on the silver screen during their visits to PIX11 News and Fox5/MY9’s Chasing News Team.


Twitter Friday for Good

On Friday, May 6th PENCIL participated in Twitter’s #Friday for Good, a company-wide initiative that gets their staff out of the office for different volunteer opportunities.

19 Twitter staff volunteered at the Hudson HS for Learning Technologies, providing interview and networking practice with a group of over 30 students, from ninth through twelfth grades.


Gregg 3-29

PENCIL Names Gregg Betheil as New President

PENCIL, one of New York’s premier education nonprofits, today announced the appointment of Gregg Betheil, formerly PENCIL’s Chief Program Officer, as its new president. Mr. Betheil will be responsible for expanding PENCIL’s signature programs and bringing more business leaders and educators together to confront challenges facing New York City’s public school students. Click here to watch a video of Gregg talking about his background in New York City public education and his plans for PENCIL. Click here to read the entire press release.


2016 United Airlines NYC Half logoTeam PwC Runs NYC for PENCIL

A team of runners from PENCIL Partner PwC put the “fun” in fundraising as they raced to collect donations and medals from the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon, hosted by The New York Road Runners. Championed by PENCIL Board of Directors member Mitchell M. Roschelle, the PwC team raised over $26,000. The team ran 13.1 miles and raised over double the rate of $1,000 per mile.

Wow! Thank you, Team PwC! See a few photos from our Facebook below. And you can sign up to join Team PENCIL for the 2016 TCS NYC Marathon here!


PENCIL Board of Directors member Mitchell Roschelle shared a picture of his finisher's medal as a member of Team PwC who raised funds for PENCIL through the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon.

PENCIL Board of Directors member Mitchell Roschelle shared a picture of his finisher’s medal .

Team PwC running United NYC Half

Our brave and speedy Team PwC runners before the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon on March 20. Thanks, runners!











Gregg Betheil with guest at Deloitte + PENCIL Power BreakfastDeloitte empowers PENCIL, education leaders through workshops

Together for more than a decade, Deloitte and PENCIL collaborated through partnership to impact more than 15 schools, serving thousands of students and leveraging the power of hundreds of employee volunteers.

Through one of PENCIL’s Power Breakfasts, “Coffee & Conversation,” guests learned how Deloitte partners with PENCIL across all aspects of PENCIL programming: PENCIL School Partnerships, PENCIL Fellows, PENCIL Points of Engagement and leadership on PENCIL’s Board of Directors.

And within the same week, using the expertise of Deloitte’s Business Chemistry personality assessment, PENCIL invited school leaders to a professional development workshop where they learned how best to champion their teachers and employees. (Read more).


Ogilvy and PENCILOgilvy, students create paths to build future careers

Each school year, fifth- and sixth-grade students at PS 123 are invited to apply to be the Future Marketers of America program in the PENCIL School Partnership with PENCIL Partner Ogilvy & Mather, a premier international advertising agency.

And because the creative process and business cycle don’t take summer breaks, Ogilvy comes into the school year ready for its Future Marketers to take on a big client project.

This year, the PENCIL School Partnership features a campaign for IKEA furniture. (Read more).


PENCIL Fellows with LinkedInPENCIL Fellows click and connect with LinkedIn

Through the PENCIL Fellows Program, 200 more students are connecting, “endorsing” skills, researching colleges and universities and more through the professional social media platform, LinkedIn.

With our PENCIL Partner LinkedIn, volunteers from their New York headquarters spent an afternoon retooling PENCIL Fellows’ resumes after critiquing and supporting changes to them. (Read more)


PENCIL Power Breakfast Feb 2016PENCIL Power Breakfast: Building a Community of Change

PENCIL Partner Snohetta hosted our second Power Breakfast, sponsored by Trinity Wall Street, to discuss how the Downtown Initiative is bringing together businesses and schools to create meaningful business-public school student partnership opportunities that demonstrate the strength and impact of the downtown community.

Through the Downtown Initiative, PENCIL connects over 65 companies with more than 20 schools in lower Manhattan. Stories about the power of those partnerships—across years of development and in some cases, reengagements—helped the audience understand why PENCIL’s work is a necessary part in building a community of change in lower Manhattan. (Read more)


2016 PENCIL FellowsSecond-year PENCIL Fellows reconnect, begin 2016 training

It is hard to imagine summertime plans when there are sub-zero temperatures outside. But that’s exactly what nearly 60 New York City public high school seniors were thinking about when they showed up to the first training seminar for the 2016 PENCIL Fellows Program.

These weren’t any ordinary high school seniors looking to enhance college applications and résumés: These are second-year PENCIL Fellows. (Read more)


141Q & AmericanStudents cruise to STEM success with PENCIL Partner American Airlines

Businesses and organizations around the world sent out an “S.O.S.” to schools and students: They need bright, young minds to lead the way for advances in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). And through PENCIL, schools like IS 141Q The Steinway School, a middle school in Astoria, Queens, partner with companies like American Airlines to enhance classroom learning by applying those lessons and skills to the career world.

That’s a big 10-4 on school-business collaboration. (Read more)


Twitter and BK LatinPENCIL and Twitter team up for #FridayForGood

As part of Twitter’s global day of service, #FridayForGood, volunteers from Twitter’s New York headquarters helped students at Manhattan Business Academy and The Brooklyn Latin School practice interviewing skills. Opportunities like these fall under PENCIL’s Points of Engagement, tailored employee engagement opportunities offered by PENCIL to provide our corporate partners with single-day, student-centered volunteer events that directly impact New York City public schools.

Twitter featured a guest post about the day by our own Gregg Betheil, Vice President, Programs, on their blog. You can read a student-focused version here.


IMG_2577PENCIL Partner The New York Times hosts career panel for Hispanic Heritage Month

PENCIL Partner The New York Times hosted a career panel for three different high schools in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. This event highlights a new facet of PENCIL programming, PENCIL Points of Engagement, tailored employee engagement opportunities offered by PENCIL to provide our corporate partners with single-day, student-centered volunteer events that directly impact New York City public schools.

Students learned all about different roles that make The New York Times function on both a local, national and global scale for the heralded daily. See more photos on our Facebook.


IMG_38202015 PENCIL Power Breakfast

On September 30, PENCIL convened an opportunity for newer members of our network to learn more about how they can get involved. About 50 new and old PENCIL Partners gathered at PENCIL Partner Hyatt Times Square to share best practices and learn about new opportunities for corporate engagement through PENCIL’s programming. A panel discussion, led by PENCIL Executive Leadership Council member Tanya Amaya of PENCIL Partner BNY Mellon and PENCIL Partners Shadoe Tarver of Bloomberg LP and Chris Douglass of LinkedIn, ignited passionate and thoughtful discussions about business and civic involvement in New York City public schools.


2015 PENCIL Fellows Culminating Event

On August 13, we ended the summer with our 2015 PENCIL Fellows and their Business Mentor host companies at a wonderful evening at NYU. Steve Meringoff sponsored a Scholarship Competition for the Fellows and awarded six prizes to deserving students. Michael Haberman addressed the assembled group, highlighting the 40 Fellows placements subsidized by a grant from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation.


IMG_35062015 PENCIL Fellows Working Breakfast with LinkedIn

Later in the summer, LinkedIn volunteers led a session on networking and developing your personal brand, which included helping the Fellows refine their LinkedIn profiles!



2015 PENCIL Fellows Working Breakfasts with JPMorgan Chase

PENCIL Fellows participated in two working breakfasts over the course of the summer.  The first, held at Proskauer Rose LLP, focused on financial literacy. It was led by business volunteers from JPMorgan Chase and timed to coincide with the arrival of Fellows first paychecks!



2015 Celebration Party

This past July over 100 business and school partners enjoyed food and drink at game. as we celebrated a productive school year and kicked off the PENCIL Fellows internship season.  We announced the winners of our 2015 Partnership Awards and launched our 20th Anniversary Community Crowdfunding Challenge.