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 Philanthropies this summer and shared one of these moments with us:
It was a shot in the dark, but thanks to the networking skills I acquired while at Bloomberg this summer, I was able to land such a rare opportunity. As a high school intern here at Bloomberg, I have to work ten times harder to keep up with the college interns, especially since I came in so late in this internship compared to them. So I made it a point of duty not to only do that, but to make sure I stood out. It can be quite intimidating at times when in a meeting with college interns and be asked what schools we’re going to or already go to. But with confidence and a little bit of advice from current full time employees, I take on every project with enthusiasm and determination.
During a workshop, one of the many interns here have the opportunity to attend, I spoke with a Team Leader of the Information Systems department who told me to not be afraid to talk to other employees. He even jokingly said, “You can even message Bloomberg himself…people here love to talk about themselves and give advice…don’t be afraid to ask questions.” So after that meeting, I went back to my desk and sent Michael Bloomberg an instant message introducing myself and requesting to meet with him. I was terrified and was so scared because this is unheard of for an intern to do, especially not a high school one. Six hours later, he acknowledged my message but did not reply. At this point, I was a little disappointed but glad that I tried it.
So about an hour later, his assistant messaged me and said, “Michael just spoke to me and said that he’d love to meet with you.” Words cannot even fathom how I felt. I wasn’t sure how to feel. Whether to be nervous, excited or both. The next day I went to my manager for advice and she really helped me prep. Long story short, I met with him and he had out my resume and complimented it and gave me crucial advice for college and beyond. After telling him my story, he commented that, “It’s truly the American Dream…coming to this country and going to a top tier college after enduring so many adversities from youth.” I left the meeting not only a changed person, but one that can now say is good friends with Michael Bloomberg. He told me to send him monthly updates on how I’m doing and hoped that I’ll come back to work here again next year. He is in the process of connecting me with a successful businessman in Nigeria that he is good friends with. With all of this, I had to thank the Bloomberg Team Leader for what he did. When I told him, he was surprised but very excited that I was paying attention and got to meet him.
All in all, I’d say this is the best internship I’m yet to have and I’m grateful for PENCIL and Bloomberg for giving me the opportunity to say that and grow as an individual. I will really miss this place!
Thank you, Kingsley, for sharing your experience!
We’re so happy for him and all of our students who got the chance to experience opportunities like this one this summer.