This summer, PENCIL has been sharing blogs about our students and their internship experiences. These blogs include stories from our network and highlight how our students achieved their internship goals, and seized upon summer opportunities which often relate to their academic and career goals. These posts have helped us to learn about their experiences as an intern and their dreams for the future.
This made us look back at our own first internship experiences, what drew us to our work at PENCIL, the advice we have for our younger selves/ current students, and the importance of PENCIL’s mission to connect students to success. We hope you’ll enjoy these throwback posts from our team and stay tuned as we post few more over the next couple of weeks.
If you have a story you would like featured on PENCIL’s blog, please email Jamie at firstname.lastname@example.org!
PENCIL’s Vice President of Finance and Administration
“My first job out of college was in JCPenney’s Corporate Buying Office in NY…although some of the office tools look similar to current ones, you may note one obvious missing item: no computers! “
What was your first summer internship? Although it wasn’t called an “internship,” my first summer job in an office was with an insurance company, between junior and senior year of college. I was majoring in business, so it was a great introduction into a corporate setting- a nice air-conditioned office, and a Monday to Friday schedule, both of which I preferred to my previous summers of long days working in a hot dry-cleaning store!
Do you remember what motivated you to apply for a summer internship? How did you apply for it? I wanted a to make more money and gain business experience. I found the job through an ad in the newspaper.
How did the summer internship benefit you? At first the work seemed a bit boring- but it got a bit more interesting as I worked there longer- and there are some basic financial fundamentals I learned that I still use today! (like balancing a checking account and reconciliations)
Did you have a mentor who helped guide or influence your future career plans? Yes, the manager of the office took time to teach me those processes and share some real-world aspects of business and financial management that solidified my interest in pursuing the career opportunities in business.
What advice do you have for students that are currently participating in an internship? Ask questions, learn as much as you can- the experience can really lay a foundation to build on and use throughout your career.
From your perspective, how does PENCIL benefit students across NYC? By facilitating those real-world experiences that are invaluable to support growth and opportunities- to connect students to success!
What drew you to work at PENCIL? Our mission and the work we do resonated personally for me- and the opportunity to support that work was professionally very appealing.
What does PENCIL’s mission mean to you? I think our mission statement sums it up well- with the really important result of helping as many young people as we can onto a path towards a successful career.
Any advice you’d give your younger self? Realize that many things will change along the way, and that’s OK – keep looking for opportunities and be open to learning new things- and you’ll make it work out!
PENCIL’s Database Assistant
What was your first summer internship? Here at PENCIL as a Fellow
Do you remember what motivated you to apply for summer internship? How did you apply for it? My English teacher told the class about the Fellows program. I went to PENCIL’s website and applied for it and attended the info sessions and orientation.
How did the summer internship benefit you? The summer internship gave me the skills I needed during the extension of my internship. I learned how to use MS excel, and improved my English communication skills and work ethic.
Did you have a mentor who helped guide or influence your career plans? Yes. Each PENCIL Fellow was assigned to a Business mentor. Mine was Marina. She taught me about the importance of accuracy when working with data. But PENCIL also scheduled lunches with other staff members and we learned about their career paths.
What advice do you have for students that are currently participating in an internship? Do not be afraid to ask questions.
From your perspective, how does PENCIL benefit students across NYC? PENCIL opens the door to a whole world of possibilities that otherwise students may not have or even know exists.
What drew you to work at PENCIL? After my internship as a PENCIL Fellow, PENCIL extended my internship during the school year. I’ve enjoyed the work I do at PENCIL ever since.
What does PENCIL’s mission mean to you? It means students are given opportunities that help them reach their full potential.
Any advice you’d give your younger self? In everything, look at the bright side.
PENCIL’s Communications Assistant
What was your first summer internship? It wasn’t an internship, but the summer after college, I worked for the first time for various London publishing houses and periodicals, including The Economist and Offshore Engineer.
Do you remember what motivated you to apply for a summer internship? How did you apply for it? I wanted to get experience working in the publishing industry of a different country. I applied for a youth temporary work visa through an agency that may have been affiliated with youth hostels and the Eurail youth pass.
How did the summer internship benefit you? I was able to learn about publishing in England and various working procedures and office cultures. I also saved enough money to backpack in Europe for a month.
Did you have a mentor who helped guide or influence your future career plans? Not a mentor per se, but just being around editors, supervisors and people working in the business helped me understand how publishing works, and I ended up working as a print and web editor afterward.
What advice do you have for students that are currently participating in an internship? Learn as much as you can, be open to every aspect of the organization’s work, make connections, and get a mentor if possible.
From your perspective, how does PENCIL benefit students across NYC? It benefits them through programs like Principal For A Day®, the internship program, and ongoing partnerships between businesses and schools.
What drew you to work at PENCIL? I’m interested in improving public education to benefit all students, and PENCIL’s mission to help NYC students and schools is directly in line with that.
What does PENCIL’s mission mean to you? PENCIL helps to close the achievement gap by connecting students to business leaders and exposing them to different fields of expertise and knowledge. School and work relationships are valuable assets for achieving success.
Any advice you’d give your younger self? Find career mentors and cultivate school and business connections.