Category Archives: RealJobs

RealInternships: Stephanie Salinas

On my last day at Children’s Hospital, I felt so many emotions rushing through me. Something I had not experienced in a while.

IMG_1601-1Joy, pride, privileged and honored for this experience, excited for the future, and afraid of the next steps in my life. I was humbled by the words of my supervisors, confident that I made a positive impression on my peers and supervisors, and bittersweet about closing this chapter of my life.

Hearing the words of my supervisors, “MVP”, excellent leader, reliable and consistent, humble, caring of not only the patients but my peers/coworkers as well … all these words left me stunned and feeling a mix of emotions. I left my internship that day feeling on top of the world and wanting to do more, to be better.

This internship has provided me with many different skills that will be essential as I work with youth throughout my career. I have developed the ability to facilitate group activities, as well as the ability to adapt and react accordingly and quickly to unexpected situations.

I got the chance to work one-on-one with patients who had a hard time being in groups. Even though the individual work only consisted of playing games or doing arts & crafts, this was one of my favorite parts of the internship because I was able to form a stronger connection with the patients.

Although my experience here is over, my experience somewhere else is just beginning – and thanks to my experience at Children’s Hospital I will be more confident, motivated, and passionate elsewhere.


RealInternships: Jessica Vallejo

I cannot believe my time at LULAC is over. Over the past few weeks I have continued working on the national immigration college initiative that my boss asked me to take on. The initiative is aimed at spreading awareness regarding comprehensive immigration reform by connecting students with their members of Congress, to ensure they know that comprehensive immigration reform is a top priority for Americans. In this specific initiative, the target audience is college students. Now that I have layed out the infrastructure of the initiative and established the colleges and universities which we plan on extending invitations to, to join our program, we have made more progress towards our final goal.


One thing that excited me specifically during the process, was our decision that creating a website for our initiative would be the ideal way to communicate. I have layed out everything related to the website–from its look and feel, to the various headings, subheadings, and text that will be included within them. It has the usual About LULAC section,  About Immigration reform (discussing where we are in the process, what the process is, and why getting involved is important). It also has a subheading How to Get Involved, detailing how student organizations can get involved and what our asks of them would be. There is also a section that includes training, and gives all the necessary facts and statistics, to ensure that the information that is being disseminated is all correct (with those, will be downloadable toolkits and such). Included is also blog-like section on the website so all of the groups can write updates on what they are doing and give them a larger sense of accountability. I cannot wait to see students throughout the country doing voter registrations, setting up meetings with their members of congress, hosting events, and spreading awareness of comprehensive immigration reform!

My time at the League of United Latin American Citizens  (LULAC) has been such a great learning experience and so much more rewarding than I could have ever imagined! I have had the opportunity to work on so many great projects, learn from amazing people, and truly build a skill set to better provide service to others in the future.

I absolutely love all the work that we do and everything that we stand for at LULAC, but I definitely think that my supervisor is who has made this experience for me. Although being quite young, my supervisor has a great amount of experience in various areas of politics and a great amount of knowledge and wisdom. From the first day Sindy took a great interest in me, and demonstrated that she was invested in my learning and growth throughout the internship. She did a great job of “looping me in” to the things she was working on, which allowed me to gain a better understanding of civic engagement and the processes that rule this. I also enjoyed that she brought me to meetings and allowed me to see how things work at the various levels. She often times also pushed me to step out of my comfort zone, making me grow both as a professional and as an individual.

Sindy is also huge on networking and I am really happy that she gave me so many tips on networking and actually made me implement them. Giving us business cards definitely facilitated this.  Everything about my internship was great, the people I worked with, the substantive work I was able to do, and most importantly the relationship I was able to foster with Sindy. I will probably also be coming back to DC post graduation, I love the professional and overall environment in DC!


RealInternships: Samuel Lee

It is with both sincere gratitude and sadness that I reflect on my last days at the U.S. Department of Labor, Women’s Bureau. I cannot describe enough how greatly I’ve been inspired by the tremendous leaders and coworkers I have met over the past summer.

With the Regional Administrator of the Women's Bureau- Jacqueline Cooke.

With the Regional Administrator of the Women’s Bureau- Jacqueline Cooke.

It’s true. In the course of my stay at the J.F. K. Federal Building I did learn a lot about working in the public sector, and I like to think that, in brief glimpses, I might have seen what it would be like to work in “the West Wing”. But, what touched me most about my internship was seeing daily the persistent heart and drive of leaders who have spent years and decades of their life serving the public good.

Posing with Public Affairs Specialist-Andre Bowser and fellow intern-Michelle Sit.

Posing with Public Affairs Specialist-Andre Bowser and fellow intern-Michelle Sit.

In the last few months, I have worked on organizing, planning, and executing roundtables, seminars, and talks related to the issues of the Women’s Bureau. I have read, analyzed, and communicated my ideas on a litany of primary source documents related to healthcare, trauma, medical leave, homelessness and equal pay (among others). However, what I will treasure most about my time here at the Department of Labor are the close relationships that I have built with the supervisors and staff at the Women’s Bureau, as well as the officers at the Office of Public Affairs and the AFL-CIO Union.

With staff and advisors at the U.S. Department of Labor.

With staff and advisors at the U.S. Department of Labor.

It was through our informal lunches and conversations that I learned a lot about the past Secretaries of Labor, the history of the Equal Pay Act, and the legacy of the Kennedy Family in Boston. Moreover, it was also through these conversations that I learned about the preexisting New England inter-governmental softball league, the best restaurants in the North End, and the genius behind Orson Scott Card’s novel, “Ender’s Game” (one of my supervisors is an enthusiast). Who knew the Attorney General’s office used to have such avid softball players?


Office outing with the interns.

In all seriousness, I say these things not in the least to make light of the meritable work done by U.S. Department of Labor, but to underscore some of the amazing people I have met within it. I was truly blessed this summer to have worked with praiseworthy leaders and mentors, and they have again shown me that a place is never just about the landscape. It is the people that make it special.


RealInternships: Halcyon Apy

During my time with the AIDS Policy Project, I have learned a lot about the non-for profit industry. From working with the organization, I think that I have a much better understanding of how these kinds of groups function and are set up. The close relationship that I had with my boss allowed me to gain real insight into what it would be like to run a program like this, and just how much time and energy must go into it in order to make it a success. I was able to get dinner with my boss towards the end of my time and just talk about what it takes to get a non profit off of the ground, and what kinds of skills you have to have in order to do it.


I am walking away from my internship with a more clear focus of what I may like to do in the future. Through working with the AIDS Policy Project, I was able to meet many different organizations through various conferences, and through those I was able to meet many people with different perspectives. Because this was my first time actually in the professional world, this was very useful to me and spurred my thinking of what I would like to do in the future.


If I were going to give another student advice about having an internship, I would say that until you’ve had this experience you may not know exactly what path you can follow. Even if your internship does not show you exactly what you want to do, it may show you that you definitely do not want to do something else, which is valuable in and of itself. So pick an internship that relates to a potential interest and see where it goes!


RealInternships: Andrea Roman

I cannot believe my time at CASA has come to an end. Words cannot express how attached I have become to the work and people at CASA. I have truly found a home at this institution and know I will be back to visit and volunteer. The bonds I have developed with the lawyers, other interns, and all of CASA staff are remarkable. I have found new role models and have been motivated more than ever.1

The last few weeks at CASA have been full of constant pressure on Congress. As Congress approached their recess, CASA staff made sure to make one last push. One final protest was held in front of the House of Representatives to express our passion and concern for immigration reform. Gustavo Torres, CASA’s president, along with other pro-immigrant activists head down to DC to perform civil disobedience.2

Leaders gathered to block the road in hopes to prove the importance of an immigration reform. It is amazing to think that kids my age have dedicated their time and future to this cause. A girl a year younger than me was arrested at this protest, and it was not her first time being arrested while making her voice heard. I am both impressed and inspired by her. The protest was covered by several media sources such as the New York Times, CBS DC, Fox Detroit, WTOP DC, CNS News, Fox Chicago, ABC News, Univsión, and so forth. I am proud to say that my boss took a leadership role in this action.3

The following week, the legal interns spent time door knocking the offices of Congress members. We provided Congressmen/Congresswomen and/or their immigration staff with information on how immigration reform would benefit their specific hometown. We put together packets addressing their hometown statistics and included information on pro-immigration events that would be held in their state during Congress’ recess. It was a truly a great experience to know that I was directly advocating for immigrant rights.4

Lastly, the Legal Department of CASA was contacted by NPR’s Robert Siegal to perform a section on undocumented immigrants on his “All Things Considered” program.  The piece can be heard here. Having Robert Siegal come to CASA was very exciting. I am happy to know immigrant issues are being discussed. These past ten weeks have flown by and I will truly miss CASA. I am very grateful to have been exposed to different aspects of both civil rights and the law.


RealInternships: Daniela Diaz

Looking at the next two weeks, in which I’ll finish working with NC Green Schools, I’m thinking about all of the administrative items that I need to finish before I leave, and also about the other projects that will be ongoing.   I have a computer desktop filled with a myriad of various documents and spreadsheets that I need to reorganize so that everything that I’ve put together, including contact lists, lesson plans, other resources, and grant drafts, can be used effectively.

danielaNorth Carolina public schools start their academic year this Tuesday, so it feels like I’ll be leaving right when the program will start to see more active involvement from the school community than what we’ve experienced over the summer.  In general, it’s a hard time to be working in education in North Carolina, due to drastic budget cuts made this year that have resulted in increased class sizes, decreased teacher pay, and the withholding of teacher pay raises, among other measures.  Now that most teachers are back at their schools to prepare for classes to begin, I’ve been able to drop in to see some teachers that I know, as well as to main offices in order to leave our organization’s updated information where most of the employees will be able to access it.  I’ve also spent time this summer editing and updating the organization’s website and newsletter system, both for layout and content that is more user-friendly, but distributing some information in person as well seems to be a positive way to establish contacts within the school system, and is especially welcome within rural areas. While the current state of NC’s education system is fraught, I still think that NC Green Schools will be able to see growth in the coming academic year, but it may not be as accessible to teachers and schools as it would have been in the past few years before these cuts were made.  That aside, the organization is restructuring because of this to become more of a resource for schools and teachers this year, available to assist individual teachers with smaller classroom projects even if the school has not formally committed to working within the NC Green Schools rubric system.


RealInternships: Sam Gervase

It is hard to believe that we are wrapping up our internship in Seattle. Stockbox Neighborhood Grocers has been an amazing company to work for, and we are so glad that we were able to learn more about it. Stockbox is a mission-driven organization that focuses on bringing fresh and affordable food into urban food deserts, areas that lack access to such nutrition. The Stockbox team specifically targets such communities to place their stores to address the pressing need. Many of the residents within these communities are forced to shop at gas stations or convenience stores, for lack of a better option. Stockbox is working to fill this void in Seattle neighborhoods.

20130808_164636One of the Stockbox’s keys to success is its goal of becoming more than a just local business, but rather an integrated part of the community. In addition to collaborating with the local community centers, Stockbox invites direct feedback from its customers and neighbors. Stockbox’s first store in South Park has an incredibly strong relationship with the surrounding community. Their second store, located in First Hill, will be opening in the next three weeks. After extensive research on the neighborhood, Stockbox decided the community was a perfect fit for their mission. The First Hill community is an interesting collection of people, including a government-subsidized housing complex, three large hospitals, and a high-end retirement community. We were lucky enough to attend community meetings at a number of these different places. Some were highly attended and others were not. One community meeting even required Spanish, Chinese, and Russian translators. Regardless of the demographic makeup of each microcosm within First Hill, the same excitement was seen at all the different meetings about the new store addressing the needs of the diverse community.

During our time working for Stockbox, we took on a number of different projects. One of the most interesting projects was creating a community space within both the South Park and First Hill stores. Since a large part of Stockbox’s mission is to become an integral part of their surrounding neighborhood, it was really exciting for us to be able to work towards this goal. We wrote short descriptions highlighting local organizations, individuals, and suppliers. These stories and pictures are to be rotated through the community space on a monthly basis. The stories focused on notable places, such as the local Community Center, the Frye Art Museum, and Marra Farms, a local urban farm that supplies Stockbox with fresh produce. All of these organizations play a huge role in creating the identity of the community, and we wanted to show customers the strength of Stockbox’s strong connections within the existing neighborhood. Hopefully our project will continue to support these other local mission-driven organizations, while exemplifying Stockbox’s commitment to the neighborhood.

In addition to the community stories, we also decided to create a recipe rack to help customers make healthier food decisions and navigate the store’s inventory with less difficulty. We were able to compile a list of over 80 recipes to be rolled out on a weekly basis. Since Stockbox has limited inventory, customers often struggle to formulate recipes with the available ingredients. Seeing this as an opportunity, we proposed the idea of creating a recipe collection focusing on healthy, fast, and efficient cooking. By choosing familiar recipes with a healthier twist, we hope to create a resource to be utilized by all Stockbox customers. Although the somewhat limited inventory presented a challenge, we were successful in finding many recipes and hope to inspire customers to choose the healthier alternative.20130808_144219The last component of our time at Stockbox was helping with community outreach for a number of different projects. The most exciting and meaningful event we helped execute was South Park’s Annual Night Out Against Crime. Each year, the community creates a putt-putt course to celebrate the community’s creativity, liveliness, and commitment to keeping the neighborhood safe. The amount of creativity and excitement was inspiring. Stockbox actively participated in the neighborhood event by creating a hole in the putt-putt course. Rather than the traditional hole, we helped create a plinko board. The benefits of the plinko board was that all ages were able to participate and each person left the game with a fresh piece or fruit (an apple, banana, or an orange). It was a great opportunity to meet individuals in the community while promoting a healthy living style.

In addition to Night Out Against Crime, we also helped execute the marketing plan for the South Park store’s first anniversary! To celebrate its time in the community, Stockbox will  be giving out free ice cream. We spent time contacting local businesses and organizations in the community to publicize our event. People were extremely easy to work with and were so excited about the event.

20130806_175449Before wrapping up, we wanted to recognize our mentors during our time in Seatle. Carrie and Jacqueline, the co-founders of Stockbox, have been role models for all of us. They have taken an idea and made it a complete reality. While we knew that starting a business requires courage and effort, this internship has really solidified the amount of blood, sweat, and tears that goes into a start-up. While the mission of Stockbox remains intact, Carrie and Jacqueline are counting on the First Hill Store and the opening of a nearby bridge in the South Park Store to fuel the company’s success. Furthermore, It has been so interesting to see their community-based approach to business. They completely cater to their customers, and in return, the company has been able foster great relationships with its community.

Nearing the end of the summer, we could not have had a better experience. We were able to learn so much while giving back to the communities during our time in Hana and Seattle. Through hard work and the guidance of our mentors, we truly believe our projects in both locations have been sustainable. Whether it was planting a Cuban banana tree or working with the Community Center in South Park, our summer was full of excitement and passion. We will finish knowing we had the most enlightening, rewarding, and unexpected summer of our lives. We thank Boston College and the Career Center for their support in making our dream a reality.


RealInternships: Brooke Markt

In my final week at Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, a nonprofit organization that provides friendship and companionship to isolated elders in San Francisco, I attended mass at the Jesuit Cathedral in San Francisco with a co-worker. In the very powerful sermon, the priest noted one of St. Ignatius’ famous examines: imagine ourselves at the end of our lives either on our deathbed or after our death standing before Christ, our Judge. How would we feel about our current decision then? What would we say to Christ about the decision we have just made? We should choose now the course of action that would give us happiness and joy in looking back on it from our deathbed and in presenting it to Christ on the day of our judgment.

Me with the LBFE SF staff and board

Me with the LBFE SF staff and board

Fortunately and unfortunately, it is the elderly who, in the words of Scott Simon, “have looked across the street at death for a decade”. They wake up every morning forced to reflect upon the possibilities of death’s doors. As a result, our elderly have compiled a great perspective on what in life is important and why, but unfortunately, a lot of their wisdom falls on deaf ears as our society tends to isolate and ignore the insight of the elderly population. We tend to see the elderly as waiting to die instead of recognizing the wisdom that can be found in their experiences that they have accumulated and worked to understand over the course of a lifetime.

Working one on one with elders throughout the summer, I was able to take with me much more than professional experience from this internship. I received wisdom, through the powerful life advice and relationships that allowed me to reflect upon what meaning I want to give to my life.

In my final week at LBFE, I made it my mission to do more than to listen to the stories possessed by each elder, but also to collect as much life advice as I could from the forgotten heroes that I was surrounded by on a daily basis. With the elders that I had established relationships with over the course of 9 weeks through birthday visits, phone visiting and regular in-home visits, I asked them “what advice would you give to me as a twenty year old as I go forth in my life?” What I found was that even though it seemed that I did not get particularly close to some of the elders, each one was equally excited to be asked for their wisdom in the form of advice. It was a powerful feeling to sense that even strangers want to help their fellow humans to have the best of what life has to offer.

Listed below are the collected suggestions about life given to me, advice that is equally valuable for all:

Albert, 88 years old, bedridden fighting stage 4 cancer (Phone Visiting Elder):
“You have your whole life to lead. If you’re ever uncertain or unhappy about something, there’s no reason not to go to friends to lift you up; if they’re really your friends, they will already be there because they’ll sense that something is wrong. And when it comes to boyfriends, never lend them money – they shouldn’t be asking in the first place, and if their own parents won’t lend them money then why should you? Always be kind and never allow anyone to shake you negatively. Don’t associate with people who are too busy talking about people. I’ve found that people are too busy filling their minds with a lot of unnecessary junk, too busy worrying about this and that; in life, you’re going to have ups and downs, but I’ve found that ‘only through a broken heart can the light enter in.’ You become a better, warmer, and gentler human when you face the hurts in life, but it’s always a choice you have to make.”

Maria, 83 years old, widowed Red Cross nurse (Cuddle Club Event):
It is possible to learn to love and fall in love with a stranger.

Josephine, 87 years old, North Beach SF native, 100% Italian (In-Home Visits): Buy a house that can be made easily handicapped accessible at any time – electric stairs are expensive.

Bessie, 77 years old, widowed from Shanghai (Phone Visiting Elder and In-Home visits):
“Be careful which osteoporosis medication to take because specific ones cause gum decay, causing you to lose your teeth, no matter how much you flossed in your youth. Also, the waiting list for many nice senior housing complexes has a 10-20 year waiting list, so put your name on a waiting list when you turn 50. Continue to keep busy, both mentally and physically by doing word and number puzzles or reading. Most importantly, keep in touch.”

James, 82 years old, Korean War Veteran (Phone Visiting Elder):
“Go back to California later in life.”

Bob, 82 years old, disabled Army veteran (Birthday Celebration Visit):
“Don’t let people make decisions for your life – only you can be in charge of your own happiness. If you love someone, and want to marry them, then do it because it’s not up to your parents to decide who brings you happiness. Your mother didn’t let you choose who your father was going to be for your whole life, therefore, she shouldn’t be allowed to choose your husband. Most importantly, enjoy life because it’s too short to be miserable.”

Me with some volunteers at the LBFE Volunteer Recognition Picnic.

Me with some volunteers at the LBFE Volunteer Recognition Picnic.

So on one of my last nights, as I sat on the Contra Costa Rock in North Berkeley, looking out over the San Francisco Bay with a panoramic view of the sun setting over Sausalito to my right, next to the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz in front of me, and the Bay Bridge along with the Cal Berkley Tower to my left, I reflected upon my experience in San Francisco working with Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly. As the fog rolled in over the mountains bringing with it a cool breeze, nothing has ever felt that close to perfectly at ease. Every bit of nerves and anxiety that I had felt before I left for California rolled away on my first day, just as the fog rolls off of the Bay each day – ever so calmly. As I reflected upon the advice and lessons about life and love given to me from my elders, I recognized how proud I was that I made the decision to explore such a new city and discover such insight within an overlooked population of people that deserve so much admiration and respect. Nine weeks prior, these people were all complete strangers, and now I take with me the general message that I learned from each one of them and the experience as a whole: Nothing else matters in the end except the people you fill your life with.


RealInternships: Samuel Lee

It’s been a solid month since I began working for the U.S. Department of Labor, Women’s Bureau, and I love it. I enjoy being able to reach out to different constituent groups and service organizations that help the community.  I like representing the federal government wherever I go, even if it is just as an intern. And, working adjacent to so many other federal agencies at the JFK Federal Building makes the experience even more exciting. I have learned many things about the regional and national chains of command within the government, and each day, it’s as if the material I’ve learned in school about government comes to life.samuel lee

But, there is a catch. Simply stated, I’m a guy. I can’t tell you how many curious expressions I have received after introducing myself as an intern at the Women’s Bureau. I must say that in my line of work, on issues of gender equality, equal pay, and workplace flexibility, I am incredibly outnumbered (gender-wise); however, I firmly believe that this should not be the case. These are all issues that direct the work of the Women’s Bureau, but at the same time are critical concerns that largely affect the whole economy.

I have firmly come to believe that topics such as equal pay and gender equality in the workforce should not be considered a “women’s issue”, just as the historical battle for racial equality between blacks and whites should not be considered a “black issue”. Instead, these are issues of discrimination that must be acknowledged and considered by all parties, not just by a single gender or racial group. My fear is that the movement for gender equality in the workplace has become seen as a compartmentalized women’s movement, instead of one based on the principle of human equality.


RealInternships: Stephanie Salinas

My experience at Bader 5 has been excellent thus far. During this week’s team meeting, my supervisor gave me a piece of advice that helped reshape my internship experience and outlook in a positive way.

StephanieSince I started my internship, patients are constantly coming and leaving. Many of them are transferred to more intensive treatment programs, but some are able to go home. Although going home is obviously a good thing, sometimes I worry that they are not well enough to go home or that another crisis will occur once they go back to their natural environment. The team meetings are meant for us to discuss any questions or concerns that we have, so I decided to mention this concern of mine to my supervisors.

My supervisor explained to us that sometimes “to help” is not the right term to use in this type of environment. He sees it as being on a journey with the patients, because they are in an extremely difficult time in their lives, and all we can do is support them. Some of them, however, may not want help at the moment, and that is okay.

As interns and staff, we have to learn to accept certain things, while continuing to support the patients and each other. Although they may refuse to accept help from us, we must understand that they are taking the right steps to heal by being here, and that is a huge step in itself.

He also explained the importance of self-care for staff and interns, because of the high-stress environment that comes in the mental-health field. Discussing topics such as these are important to avoid feeling burned-out or stressed at home. I definitely left work that day with a better mindset!