KIPP Alumni Share Impact of Summer Internship Experience on Career Journey  

As someone who has had an internship or job across a wide-range of industries every summer from 8th grade to my senior year in college, I know first-hand the impact getting exposure to any internship within and outside of your interests can have on your career journey. The more internships I had, the more I began to realize that the skills I’ve acquired from my internships, regardless of the industry, are transferable. If you can focus on the access to skills-building an internship can provide, the opportunity for you to gain a wide-range of skills and make yourself more marketable in any career field of your choice, will only increase.  

This past year, I led a new initiative to get as many KIPP alumni as possible placed in internships through corporate partnerships with the hope that alumni, regardless of their internship, were able to develop personally and professionally; grow their networks; and learn some new skills.

I had the opportunity to catch up with five of the alumni we placed in internships this summer to hear about how their internship experiences have impacted their career journeys. Learn more about these incredible alumni and their journeys below!  

 

Airam Cruz

Airam Cruz, KIPP NYC

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Class of 2022 

Internship: Strategic Sales Advisor, Intuit  

Career Aspiration: Finance and Entrepreneurship

How has your internship experience this summer impacted your journey to your dream career?  

I learned a huge pillar of business, sales. It goes beyond business; it goes into relationships. I learned how to sell things and convince people that something has valueLearning how to talk to people and sell them things with integrity and without coercion – the correct way – is something that Intuit taught me. I’ll use these skills when I have my own clothing brand and will be able to convince people to buy into my stuff and into my brand. 

What’s a key takeaway you learned from your internship experience this summer? 

Working on a team – Intuit is very team-oriented – and understanding your role and other people’s roles and boundaries is something I learned. I also learned to build strong relationships with my teammates. Once everyone is on the same boat, there’s no stopping it. The big thing that I love about this job is the personal connections I made with my co-workers, customers, and other colleagues. They were willing to chat one on one with me and clear their schedules. Having people be this willing to talk to me boosted my confidence so much which has been extremely helpful.  

Kourtney Buckner

Kourtney Buckner, KIPP Metro Atlanta

George Washington University, Class of 2023

Internship: Policy Intern, CityWorks 

Career Aspiration: Criminal Defense Attorney

How has your internship experience this summer impacted your journey to your dream career?  

On the research side, I was helping CityWorks improve upon their HR department. Doing research in an area that I have no experience in was challenging me to realize that I don’t need to be the expert in the room. I’ve become more flexible and adaptable to learning information and stepping out of my comfort zone. True growth comes from being outside of your comfort zone. You can gain skills throughout your life by taking risks and opportunities.  

What’s a key takeaway you learned from your internship experience this summer? 

A key takeaway I learned was getting perspective on the non-profit industry. This internship was helpful in showing me what educational advocacy looks like at a grassroots level. Now, I’m hoping I can use these skills to advocate for more diverse programs.  

Yodit Goshu

Yodit Goshu, KIPP Texas – Houston

Howard University, Class of 2023

Internship: Operations Intern, Alliant Insurance Services  

Career Aspiration: Pharmacist

How has your internship experience this summer impacted your journey to your dream career?  

My internship experience wasn’t related to my future aspirations, but it still taught me a lot of skills. I benefited by learning to be adaptable to new settings and formats of work. It also allowed me to be more adaptable to different work environments and how to properly communicate with professionals and different stakeholders, which were great skills for me to learn. I also learned how to better network and build relationships with people by finding similarities with them and allowing them to teach me new things. Regardless of this internship not being related to my dream career, the skills I learned positively impacted my journey toward becoming a pharmacist.  

What’s a key takeaway you learned from your internship experience this summer? 

Regardless of an internship not being centered around the career that you want, the skills that you learn, the coworkers you meet, the work you do for that company can definitely help you learn so much more about yourself, your likes and dislikes and allow you to create a plan for yourself and your specific journey. This internship has helped me learn what I do and don’t like and helped me learn to build the path that I want for myself.  

Sergio-Olvera

Sergio Olvera, KIPP Colorado

Colorado State University, Class of 2023

Internship: Regional Data Support Intern, KIPP Foundation  

Career Aspiration: Computer Science and Machine Learning

How has your internship experience this summer impacted your journey to your dream career?  

I started to figure out that machine learning is a useful skill to learn because there’s’ so much data that needs to be collected at KIPP. For example, test scores and students’ behavior. Visualizing the data infrastructures and learning how KIPP’s database is set up and learning how their scraping the web to get this data and pushing it into their database is really crazy because this is just one school I’m working with, KIPP Baltimore. It’s very technical but very important to take into consideration. 

What’s a key takeaway you learned from your internship experience this summer? 

Collaboration and communication are the most important skills and I got to build those skills more over time during the internship. I had a project that I couldn’t figure out. I asked my manager, Angela, about it, scheduled a meeting with her and we were able to figure out in 5 minutes. It took me hours to try to solve it on my own. For collaboration, it’s important to contribute information to others to help solve their problems.  

Delton Utsey

Delton Utsey, KIPP St. Louis

Washington University in St. Louis, Class of 2022

Internship: Business Analyst Intern, Accenture  

Career Aspiration: Healthcare Facility Owner

How has your internship experience this summer impacted your journey to your dream career?  

The good thing with interning at Accenture this summer is that it gave me a lot of consulting experience, which is a phenomenal background for me. I interacted with a lot of folks to grow my network which gave me a new level of confidence in my ability to do things I thought I couldn’t do. I was suffering from imposter syndrome in college and wasn’t sure if I’d be the best fit for this role. Being hungry and ready to learn put me in a great position. This internship has helped me build my foundation in consulting and it’s exciting to know I won’t have a boring job in the future! 

What’s a key takeaway you learned from your internship experience this summer? 

Interning at Accenture helped me learn to become comfortable working in ambiguity which is great for work and life. I struggled in college because I run on passion and things that fuel me; I can’t work to work. I need to see an end goal. Consulting has helped me become comfortable with ambiguity and taught me how to take a big idea and break it down into little parts. Learning how to do this has helped me in my life be comfortable without having a blueprint always ready and to be comfortable with being confused and the importance of constantly learning.  

 

So KIPP Alumni, the journey to your dream career does not need to be a linear pathTake that internship, even if it’s outside of your comfort zone, and use your experiences and skills there to land your next internship, and later first strong job.  Learn more about the internship assistance KIPP provides and our other Alumni Career Programming on our website at www.kipp.org/alumni/career-programming/. 

Author: Avonda Fogan, Senior Manager Corporate Sponsorships –  KIPP Foundation

 

 

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