Today’s guest blogger is Lauren Evans, City Year New York’s Operations Intern. For more information about interning with City Year New York, please click here.
As my junior spring semester approached, it was time to find a new internship. I had spent the previous summer interning with Education Pioneers in Los Angeles, where my interest in education transformed into a passion. I am originally from Los Angeles, but have been at New York University (NYU) for three years now, so I consider myself bicoastal between two of the largest urban cities and school districts in the country. It is for this reason that I have concentrated my academic and professional life on the movement towards American education reform. It was a natural fit that my spring internship search lead me to City Year New York(CYNY).
I was drawn to the People and Operations internship when I saw phrases like “program support” and “finance management” in the job description. As a serial student leader and aspiring business student, these are areas in which I had a strong interest in developing my skills. CYNY was the perfect fit — an education focused non-profit where I could focus on the skills I really wanted to grow. The culture that greeted me when I came in for my in-person interview with my supervisor, Amanda Gulino, made joining CYNY a no-brainer.
From the get-go, my role on the team focused on the finance and human potential aspects of operations. Within my first month at CYNY, Amanda gave me the task of creating pivot tables and updating all the budgets and I was more than excited to expand my Excel skills. Getting a chance to work with the CYNY budgets and see how the post-pivot table process worked gave me great context into how an $11 million non-profit allocates and used its finances. My desire to dive deeper into this piece of my role was a huge contributing factor into my three-pronged decision to continue my internship into the summer. Almost seven months into my internship, I now manage the whole budget process from when the General Ledger arrives each month to when the budget analysis email goes out to the leadership team.
The second prong to staying at CYNY for the summer was the work I did in HP, especially with assisting in hiring the summer interns. I had connected so much to the culture and mission at City Year and conducting screening interviews for interns was a great way to find additions to the team that fit well. It also gave me the chance to share my amazing growth experience and get potential interns excited about the work they could do here. Learning how important it is to identify team members that would be a good position as well as mission fit and interacting with so many dedicated candidates has helped strengthen my commitment to the team immensely.
The third and possibly most important part of why I continued my internship with CYNY is the culture and people transcend the daily tasks and responsibilities of the internship. I have never once felt throughout my internship that I was wasting my time. I have always felt that my work was valuable, that it contributed to CYNY’s organizational impact. Amanda always encouraged me to take on leadership opportunities, so as I grew as an intern and member of the operations team, I grew more and more comfortable asking to both take on larger roles to expand my responsibilities and got more involved with CYNY as a whole.
In addition to the work I do at my computer in what’s dubbed “Intern Alley,” going on a school visit, volunteering at the Associate Board fundraiser, co-planning the Corps Graduation Reception, and participating in a service day have given me direct exposure to the many different people, departments, and forms of service. Being welcomed into the culture at CYNY and encouraged to get experience in any area I was interested in has made this internship more comprehensive, interesting, and inspiring than I ever imagined an internship could be. I am leaving after this summer (very reluctantly, I might add) but hope to return to City Year in the near future to some capacity, as I can’t imagine staying away from this family for very long.