This summer marked the end of my first year of college in California. As much as I enjoyed it, I was ready to come back for the summer to the DMV area to find an internship that allowed me to make an impact in my hometown. Empowered Women International’s mission was near and dear to me as I was deeply involved with social entrepreneurship in high school. I am an unabashed feminist, and child of immigrant parents; therefore, the Market Research and Development Internship was the perfect opportunity for me.
I signed on as the Market Research and Development intern, a role that deals with more of the operational work, rather than the front-end of programs and events. As a math and economics major, this position allowed me to hone in on my strengths by way of orderly spreadsheets and detailed analysis, while never limiting the scope of my position in any way. The perks of interning at a small, intimate nonprofit setting are rooted in the ability of its members to have room to take the initiative in starting something new, and in seeing the whole picture rather than just a small piece. I not only researched and crunched numbers, but also had the opportunity to interview graduates in drafting their success stories, interacting with the program managers to learn about the nuances of partnerships, and contributing to brainstorming sessions that would shape EWI’s brand. Some of my most formative experiences were the Herndon ETS Pitch and GMB Graduation events. While I had an idea of the impact of my behind-the-scenes-work, it wasn’t until I left the office and met the incredible women participating in our programs that this idea was actualized. Even as the appointed photographer at these events, as a supposed objective observer, separated by the lens of a camera, I couldn’t keep from tearing up during the students’ testimonials.
Coming to EWI at a transition period of changing leadership also increased the depth of my experience. As Florence learned and led, I got to learn right alongside her and see dynamic change in action. I got an extensive look into the ins and outs of the organization, and I appreciated the transparency that EWI promoted in allowing me to really understand the dynamics of a nonprofit. EWI welcomed me with open arms; I wasn’t treated as just a transient intern, but I was absorbed into a close-knit team that tackled new change and growth together. It is a team and a community that I will always be a part of, even as I head back to the west coast for my sophomore year of college. This was truly an empowering experience that I will bring with me to campus, and I cannot wait to see how EWI has progressed when I return to visit.
Amy is a sophomore at Claremont McKenna college studying Mathematics and Economics. She interned with EWI during the summer of 2015.