It was so interesting to Skype with Camila and Claudia Gonzalez and their parents. The family had been referred to the Internship Connection Program for Entrepreneurship by Babson College. The girls are twin sisters, coming from a private school in Guaynabo, P.R., who had been accepted to Babson as January freshman. “J-frosh” is the term that students often use.
Starting college during spring semester is quite common at many universities across the U.S. The reason behind this is that colleges would like to accept many more qualified students, but cannot accommodate them because of insufficient housing. Additional dorm rooms become available when juniors go abroad during their spring semester.
I have often worked with January freshman, establishing Boston internships for them for the fall semester. Not only can they enjoy an internship matched to their intended academic majors, but they are able to get a jump start on their peers, becoming familiar with the city, it’s transportation system, restaurants and cultural highlights.
The process begins: Housing
Once I knew that the girls wanted to live and work together, I starting researching housing for them that would be comfortable and close to transportation. Additionally, I wanted to find a mentor who would take a true personal interest in the girls. Coming to the U.S. to a new city at age 17, is not something to take lightly. As director of this program, I feel deeply that my role is not only to provide the best educational experience but to be protective of our students as well.
Placing students in our program is much more complicated than many people realize. I must consider their career interests, their safety, their mode of transportation, their schedules, etc. For the girls and their parents, I emailed photos from several types of housing options. They chose an upscale, short-term stay hotel in Copley Square. It would be just a quick subway ride for them to the Boston Waterfront where over 150 start-up companies would likely be the most interesting and exciting internship sites for the girls.
Choosing the best company and mentor
During my research and drawing from our program’s large network of business connections, I focused on the girls’ interest in both entrepreneurship and fashion. In the past, I’ve placed many students at MassChallenge, an annual global accelerator program and startup competition that provides free office space for finalists and organizes training and networking events. It’s a competetion that awards 1 million dollars to finalist companies selected from 1,250 applications world-wide.
One company at the MassChallenge business incubator really stood out to me. Melanie Berger is the founder and CEO of Mariwear, a new and innovative concept in women’s loungewear. She is a dynamic businesswoman who is also a mom. In our conversations, I learned that she had lived abroad and grasped how important her role would be as mentor for Camilla and Claudia. While discussing the kinds of tasks that she would have for them in her fashion start-up, I could see that they would be involved in every level of her business. We were both excited for the girls’ arrival.
The internship proceeds
As the fall progressed, Camilla and Claudia sent me journals detailing their experiences and expressed how thrilled they were with their mentor and their fashion internships. As a former professor of education, I know how crucial it is for students to take a step back to reflect upon their experiences. Therefore, the students are asked to send me several journals that I have designed, with questions that are meant to encourage reflection.
An excerpt from Camilla’s journal
What has been the best part of your internship?
The best part of the internship has been working with Melanie. She has been a great mentor and example because not only has she helped me grow as a future entrepreneur, but also she has helped me understand the importance of fighting for your goals even though there will be a lot of ups and downs.
She has really made us feel part of not only Mariwear, but also the MassChallenge community by introducing us to the other companies that we were interested in, or in some way, contribute to our future. I feel that every moment in MassChallenge has been a positive, since I am constantly meeting new people, making suggestions, asking questions, and learning something new.
A note from the CEO Melanie
It’s been such a pleasure for me to get to know Camilla and Claudia and Melanie, their mentor, feels the same way. She recently wrote:
Hope all is well. I have to say, I am seriously sad that the girls are gone.
It was beyond an amazing experience for all of us. They were wonderful on so many levels. I can’t imagine having anyone else who can fill their shoes.
We wish Camilla and Claudia all the best as they start their freshman semester this January at Babson College!
Ethan, pictured on the right with his mentor, was a Dean’s list Economics major with a minor in Computer Science at Vanderbuilt University. Ethan already had 2 finance internships under his belt, but this time he was looking for a summer experience where he could role up his sleeves and get involved in all aspects of a startup. We matched him to Ted, an incredibly personable mentor and Director of Sales at Privy.
The following are Ethan’s responses to our Internship Connection Journal questions:
List the kinds of things you’ve been doing at work.
So far my experience have been great! I’ve had great exposure. Ted has been very helpful and assigned me to a wide variety of tasks, letting me learn new things. I’ve been doing lots of work with Excel spreadsheets, Salesforce and LinkedIn. For example, I created a spreadsheet outlining the common traits and trends between all of the successful sales deal that Ted has made in order to identify future customers.
What’s been the best part of your internship?
I sat in on a staff meeting that’s held twice a year that they call the Town Hall. All the employees discuss what has been happening this year and changes going forward.
We look forward to following Ethan’s career, knowing that this internship continued his professional growth.
Luca, a junior at Framingham High, is interested in sports management and business. Luca had started an online clothing business and part of the proceeds were donated to veterans. Through our contacts in the Boston startup community, we created an internship for Luca with Alex Stone, a graduate of Swampscott High and the Founder and CEO of Athletes of Valor. AOV is a platform designed to help veterans transition from service to career by leveraging the power of collegiate sports. Alex’s venture based startup was the 50k gold winner of MassChallenge’s Social Impact category. We felt that Luca’s ideas and Alex’s mission were closely aligned and Luca helped out with the merchandising aspect of the business.
For an additional experience, we arranged a visit to WeWork South Station where Luca met with a UX designer for a startup in the game development space. They discussed Luca’s website and marketing ideas. We were happy to expose Luca to a variety of startup environments.
Finally, we were thrilled to hear that recently CoachUp acquired Athletes of Valor, with Alex now serving as Chief Operating Officer of CoachUp. Coach Up had provided a wonderful internship for one of our students a few years ago. The following is a news article about Alex. We are very grateful for the interest he took in one of our students.
A Physical Therapy Internship
Adaptive Sports Program at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital
What a moving visit we had to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, the site of David’s summer internship. David, a junior at Buckingham, Browne and Nichols, and his older sister are long time Internship Connection clients. David has always been interested in science, so two summers ago, we placed David on a robotics internship. More recently, after recovering from knee surgery from a soccer injury, David was so impressed with the support and encouragement he received from his physical therapist, he thought that he might consider physical therapy as a career.
We placed David in the Adaptive Sports Program at Spaulding Rehab. As an athlete and compassionate young man, he could appreciate what it takes to get back into sports after an injury. In addition, he was also able to shadow a therapist working in their therapy gym. Spaulding in Charlestown is a magnificent facility on Boston Harbor where the Boston Marathon bombing victims were treated.
“The two main activities we do are canoeing and biking. The patients have fantastic life stories. They have gone through so much, so to help them stay fit and have fun is very rewarding. I get to meet new people every single day. Encouraging them to talk and bond with me is a key part of making both my day and their day fun. All the time, I’m asking patients about their lives…listening to them and just being a friend makes me feel that I am making their day better.”
As career counselors and educators we love hearing from former students. Ross recently graduated from the London School of Economics. We wish him continued success on a very interesting career.
Enjoy our previous blog about Ross, one of our most dynamic students:
“During my high school internship at the West Roxbury Roslindale Transcript, my editor asked me to go around the city, interviewing people I had never met, researching and writing articles for the newspaper. I was thrown into situations that were completely out of my comfort level. Looking back on that first internship with you in high school, it really was then, when I began to develop the skills I am using today- going around the city, setting up meetings with new people and asking questions.”
It’s been eight years since Ross was in our program and it was great bumping into him recently at a startup in Downtown Crossing. During the time we worked with Ross, he was a bright, outgoing high school student at Nobles and Greenough. Ross wrote for his school newspaper and was interested in developing his journalistic skills. We placed him with a newspaper editor who enjoyed working with young people and was very effective in teaching the basics of journalism.
Ross’s skills developed very quickly and he was given the responsibility of a field reporter. He had many interesting experiences, including an interview with Trot Nixon from the Boston Red Sox. Not only did his articles appear on the front page of the newspaper, but also Ross’s editor offered him a paid free-lance position during the year.
Ross Chanowski With Trot Nixon Former Boston Red Sox Right Fielder
Q: Ross, what are you doing these days?
A: Well, I recently left my position of manager of new business at Allen and Gerritsen and have ventured out on my own. I’m involved in the new field of 3-D printing technology and I’m working on the development of a tool for consumers to 3-D print household and office goods, instantly.
Q: How did you get interested in this field?
A: I became fascinated after reading about the technology, didn’t really understand it or know how to use it. So, I’m spending time interviewing engineers and computer scientists in the field. I really think this will be the technology of the future and will change the way we manufacture goods.
I would love to teach kids about this new technology of 3D printing because it will be the next generation who will succeed in this new industry.
Q: What advice would you have for high school and college students?
My major at U Michigan was economic and public policy. My experiences ranged from working in start-ups, for Congressman Barney Frank on Capitol Hill and in new business and venture management for marketing agencies. I wanted a broad range of experiences and each one certainly prepared me for the next.
– Always look for and be open to new opportunities
– It’s never too early to start networking
– Look for inspiration
Q: I recently saw you were interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, talking about your micro-apartment on the Boston waterfront.
A: I’m a big advocate of the startup community. Living on the Boston waterfront, I’m constantly meeting new people. From painters to musicians to engineers, they are all contributing to my own education and inspiration.
Hannah was a junior at Needham High school, interested in journalism and fashion. After meeting Hannah and learning about her interests, Dr. Jabbawy contacted three seniors at Harvard who had just begun a startup for collegiate women. It’s been very rewarding to follow Hannah’s career, since her high school internship at HerCampus.com.
Hannah (center right) with the founders of HerCampus
HerCampus.com is now the #1 global community for college women, written entirely by the nation’s top college journalists from 340+ campus chapters. Hannah was Her Campus’s first editorial intern in Summer 2010 and continued her involvement with HC as the High School Editor. Hannah was accepted to her dream school, NYU and while there, wrote for Washington Square News, blogs at Mademoiselle Hannah, and the Huffington Post Teen.
The following is her article on Internships:
Hannah went on to NYU where she studied journalism and history, becoming the assistant features editor at Seventeen Magazine. She has written for Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire and is the dating editor of Elite Daily. We are excited for Hannah as she received accolades for her first novel, named “A Best Book of Summer” by Refinery 29, Bustle, and Pop Sugar.
FinTech are cutting edge technologies used to support or enable banking and financial services, and are the fastest-growing areas for venture capitalists. Related companies in Boston include LevelUp, Evertrue, Flywire, Circle and Plastiq and more. We are currently reaching out to companies specializing in Financial Technology for our students interested in finance and startups.
Stay tuned to read about students’ success stories in this exciting new area.
Drew deferred his acceptance to Trinity, attended a 2 month film school in Maine and turned to us for an internship relating to film. We placed him at a production company where he learned all facets of film making in the studio and on sets.
Drew became a production assistant on location for shows being produced for Animal Planet and the Discovery and History Channels. Drew said the best part was working long days with the crew. The head producer was so impressed with Drew’s efforts that he actually offered him a job.
Nicole with Asad Butt, the Director of LearnLaunch
With an interest in business, we placed Nicole on a High School Internship followed by a College Internship.
Now that she completed her freshman year of college, we thought that she should gain exposure to what’s very current and exciting in the business world these days. Now that the concept of business startups has matured years beyond companies such as Facebook and Twitter, the business accelerator programs that foster these young companies are expanding rapidly on college campuses and cities around the world. One startup incubator in Boston is quite unique, its mission to help early-stage education technology companies bring their promising technology solutions successfully to market.
LearnLaunch provides seed funding, office space and mentorship for entrepreneurs who have been selected for their innovative ideas related to education technology. The culmination of their three-month program is the final presentation (Demo Day) to hundreds of angel investors and venture capitalists.
Words From Nicole’s Journal
In her journal, Nicole tells us what’s she’s been up to on her internship:
Conducted cohort interviews with the CEO’s about the program
Took notes from Cohort Pitches to Angel Investors
Created teacher and tech surveys, questionnaires, activities and flyer for Hackathon Event
Researched Edtech newsletters for relevant information
Organized Edtech Investments, company’s leads, contact list and cohort calendar
What has been the best part of your internship?
The best part of my internship has been doing work to prepare for all the events happening at LearnLaunchX, actually working at the events and meeting such a wide variety of business leaders and investors.
Can you describe a situation when you had to be a bit courageous during your internship?
After Demo Day, my boss wanted me to collect the cohort’s feedback about the event, as well as conduct interviews with them about their overall experience at LearnLaunchX. Since I didn’t know the participants very well yet, I was a little uncomfortable asking for their feedback about Demo Day. In addition, I had to create questions to ask the CEOs of each company about their thoughts on the program. I had never done anything like this before and I wasn’t sure what kind of questions to ask them because I didn’t know much about the program, but in spite of my reservations, it all went very smoothly.