As the summer before my last year as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin- Madison came to an end, I became set on finding an enriching internship. I knew I needed one, not only to graduate, but to also sharpen my own skill set and gain real-world experience. For this reason, I jumped at the chance to apply for a position with the YWCA through their YWebCA. I had heard many good things about the YWCA through friends who had interned with them before, and after visiting their webpage I could see that my own values lined up nicely with those of the organization. An internship position with the YWebCA especially excited me because I had spent the last three years working as a middle-school mentor and teacher assistance, so I was familiar moving around within an academic setting and a new opportunity like this would allow me the chance to truly put my skills to the test and grow as a professional.
Now as a member of the team, I have never felt more welcomed and supported. I have heard stories about bad internship experiences from friends who were shuffled out of the way and who left their positions feeling undervalued. However, both Julia and Rasheid presented me a strong united front, expressing a sincere desire to make my experience as valuable as they could. From the beginning it was made clear that although this position is unpaid, I would be rewarded in so many other ways. With the YWebCA I have the opportunity to sit in on various professional development workshops, have my own resume looked over and designed, and make strong lasting connections with those who could later help me open doors.
We are only three weeks into the program, but I have high hopes for what my experience will look like. I look forward to getting to know the students better and seeing them progress, for we are all here because we want to better ourselves. That’s perhaps the most enriching part of it all, the fact that I not only form a part of the team as an intern but that I too, am a student like them. I hope to leave my time here feeling like I contributed as equally as I was benefited.
– Paola Gonzalez