As a senior in high school, Ruth Kendall sought the opportunity to develop professional skills beyond the classroom, which motivated her to apply for the Futures and Options Internship Program. “What stood out to me about Futures and Options was the chance for professional development since I knew there were some skills that I needed to gain that I wouldn’t learn in school.”
Ruth completed two virtual internships through Futures and Options. In her first internship at caribBEING, an organization highlighting Caribbean culture, art, and film, she discovered an interest in both finance and accounting. caribBEING was the perfect fit for Ruth because she gained insight into the financial work of the organization, while also exploring her love of music. “I feel like I found an intersection between my two interests at caribBEING because there were opportunities to learn about music as well as working on payroll for vendors,” Ruth explained. Thanks to her work experience at caribBEING, Ruth plans to study accounting at Smith College while also minoring
Ruth’s favorite internship moment was doing a social media video interview of a famous singer that she admires. Inspired by a Futures and Options workshop about taking initiative, Ruth pitched the idea for the interview and was given the opportunity to plan and conduct the interview herself. “I came to an epiphany after the ‘Take Initiative’ workshop because I felt like I could actually implement this skill right in that moment,” she said. “The workshop gave us sequential steps and solid advice for taking initiative, and it was effective.” Ruth described it as a once-in-a-lifetime experience that pushed her out of her comfort zone and ultimately boosted her confidence. “I feel like you make the most out of your internship experience once you say, ‘Okay, I’ve earned this spot and have a bit of confidence.’”
Ruth’s second internship at Her Agenda, a digital media platform highlighting millennial women, helped solidify the skills she had learned in workshops and her first internship. In particular, she emphasizes the important role that communication played in the virtual setting. “If my communication with my supervisor wasn’t consistent enough, my internship wouldn’t have been as successful as it was,” she said. “For example, it was important to keep my supervisor informed of what I’d accomplished because she might not know unless I put it on her radar.” Ruth also learned to adapt when things did not go as planned in the remote setting, such as technology malfunctioning for an online meeting.
Another valuable takeaway from Ruth’s internship experiences was gaining interview practice and learning techniques to utilize in her next workforce opportunity. “The mindsets and strategies are definitely something from Futures and Options that I will carry with me throughout my entire life.”