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Our Summer Internship Experience

2023 First Generation Summer Internship at Origami Works Foundation

A picture of Abby and Denisse sitting next to each other.
Abby Islas, Denisse Rodriguez

Initial Thoughts

These past 10 weeks have flown by. The daunting prospect of an internship has turned into an incredibly insightful experience of the non-profit and workforce development sector. It was a fulfilling experience, brimming with valuable learning moments.

Experiencing the work life of a non profit organization provided insight to our career development and was a wonderful adventure where we got to learn more about each other and ourselves. The goals we accomplished, the connections we made, and the memories we recorded are evidence of the hard work we did to set ourselves up for our undergrad and post-undergrad success.

A picture of Abby and Denisse posing with Senator Villanueva.
Denisse Rodriguez, Senator Celina Villanueva, Abby Islas at the CJC 42nd Annual Meeting Celebration

Successes at Origami Works Foundation

During our summer internship at Origami Works Foundation, we had the opportunity to work on multiple projects small and large. Projects we worked on together were a collection of interrelated Communication and Outreach projects and the F.I.B.I. Event.

Communication and Outreach

Creating a categorized contact log required collaborating closely with the Program Manager, mastering an email marketing tool, developing and refining categories, and implementing the log. The effort paid off. The improved communication system facilitates better outreach, leading to enhanced community engagement and increased opportunities. We learned and honed many skills to complete this project that we will use in the future.

Screenshot of one of the campaigns Abby and Denisse set up and executed using an email marketing tool.
Screenshot of one of the campaigns we set up and executed using an email marketing tool

F.I.B.I (For Interns By Interns) Event

We organized a successful event to foster connections among the interns from The CAFÉ LEAD Summer Internship Program. We wanted to make it a memorable experience where interns could develop meaningful connections with other interns who can share similar stories and experiences. Through networking and activities, attendees gained new professional relationships.

A picture of Abby and Denisse posing with other CAFE LEAD summer interns.
CAFÉ LEAD Summer Interns at the F.I.B.I. Event


As first-generation students who are also part of the POC community, one of the biggest challenges during our internship was dealing with imposter syndrome. In a city full of amazing workers and great talent, there have been times at the start of our internship where we felt as if we didn’t belong because we didn't have a predecessor in our families who had experienced something similar. During those times of self doubt, Origami Works Foundation helped guide us through personal blocks so that we could realize our potential and acknowledge our hard work and unique qualities that led us to where we are today.

Main Takeaways

Throughout our time at Origami Works Foundation, we encountered challenges that were not only learning experiences but also stepping stones towards personal and professional development. We discovered that embracing challenges head-on led to a deeper understanding of project management and enhanced important skills such as problem-solving.

During our internship, we learned that goal-setting is not confined to projects alone. By setting personal goals, we pushed ourselves beyond our limits. The guidance of our mentors played a significant role in honing our project management skills, enabling us to apply these principles to everyday life.

The environment at Origami Works Foundation proved to be conducive to learning, with a team of seasoned mentors who selflessly shared their knowledge. Working alongside such talented individuals opened our eyes to new perspectives, and their guidance equipped us with practical skills applicable to both our professional and personal lives. While making great progress on our professional skills, we also made great memories such as beating each other in a friendly game of pool after work!

A picture of Abby playing pool.
Abby Islas playing pool in the 200 West Madison game room.



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