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The Student Experience


Meet Stanley Black. Stanley was part of our spring Career Essentials Program and will be a senior this coming year at Curtis High School. Stefanie Jones, Program Coordinator, interviewed Stanley about his experience going through the program and how he transformed from being a bit shy to really coming out of his shell and gaining confidence. Stanley attended 100% of the career development workshops and field trips and even came into the Futures and Options office to volunteer. Here’s his take on the experience:


What was your favorite part of Career Essentials?
The presentation workshop, because at first I was nervous but the practice forced me to come out of my shell. I’ve presented in front of a group before and always felt nervous and afraid, looking down on the floor and speaking timidly, but after practicing in the Career Essentials program, I now know the steps needed to present confidently.


What was the most helpful thing you learned in the workshops?
Participating in the activities helped me understand the workshop topics better. My favorite activity was the Everyday Objects activity, where we came up with the different types of jobs associated with everyday objects. For example, because an everyday object like the telephone was invented, jobs at the Verizon store were created. The activity helped me understand careers better.


What did you learn from the career exploration field trips?
Teamwork, because at Situation Interactive it took several people from different departments to work together on just one project and it showed me that when working in a team everyone has to compromise in order to get work done, as well as be responsible for their work and share ideas with their team.


How have you used what you learned?
Leadership skills—I tutor 3rd and 4th graders in math and reading at a local elementary school and because of the workshops I took the initiative to pair students who are better at math or reading with students who need more help.
Also, telephone etiquette—I’ve changed how I speak on the phone. I’m now more professional when I receive calls. I even include a greeting, like “good morning,” whenever I answer the phone.


What do you want to do when you grow up?
Be an engineer, either an automotive engineer or software engineer.


Was this influenced by your experience in the program?
Yes, because the guest speaker who came to the workshop spoke about his career as an engineer (Futures and Options Board Member Richard Simon). He made my goal of being an engineer achievable because I had never met an engineer before and seeing someone who actually has the profession I want to achieve made it real to me.


Has your confidence in reaching this goal increased?
Yes, because I met a real engineer and he explained what he does. It showed me what the job would be like and gave me more confidence to pursue my career.


What school are you looking at for college? What major do you plan to choose?
Morrisville State College or Berkeley College, majoring in Automotive Technology.


Are you working now or do you have plans to get a job or internship while you’re in high school?
I’m plan on joining the CO-OP at my school, which is a work program for seniors. I’ve signed up to be placed at a school with children or fixing computers at my school through Mouse Squad. I’ve also signed up to volunteer in the Futures and Options Bridge to Work program.


What would you tell your friends about the program? What’s something that you learned that you would want to share with them?
I would tell my friends that the program helps with any weakness that you have, such as communication, interviewing, or presentation skills and will help you with future jobs that you apply for. You will also meet new people, the Futures and Options program staff is fun, you will meet other students from other schools, and travel to new places.


Meet Tionna Wilson. Tionna recently completed her 12 week internship at the Museum of Jewish Heritage through our George Westinghouse High School spring internship program. Our summer Program Assistant, Sami Rebein, sat down with Tionna to get the scoop on her experience in the program and her plans for the future.


What did you do at your internship?
I worked at the Museum of Jewish Heritage with a lot of nice people. I focused on customer service and office work.


What have you learned about being professional?
I’ve learned about the importance of being on time, having patience, being able to work with others, and to see how other people work.


What was the most helpful thing you learned in the career development workshops?
They helped me so much! The papers that they gave us with tips about communication have helped me a lot now that I’m looking for new jobs.


How does the work you did at your internship improve the company you work for? How did they benefit from having you there?
Well, I always liked to help other people. I was a fast worker and I would go around and ask other people if they needed help. They appreciated that.  I also would check with my boss to see if everything was good.


Has your internship helped you define what you want to do when you grow up?
I want to be an optometrist. Now I know more about business, working well with others, and communication. Now when I work in the optometry field, I can work better with people and patients.


The mentors were good too. My mentor helped me a lot because she took me to lunch and we talked about things we had in common. She wasn’t just my boss, she was my friend. She told me about her work experience and gave me advice.


Has your confidence in reaching this goal increased?
Yes, my confidence has increased. Especially when I go on interviews, I’m not shy anymore. I’m making more eye contact and giving straightforward answers.


To apply to our Career Essentials or Internship Program for fall 2012, please visit the How To Apply page of our website. Questions? Contact Program Coordinator, Rebecca Dougherty or call 212-601-0002.


Partnership with the School for Community Research and Learning Provides Five Paid Internships


Futures and Options partnered with The School for Community Research and Learning in the Bronx this spring to provide paid, mentored internships to five of their students.  The students were selected based on their maturity and the enthusiasm they expressed for an internship.


The five interns experienced the work world through several different industries: Christian Zayas was able to explore his interest in accounting through a firsthand glimpse of the work of an accountant at Grant Thornton;  Stephenie Ramoutar and Tahmina Akhter put their interest in medicine to work by assisting Public Health Solutions in helping families and children in medical need;  Fernando Castillo contributed to the proliferation of new businesses in New York by working at New York City’s Small Business Services, and  Matthew Figueroa donned a suit every day while greeting and mingling with guests at Eventi Hotel in Midtown. 

For most of these students, this was their first work experience. After completing the program, they have now been on an interview, have an updated resume, and understand the professionalism required to succeed at any job.  The students' experiences interning and participating in the Futures and Options career development workshops empower them to feel more confident in the workplace. 


Stephenie Ramoutar described her time interning at Public Health Solutions as “the best thing ever,” and was appreciative of this “once in a lifetime experience.”  Stephenie spoke about how a lot of kids want opportunities like this, but don’t get the chance, and that it “means everything to me.”  


For more information about our partnership with the NYC Department of Education schools or other NYC schools, please contact Director of Strategic Partnerships, Keleigh Spinner or call 212-601-0002.

Meet Sami Rebein!


Hi! My name is Sami Rebein and I will be the Program Assistant for Futures and Options’ Summer Internship Programs. I am originally from Kansas City and attend Grinnell College in Iowa. I am currently studying history and am still exploring options for my future (pun intended).


I found out about Futures and Options through Idealist.org, and was drawn to its mission. As a Career Peer Advisor at my college’s Career Development Center, I help students navigate their job and internship exploration and application processes. As a Futures and Options Program Assistant, I look forward to working closely with the Program Coordinators to empower New York City’s youth through career development. I will assist with all the internship programs, and will focus primarily on the KIPP Through College Internship Program.

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