June is a very exciting time each year at Futures and Options. Students are embarking on interviews with potential internship sites and attending orientations to brush up on their work-readiness skills. Behind the scenes, program staff is working almost round-the-clock to make it all happen, and to ensure that the summer 2015 Internship Program will be a successful and meaningful experience for all those involved.
We’re especially enthusiastic about this summer, because a record-breaking 274 interns will be working at businesses, nonprofit organizations and government agencies throughout the city. While they are working, they’ll also be attending weekly professional development workshops to help them develop the kinds of skills to help them make the most of their work experience, such asinterpersonal communication, workplace etiquette and conflict resolution.
Two program assistants have joined the Futures and Options staff for the summer, both tasked with helping manage the summer Internship Program. Amanda Blachorsky, who is a senior at Binghamton University, and Harmony Richman, a senior at Barnard College of Columbia University, are excited to be a part of the team. “I can’t wait to be a part of the professional journeys of our interns this summer and witness how much they all learn and grow,” said Harmony.
Amanda spoke from past experience of the value of internships. “Over the past few years I have had several internships that have really helped me grow as a person and explore what I want to do with my life,” said Amanda. “Each one challenged me in different ways and taught me lessons I didn’t know I needed.”
Interns will begin work on July 6. The program will last six to eight weeks, and students will work between 25-35 hours per week.
Futures and Options is very thankful for the generous funding of this program. The summer Internship Program is funded by Capital One, The Charles Hayden Foundation, The George Link, Jr. Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, KIPP Through College and The Pinkerton Foundation. Futures and Options is very thankful for this generous funding, which makes it possible to offer underserved NYC teens valuable paid work experiences.
Spotlight on an Alum: Sherice Goodwine
Sherice Goodwine at A Toast To Brighter Futures in April 2015.
Sherice Goodwine was in the Futures and Options Internship program in 2008. She is a graduate of Smith College and Bard High School Early College, and is currently a marketing coordinator at Inc. Magazine.
When interns participate in our work-readiness workshops, networking is often emphasized as one of the key steps to a successful professional career. Sherice Goodwine knows firsthand the impact that networking can have. Using a connection she forged during her internship with Futures and Options, she was able to land a job out of college at the same company where she had interned.
Sherice, who was an intern at Mansueto Ventures, made sure to keep in contact with her supervisors after she completed her placement. Upon graduating from Smith College in 2013, she reached back out to see if there were open opportunities in marketing, the field she was interested in. “I remembered how much I really liked the Inc. Magazine brand, which is a part of Mansueto Ventures, during my internship. I was looking to work in a capacity where I could be creative and utilize my analytical skills/background,” she explained. “I thought working in marketing at Inc. would be the perfect opportunity, so I applied to a few positions within the company and landed the marketing coordinator position.”
She is now the marketing coordinator at Inc. In this capacity, she is responsible for the production of two ad sections and the production of in-house marketing materials and promotional items. She also has the opportunity to strategize and pitch integrated ad proposals for Inc. media partners.
“If it weren’t for my internship at Mansueto Ventures, and for me keeping in contact with my network there, I would not have landed at Inc. magazine in the way that I did,” she said. “I really think the skills Futures and Options prepared me with helped me to be successful in my internship, which led them to be willing to bring me onboard full time after college.”
Sherice recommends the Futures and Options Internship Program to all New York City high school students. “I believe the value of Futures and Options is one beyond measure,” she expressed. “From the career development workshops to the internship placements themselves, students have the opportunity to get well versed in the business world and be a step ahead in their professional journey.”
College Success Students Complete Program and Their Freshmen Year
College Success mentors and mentees competed in a Financial District scavenger hunt at their last event in June.
Futures and Options wrapped up its second year of the College Success Program with a celebration recognizing participants’ graduation from the program – as well as their outstanding achievement of finishing their first year of college!
The College Success Program, which started in fall 2013, matches graduates of Futures and Options programs who are entering their first year of college with young professionals and upperclassmen, who provide support and guidance as they navigate the transition from high school. In addition, students attend events on career exploration, work-readiness and networking and receive individualized advice on course selection and academic progress.
This year, 16 college freshmen were paired with mentors – six of whom were Futures and Options alumni themselves. Throughout the year, the students and their mentors attended events on networking and social media, as well as a career exploration field trip to BNP Paribas. Mentors and students also kept in touch over the course of the school year, both in person and over text and email.
On June 3, participants were presented with certificates recognizing their completion of the program. But first, they joined their mentors to take part in a competitive scavenger hunt in the Financial District. The teams had a terrific time, and took some great pictures at famous landmarks throughout the neighborhood.
The mentors and mentees all expressed an eagerness to keep in touch beyond the program’s end.
“The best part of being a mentor was seeing the success that my mentee brought forth in himself,” said Mahfug Houssain, a College Success mentor and Futures and Options alum. “Building a relationship with him was an absolute pleasure.”
Mahfug was matched to mentor Dylan Jusino, a student at Pace University, who echoed his sentiments. "Each time I spoke to my mentor I was both grateful and excited," he explained. "Grateful because he made me more opened-minded about future opportunities and excited because he always had something intriguing to say."
Futures and Options Welcomes New Program Coordinator
James Gurney joined the Futures and Options team in June 2015. Prior to joining Futures and Options, James taught an undergraduate course at the University of Georgia on diversity and multiculturalism in American schools, developed curriculum for an online textbook transformation grant, and worked as an academic mentor for student-athletes.
James graduated from the University of Georgia in 2015 with a Ph.D in Social Foundations of Education. His research investigated the implementation of educational policies and the realities of classroom practices in Togo, West Africa. He received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of California—Santa Barbara in 2008, where he double majored in International Affairs and Black Studies. After graduation, he spent two years in the Peace Corps working as a Girls’ Education and Empowerment Volunteer in Togo. During his service, he taught Life Skills in the local middle school, organized microfinance cooperatives, and managed grant funding for Water, Sanitation and Health initiatives. He is excited to apply his experiences and skills to create new opportunities for students at Futures and Options