Summer always flies by, but TIP’s momentum seemed especially unstoppable this year! All internships were under way by week 6 and the second half of the TIP program shifted its focus on career readiness events, including a second Career Day, a Virtual Mock Interview Day, and a cover letter workshop hosted by Disney VoluntEARS. These opportunities to engage with professionals from some of the largest, most recognizable companies are paramount to the TIP experience, and it is our primary goal to empower our students and create new channels for networking and relationship-building. We were fortunate to have a wealth of professional partners excited to meet our students and ready to lend their expertise. And now with some work experience under their belts, our interns are more than ready to move seamlessly from the job search all the way to their first day in the office.
During Career Day, over 50 TIPsters convened to learn about the ever-widening range of possibilities within industries such as entertainment (Nickelodeon), healthcare (Cedars-Sinai), wellness (HeadSpace), education (Edlio and Everydae), and nonprofit organization (Habitat for Humanity)—many of which were new to our students. Exploring what work can look like, especially in this current virtual space, proved to be hugely beneficial. “I really enjoyed being able to network with professionals in a variety of industries. It was really cool to meet them all and understand what they do on a daily basis and how they got there,” said Rahma, a senior. Another student agreed. “It was great to see that there are different careers besides the very objectified one I had in my mind,” said Toni, also a senior.
The following week, students got a chance to put their interviewing skills to the test with our first-ever Virtual Mock Interview Day. In addition to welcoming back Nickelodeon and Cedars Sinai, professionals from e-commerce (Amazon Web Services), engineering (Buro Happold), public relations (42West), social impact (Dave Banking, Revolve Impact, The Library Corporation, and Jogg), and entertainment (Sony Animation, Illumination, Vydia, and Participant Media) met one-on-one with over 40 students, providing feedback and advice about how to best represent themselves during an interview. “The mock interview was definitely a worth-while experience,” said Daniella, an 11th grader. “My favorite part of the LA Promise Fund internship was being able to network with professionals from various careers and backgrounds. Even though the program was not in-person, I still feel like my knowledge on professional development has definitely been enriched.”
The final week of TIP was capped off with a cover letter and resume workshop hosted by Disney. Students met with VoluntEARS in small groups, where they learned from professionals as well as each other about how to build an effective narrative for their job experience. For many TIPsters, it was the first time they’d had a professional review of their work outside of an academic setting—and here, there are no grades, only positive reinforcement and advice for areas of growth. “During the Disney resume review, I took notes on things that should be changed about my resume and plan on changing really soon. My willingness to learn spiked as well because I became more curious and comfortable and began to ask questions,” said Toni.
And many students shared their appreciation for the safe and open space TIP provided them during their professional development. “Everyone was really welcoming and it was an amazing environment,” said Antonio, a junior. Tinbite, a senior, also remarked about his personal growth over the 8 weeks. “My ability to communicate and network has greatly increased thanks to this program. Due to training and constantly pushing myself, I managed to communicate with the guest who worked with Nickelodeon afterwards and generate a strong bond which will definitely prove useful in the future.” As summer’s end quickly approaches, our TIPsters will walk into another school year prepared not only for academic success but career readiness as well.
When Martin Bros., a Los Angeles-based construction and engineering firm, decided to partner with TIP and take on 10 interns for the summer, no one anticipated COVID-19 would make meeting in-person all but impossible. But Heather Powen, Director of Marketing and Community Relations, rose to the challenge and created a virtual learning experience by providing the interns with industry-standard digital rendering and 3D modeling software and assigning them real world architecture, engineering, and construction projects.
Toni, a 11th grader, was a bit skeptical about what her work experience would be, but the internship far exceeded her expectations. “This being my first internship… when I realized it was going to be virtual, I thought Martin Bros. was going to give us an Excel sheet and some data to put in and that was it. But they brought a lot to us—a lot of knowledge, a lot of engagement, and they were really there for us. They genuinely wanted us to succeed.”
Another intern, Nelson, who will be attending engineering school at UC Berkeley in the fall, saw Martin Bros. as a perfect pre-college learning experience for him. Because the internship was so short, Nelson found himself immersed in his work almost immediately, and his swift adaptability paid off. “After downloading SketchUp Pro, I was thinking we’d have a week of pure training before they assigned us a project, but now when I look back, I’m grateful that they just gave us a project and said, ‘Figure it out.’ There was a learning curve, obviously, but not as much as I thought there’d be.”
One look at all the final presentations from the TIP 2020 cohort confirmed a remarkable amount of success over a very short period of time. In just four weeks, the interns produced several 3D models of structures they designed for ways to make inhabited spaces more usable and beautiful. Toni designed a rechargeable electric scooter station powered by a uniquely curved solar panel roof, which provided sustainable energy while also enhancing the structure’s curb appeal. She also imagined how a UCLA dorm room could utilize rainscreen walls by embedding them directly into the structure, thus preventing erosion and making the building more sustainable over time.
Nelson spent a lot of his time focusing on all the little details of the spaces he created, using the software to eke out the correct dimensions and proportions of each room he designed. He found himself having to think like a real engineer, which was one of his primary goals for the internship and something that his supervisor encouraged all the interns to think about from the beginning. “It was extremely helpful for me to come into a new internship already knowing what I wanted to attain by the end of it. I took a computer course that did 3D modeling [in high school], and it would’ve taken weeks for them to get to this point! Having everything move at a faster pace allowed me to unlock a part of me that I didn’t know I had: I could learn something very quickly if I put my mind and effort into it. It’s a lesson I don’t think I’ll ever forget.”
But Toni’s biggest takeaway was understanding how vast and diverse the engineering field can be. Even though Toni also has an interest in engineering and is studying STEM subjects in high school, Toni was pleasantly surprised by the range of opportunities Martin Bros. provides as a company. “[Before my internship] I didn’t even know Building Information Modelling (BIM) existed, and now I’m glad I do know because I will consider that career for myself in the future.” In the meantime, Toni recently interviewed for a new in-person job to carry her through the rest of the summer. “Luckily, I talked about my experience with Martin Bros. in the interview and gave them an updated resume. I just started working yesterday!”