This past month has been filled with new experiences through my two internships with the State Treasurer’s Office and the Columbus Foundation. My work at each is really different, and it’s been fun to go into work at either place varying days of the week to diverse challenges and opportunities.
The State Treasurer’s office has reminded me of one of BLF’s biggest takeaways and hopes for their fellows: learning to work through ambiguity. Oftentimes in this internship, I have been given a task that at first seems daunting because it is new to me, things like planning conference details in six different regions of Ohio when I am not at all familiar with Ohio geography (trust me, I am now), but that with a little time (and lots of Googling), I figure it out. And yes, asking questions is important, but I’ve also learned to take the initiative to seek out answers on my own first rather than relying on clear, specific directions.
I also really appreciate the purpose of our work. Currently, I’m helping update curriculum used in schools for financial literacy teaching and I’m speaking to principals and teachers directly who want and need our support. I wish that in high school, financial literacy had been more of a priority, so it’s been cool to have a hand in updating materials and ensuring their distribution for today’s schools.
Lastly, I’m quite taken with my lunch view each day at the Statehouse. It’s been peaceful to sit on the steps of our state government and observe the hustle and bustle all around one of the busiest areas of Columbus.
The Columbus Foundation has also taught me a lot. I’m learning tons of grant vocabulary and about development and fundraising for nonprofits. In addition to my work on the new fellowship program (apps coming soon!), I’ve also been able to sit in on a few higher level meetings and learn more about the Foundation’s role in the Weinland Park Collaborative and neighborhood revitalization efforts.
I’ve been truly inspired by the amazing work Central Ohio nonprofits are doing for our community, and I’ve loved hearing their innovative ideas to grow and make change in the future. I’ve also been inspired by the Foundation’s role in the sector, specifically their ability to strategize for our underserved neighborhoods and direct funds appropriately. Additionally, their work in Weinland Park reminds me of why I have a passion for community development and how city and regional planning knowledge can make a difference. It makes me most excited for my future in the field and having a hand in collaborative, interdisciplinary work that truly makes a difference.
Overall, in addition to my ongoing work with the STEAM Factory, these internships have made my summer worthwhile in a nerdy, work sort-of-way. I was reminded yesterday of how even as a young child, I hated summer and would always wish for school and projects and learning. It feels similar now, as I can’t imagine a summer less intensive. The skills and relationships I’ve developed this summer are sure to stay with me, and I feel grateful for the opportunities. Here’s to hoping the school year and my future is just as great and I find workplaces that welcome me, mentor me, and teach me as much as these have.
P.S. Currently locked out of my apartment (have been all night), so at least this blog makes this wasted time a little more productive, right?