The Institute was pleased to have a summer intern, Ramisa Bashar, this year through the Opportunity Network, an organization devoted to helping high school students achieve their college and career goals with a variety of supports beginning their sophomore year of high school and lasting throughout college. Ramisa was kind enough to share her reflections on her summer internship with this guest blog post. We wish her the best of luck as she begins her college career at Queens College in September!
Hi, I'm Ramisa Bashar, the summer intern. I am a fellow at the Opportunity Network, a nonprofit organization that serves as a career and college readiness program for students from underrepresented communities. Through this program, I learned about an internship at the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute and jumped on the opportunity. The internship piqued my interest because the Institute is affiliated with CUNY and I plan on attending Queens College in the fall, so I hoped to network with CUNY staff and alumni while there. Additionally, it was an opportunity to learn about the administrative positions and work that is involved ‘behind-the-scenes’ in nonprofits. I began working at the Institute before I had officially graduated high school, which made me considerably younger and less experienced. But, to my surprise, the staff gave me respect and expressed a desire to collaborate.
Upon entering the office my first day, I knew I liked it. Like most, my expectations of the people in high administrative positions were: white and male. However, the commitment to diversity and inclusion at the Institute is observable: women in positions of power and people of color working at every level. I recall Dona Anderson, the Institute’s Deputy Executive Director, explaining the importance of having the staff as diverse as the people whom they served. I relaxed immediately and felt that I could contribute to not only the Institute, but any future position at a major company or organization.
The largest project I have helped with is database entry for Start with Stars, a project under QUALITYstarsNY that helps to improve challenged programs not yet ready to participate in QUALITYstarsNY. I worked closely with Becky Plattus, the Special Projects Manager, to prepare for the new version of the Aspire website. This involved reviewing and compiling spreadsheets, continuous tests of the website for bugs and errors, and ultimately inputting data. I had the exciting opportunity to speak one-on-one with web developers and be a part of a new phase of the Institute, as they transition into the digital age.
Eventually, I also learned about different aspects and initiatives of the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute. For example, in a meeting for the Leadership Initiative, I learned about the NYS Children’s Program Administrator Credential (CPAC) — a credential for teachers and administrators that indicates they are prepared for the management and leadership work involved with early childhood. One of the Leadership Initiative directors spoke about the experience so passionately, that I can see myself obtaining the certificate.