FFA’s Intern Program- Midpoint Check In

As we approach the mid-way point of our internship program, I wanted to check back in and share an update on how our work is going. I’ve loved the work I’ve gotten to do so far. With FFA, I’ve been working on supporting marketing & PR by creating content for the blog and social and pitching my first ever PR story to publications. In my work for Zeta, a personal finance resource for couples, I built a content calendar, researched celebrity relationships and learned how to use a new video editing software.

One of my favorite parts of the program is our weekly Friday check-ins, where the interns will share highs and lows and what they have been working on that week. After reading some of these, I realized I am not the only student doing some pretty fascinating work. I decided to speak with three of our interns, Isabelle Nimick, Sara Syed and Hanna Noren, about their work for companies within FFA. Isabelle works for Doulaworks, a resource and community for expectant parents, Sara works for Thinker Tinker, a children’s tech toy company, and Hanna works for Litesprite, a platform that develops games to help patients manage chronic conditions. Here’s what they had to say.

What is it about the company you work for that appealed to you?

IN: What attracted me most to Doulaworks was definitely my CEO, Rachel Adler. Additionally, I have always been extremely passionate about womxn’s health. I was involved in a service project aimed to help low-income and undocumented womxn get access to breast cancer treatment. I have worked with kids as a teacher, teacher’s assistant, tutor, and mentor but I have never worked with parents. So I thought this would be a great opportunity to learn more about a stage of womxn’s health that many people experience. Rachel and I share a passion for education and information gathering. So I believed our values and goals aligned closely.

SS: I am working at Thinker-Tinker, a children’s tech educational toy company. Their mission is to incorporate technology into children’s play and learning, without revolving around screens or devices. Previously, I have conducted research on the use of technology for educating children with autism, specifically researching ways to use technology to encourage social interaction. For me, Thinker-Tinker really felt like a great company that aligned with my aspirations of using technology for social good and education. I was also really inspired by the CEO, Yuting Su, who encouraged me to use this internship as an opportunity to learn and grow my skill set. Last summer, I had a very traditional tech development and coding intensive internship, which was a great experience but I didn’t feel that I had the chance to learn as much as I could. Yuting has given me the opportunity to continue to expand my coding skillset, while also exploring other sectors of the startup world.

HN: After suffering a brain injury nearly 7 years ago I became fascinated by neuroscience: I was so baffled that a simple fall could have such life-altering effects. Through the injury, I met many physicians and a passion for understanding the brain and healthcare in general transpired. I now study psychology at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and am hoping to combine my degree and passion for improving healthcare in my future career. This summer I’m interning at Litesprite, a company that provides novel gaming solutions to improve healthcare outcomes for patients managing chronic conditions. Litesprite’s app “Sinasprite” is a game that helps individuals manage behavioral conditions ranging from anxiety to depression using evidence-based treatment methods such as meditation and journaling. When I received the email from FFA with a list of four companies looking for a summer intern, Litesprite instantly caught my attention. It seemed (pardon the cliché but…) “too good to be true!” An app that is directly related to my studies in psychology, passion for neuroscience, and is developed by a company that contributes solutions to improve healthcare overall sounded like it was tailored exactly to my personal passions and career interests. I also instantly recognized Sinasprite’s vital contribution to alleviating the negative effects of the global pandemic on mental health.

What is the main thing you are working on during your internship?

IN: I am working primarily on research and outreach. A lot of the research I have been doing is around market size and competitors. Within that, I am learning a lot about discrimination within sexual and reproductive health, the benefits of labor support, and the stages of pregnancy/motherhood. Research is a part of my outreach work since I am tasked to find new birthing professionals or companies we want to work with. One of the biggest tasks is contacting people about recycling their blog post or podcast onto our Doulaworks Edu comprehensive educational guide from preconception to postpartum life. That is a project that excites me a lot because there are not many inclusive and diverse educational platforms about fertility, pregnancy, birth, and postpartum information.

SS: My work has been divided into traditional coding/development and social media/marketing. For the majority of my internship, I am learning Unity to help contribute to the coding and creating scenes for one of Thinker-Tinker’s newest apps. I am also performing data analytics and visualizations of their user data.

HN: The focus of my role as an intern for Litesprite this summer is creating the marketing campaign for the direct to consumer launch of the updated version of Sinasprite.

What has been a highlight of your internship so far?

IN: I think the highlight of my internship thus far isn’t something very tangible or a certain event, but I feel like I am constantly learning something new. Every day I get to work on reproductive justice, business, or the science behind doula support. More so, since everything is on a virtual platform, there is another added element of adjusting to an online workspace. It is an interdisciplinary field and I enjoy it all greatly!

SS: For me, the best part of this internship has really been the opportunity to learn so much. I’ve really enjoyed the fast pace work environment and the opportunity to work on more than one project at a time. While I have a strong computer science background, I am still expanding on my skill set, learning Unity which uses C and JavaScript for data analysis. Everyone at Thinker-Tinker has been really encouraging and has helped me to learn so much. It is satisfying to see the work I’ve done make an impact on the company.

HN: It has been incredibly inspiring to work so closely with the Swatee Surve, the CEO. Meeting up with Swatee and the creative director of Litesprite, Sean Watson to construct a Value Proposition was a big highlight. Our socially distant in-person meeting was really exciting and made the difference in collaborative efforts, group engagement and the ideas that transpire as a result of live “in the flesh” meetings versus Zoom meetings very apparent. Though Zoom (and similar programs) provide a fantastic solution to the limits on human contact which are needed to control the spread of the coronavirus, this meeting further instilled my belief in the importance of human interaction for personal and professional prosperity.

What are some of your goals for the rest of your internship and beyond?

IN: Some of my goals for the rest of the internship would be learning more about business and I would like to accomplish a lot on the projects I am currently working on. I think my biggest ambition for the internship is to be a great intern for Rachel and representative of FFA by making a positive impact on my peers and for Doulaworks. However, when thinking about my takeaways of this experience, I now know you can help others in a for-profit manner. I also wish to continually educate myself on womxn’s reproductive and sexual health and encourage doulas for when people in my life decide to have children. On a macro-level, I will advocate and demand change in the healthcare system when it comes to access to health and the racism within the system.

SS: For the rest of the internship, I really hope to continue to expand my skill set and learn under the guidance of Yuting. My life long goal is to continue to find ways to use technology to better the world. I hope to found a startup that can help me to accomplish this.

HN: My goals for the rest of the internship primarily concern my performance on the projects assigned and tasks at hand. I’m excited to be a part of the “behind the scenes” work of the D2C launch and to be putting the knowledge from my degree in psychology into action while learning so much about what goes into launching a startup! Goals beyond the internship are largely TBD as the global pandemic makes everything about the future feel uncertain. However, having an internship this summer for a company I feel so connected to and have such a strong belief in has sparked a new sense of optimism about my future and (another cliché) the endless possibilities that lie ahead!

It’s pretty clear our interns are doing some incredible work. If you’re interested in learning more, follow us on social to hear more about the program and our awesome cohort!

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