And just like that, our first-ever internship program has come to a close. For the last time, I’m Tessah Curtis, one of the 12 college students a part of the FFA Summer Intern Cohort. I’ve spent the past six weeks working part-time for FFA, writing posts like this one, and part-time for Zeta, a personal finance resource for couples.
It’s hard to put this experience into words. I learned about this program after Leslie (FFA Founder & CEO) spoke to one of my classes, Spring Quarter. It felt like a dream come true as I had spent months trying to search for an internship in the middle of a global pandemic to no avail. I was hopeful but nervous and unsure if my abilities were good enough. The moment I got the email from Rohre, offering me a position in the cohort felt surreal. I remember whisper screaming on the phone with my mom in the middle of Whole Foods, letting her know I got it.
There isn’t one moment that stands out; there’s many. Difficult ones like when the video editing software I was using deleted my work two days in a row or wishing I could sleep in all summer. And good ones like having Billy Porter like our post about him and his husband on Zeta’s Instagram or seeing the posts I’ve written go live on the FFA blog. We also had some fantastic virtual team moments like “Fireside Chats” with Erin Chapple & Betti Fujikado.
Of course, I wasn’t the only student who was a part of the program, so keep reading below for some more reflections.
When asked for the biggest takeaway from the experience, Holly Hanson explained “I can do a lot more than I thought I was capable of doing. I found some projects out of my comfort zone and was challenged to complete them but felt more confident after.” For intern Sara Syed, the environment of working at a startup was what stood out: “ felt that I was not only able to make a larger impact, but I had the opportunity to learn so much, working on projects and being a part of meetings that were relevant to my interests.”
Isabelle Nimick, an intern for Doulaworks, talked about how if she could go back to the beginning of her internship, she would recommend two things: “be sure to stick with the routine you create” and “connecting with [the other interns sooner] provides a more educational experience.”
In terms of favorite moments, “the beginnings of meeting with my bosses, when we catch up on non-work-related things,” was what stood out to intern Celia Heath, “I’m looking forward to hopefully continuing working for them and staying in touch as my career progresses.” Intern Harjasleen Gulati said, “Seeing the work that I have been doing being applied right away and making a tangible impact on Hoovie has been the highlight for me.”
I think I speak for all of us when I say this experience was once in a lifetime. Working for female-founded startups are not only empowering for me, as a young woman preparing to go into the workforce, but also a constant learning experience. I saw the team at Zeta double in size during my time there and researched topics like venture capital and search engine optimization. To anyone else who may have this opportunity, my advice is to go into this full force and be ready to work on your feet. It’s exciting and hectic and so unbelievably rewarding.