Summer Community Service Fellowship Program
This past summer, Katherine Wang was the Harvard Club in Concord's recipient of the Summer Community Service Fellowship.
Katherine spent the summer interning in Buenos Aires, Argentina working with an organization that provides training, financing and mentorship to young, disadvantaged entrepreneurs throughout Argentina.
Here are Katherine's reflections:
This summer I had the incredible opportunity to intern at Fundacion Impulsar in Buenos Aires, Argentina with the help of the Harvard Club in Concord. Fundacion Impulsar is a microcredit organization that provides training, financing, and mentorship to young, disadvantaged entrepreneurs throughout Argentina. During my time in Buenos Aires, I assisted the team there by creating a report that detailed potential funding opportunities for the NGO from local, national, and international institutions. In addition, I interviewed entrepreneurs under our mentorship to qualitatively analyze the benefits and efficacy of our programs. It was amazing to be able to meet and interact with local entrepreneurs and gain an understanding of their communities. We also recorded these interviews, editing them into bite-size clips that we utilized to enhance Fundacion Impulsar's social media presence. Throughout my time there, I assisted in organizing company events - including a breakfast uniting professionals across Argentina's microcredit industry - and dedicated myself to learning abou the inner-workings of the organization through observation. Working in a Spanish-speaking country also helped to improve my language skills at an exponential rate, and I am now considerably more comfortable in both conversational and professional Spanish.
The fellowship overall was an amazing adventure. I was able to gain experience in a professional workplace and a much greater understanding of the non-profit sector, all while improving my Spanish and immersing myself in a foreign culture. I am so grateful for the opportunity to spend a summer working in Argentina, and it would not have been possible without the Harvard Club in Concord. My internship has truly reaffirmed my interest in public service, and made me even more curious to explore the non-profit sector in the US as I imagine it could be drastically different.
In 2012, the Harvard Club In Concord provided funding for a Harvard undergraduate who was interested in pursuing a career in public and community service. The Summer Community Service Fellowship program (SCSF) is a collaboration between the Alumni Affairs Office and the Center for Public Interest Careers, working with individual Clubs to help students explore summer internships that support their local communities and non-profit organizations. The fellowship also provides broad experiences that help students explore their career interests.
2012 SCSF Fellowship Recipient: Renee Rober ’13, from Lynnfield and Adams House, was the recipient of the Club’s $3,000 summer stipend for 2012. She worked on several arts-related projects at Emerson Umbrella Center for the Arts in Concord.
Renee had this to say about her summer experience:
“After interviewing for a few corporate marketing jobs and feeling somewhat disillusioned, I began thinking that perhaps I could sleuth out a way to both work with the arts and do public good. Thankfully, a friend directed me to the Center for Public Interests (CPIC), and I soon began working with CPIC and the Harvard Club of Concord to secure a local internship. Diana Beaudoin and Phil Schneider immediately rattled off a number of relevant organizations including Emerson Umbrella, a non-profit haven for the arts in Concord, MA. Within a few weeks, everyone involved helped me secure an internship with Emerson Umbrella under the Director of Education, Jason Springer.
I arrived at Emerson Umbrella in the last week of May and was warmly greeted by the amicable staff and community of artists. I was immediately immersed in a number of administrative tasks, which began with collecting all the pertinent information for the fall catalogue of courses, which turned out to be both a challenging and rewarding experience. Assembling the fall catalogue was challenging in that Jason had implemented a new system of compiling course information that was desperately needed, but required the piecing together of information from phone conversations, emails, past catalogues, and conversations with staff members. However, the process of compiling the information improved my interpersonal skills as I reached out to each teacher who taught there and honed my ability to independently manage a project from start to finish. Also, the tight-knit community was extremely appreciative of my efforts and excited to have a young person who cared as much about the arts as they did.
Following that effort, we switched gears and moved onto preparing for the summer arts program, Summer Arts Under the Umbrella. For this, I helped with the creation of staff orientation documents, the input of courses into an online catalogue, and, most importantly, the staffing of the summer arts program. Frequently, I was called upon to fill in either as a lead teacher or assistant teacher for the children’s classes. As the youngest sibling in my family, I have occasionally harbored an aversion to children and have felt bewildered seeing avuncular twenty-somethings cooing at floppy-limbed children. However, I filled in so often that I finally found my own way of interacting with kids, and--gasp!--even looked forward to substituting. I might even venture to say that they enjoyed what I could teach them. Moreover, I was fortunate enough to gain some skills outside of nonprofit management. A few weeks before my internship ended, I headed downstairs to the pottery studio to kill some time waiting for the traffic to subside. (The commute--how do you all do it!) I consider myself lucky to have been encouraged by both Jason and the supervisor of the ceramics studio to participate actively in the open studio community. I wound up hand building and talking with my fellow potters for hours after work, to the chagrin of parents whom I failed to call with clay-covered hands. This experience directly inspired me to sign up for a class with the Harvard Ceramics Program to improve my pitiful wheel throwing technique. I am glad to report great strides have been made, and my room can look forward to an ample collection of mugs and bowls.
I am hugely grateful for the experience afforded to me by the coordinated efforts of the CPIC office, Emerson Umbrella, and, of course, the Harvard Club in Concord. My internship provided me with invaluable insights about nonprofit arts management and sharpened my understanding for the need of committed and conscientious people in the public sector. Thank you!”
Jason Springer, Director of Educational Programs at Emerson Umbrella Center for the Arts, was Renee’s supervisor. Here is what he had to say about the experience:
“As a not-for-profit community art center with a robust education department and an eight-week summer arts program, we greatly benefited from the summer fellowship of the Harvard Club In Concord. The fellowship recipient that was placed with us for the summer was able to use her skills, intelligence, and creativity to help plan and develop our quality arts programs. The positive work experience for the student was matched by the service she gave to our organization.”