Going into MIND Research Institute, where I was to intern for the summer, for the first time I didn’t know much of what to expect. A majority of my knowledge about the social benefit nonprofit came from my dad, who had done prior work with them. I also knew I was going to be an intern, a role which is typically not known for its glamour. Essentially, I pretty much knew MIND Research generates visual math software programs for schools all around the United States to improve math test scores. I also had heard about their upcoming Math Fair to be held at the end of the summer to kick off the new school year for MIND and to showcase their approach. Other than this, I had no idea what was ahead of me, besides the fact that it was going to be an adventure.
My first day on the job came a lot quicker than I expected, and so did the work. I had been introduced to Christine, who was in charge of social media. Right off the bat, she had me drafting up tweets and Facebook posts to promote an upcoming fundraiser. I know it’s assumed that teenagers have an innate talent with social media, but when I was handed my first assignment I was nervous. I had never promoted anything in my life, let alone an event for hundreds of people Although it took me awhile, I finished my first assignment of 10 tweets and 5 Facebook posts. While I was proud of my work, I assumed a lot of editing would need to be done, and that very few of them would actually make it onto the page. When I had finally emailed them to Christine, I received a response within minutes with a few added “hashtags,” instructions on how and when to publish each post, and the “OK” to publish them. Shocking! Don’t get me wrong, I’m fairly trusting of my own work, but it didn’t seem to me that anyone would have so much faith in me, and to publish it for their audience to see. But I definitely didn’t question it and was proud and excited to see my posts published the very next day all over MIND’s social media.
While my posts were out for the public to see, not all work was this glamorous. My next assignment was your stereotypical intern work, which the staff profusely apologized about. But I honestly didn’t mind it one bit. My jobs ranged from expense reports, to walking back and forth through the office bringing stacks of paper and boxes to the storage room, to filling out gift bags, and even sanding down the corners of giant-sized jigsaw puzzles so the kids at the Math Fair wouldn’t get hurt. It was tedious, but this was the work that I had expected to do. I knew that if I didn’t get it done, somebody with even more on their plate would have to do it. This was the kind of work you knew helped out the staff, especially for the big unveiling of the Math Fair. While I was unfortunately out of town during the event, I was able to get live footage of the big event from my enthusiastic dad, and I realized that every unglamorous assignment given to me had a very important purpose.
You could say my tasks at MIND varied just a little bit, but I wouldn’t trade my first real job experience for anything. I met some amazing people and learned things I’ll be able to use for the rest of my life. Every little task and job had reason, and I had the pleasure of seeing my work put into action. My work at MIND Research definitely was an adventure and learning experience, and I can’t wait for next summer.
Sydney Rosen, 2014 Summer Intern at MIND Research Institute, is a junior at Corona Del Mar High School in Newport Beach, Calif.
About the Author
MIND Research Institute welcomes guest blogs that highlight best practices in math education, blended learning and innovative learning strategies that inspire students at all ages.