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Meet our Summer Interns

Andrew L. // Customer Insights Intern
How did you hear about DonorsChoose.org?
I think the first time I heard about DonorsChoose.org was actually through the Colbert Report, although I became more closely familiar with the mission once I started to work with students in high poverty schools.
What do you do here at DonorsChoose.org?
In terms of my work, I’ll be doing a few projects, ranging from issues arising from this year’s Amazon integration to clarifying confusing clauses in the User Agreement. That being said, I am totally open to new projects and ideas anyone here may need help on.
What do you hope to gain from working at DonorsChoose.org?
I’m excited to start seeing the inner-workings of a nonprofit and to work for a company that is dedicated to improving a public educational system which, relative to American wealth, is a nightmare.
If you could meet anyone in the world – dead or alive – who would it be and what would you say to them?
There are probably two people I’d love to meet (although my list will probably change as time passes). The first is a German philosopher named Ludwig Wittgenstein; he’d probably just confuse me, but he’s my favorite read. The second would be Quentin Tarantino, and that would mostly just be to give him a high-five for his screenplay in True Romance.

Anna L. // Donor Appreciation Intern
How did you hear about DonorsChoose.org?
I first heard about DonorsChoose.org when Stephen Colbert mentioned it on his show, but I learned about this internship opportunity on InternMatch.com. I checked out the DonorsChoose.org website, and quickly fell in love with the organization!
What do you do here at DonorsChoose.org?
I work with Christina and Rosanna (on the Donor Appreciation team), helping them with thank-you package (TYP) integrity assurance, data analysis, and the high school internship program. On a daily basis, I deal with teacher customer service cases regarding TYPs, help out with TYP check-in, and try to resolve any issues with error packages. In short, I make sure that the donors, teachers, and volunteers are all satisfied and continue to be a part of our organization!
What do you hope to gain from working at DonorsChoose.org?
I hope to find out more about how the non-profit world works and how we can further improve public education. Mostly, I’m excited to learn from my amazing coworkers, whose passion and hard work have made DonorsChoose.org so successful.
If you could meet anyone in the world – dead or alive – who would it be and what would you say to them?
If I could meet anyone in the world, it would probably be Marie Curie. I’d love to hear her explain her research and the awesome science behind it. I’d also ask her what sorts of challenges she had – and how she coped with them – as a scientist in a male-dominated field.

Carolyn P. // Logistics & Business Relations Intern
How did you hear about DonorsChoose.org?
I heard about DonorsChoose.org from a professional advancement counselor in my academic program Prep for Prep. I knew that I wanted to intern at a non-profit because for so long I have been the beneficiary of one. So, when I contacted my professional advancement counselor, the first name that popped up was DonorsChoose.org. After doing some research, it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the organization.
What do you do here at DonorsChoose.org?
I am currently working on analyzing Net Promoter Score survey data in order to present to vendors in the coming months. Since this is a pilot project, I hope to help create improvements for the expansion and continuation of this survey in the future.
What do you hope to gain from working at DonorsChoose.org?
In my time here, I hope to leave my own personal fingerprint on the organization with my work with the NPS survey data. In addition, I look forward to learning about the different teams that keep DonorsChoose.org running so well. (Perhaps, in the process, know what career path I want to take on.)
If you could meet anyone in the world – dead or alive – who would it be and what would you say to them?
If I could meet anyone, dead or alive, I would like to meet William Shakespeare. I think it would be interesting to hear his opinion about how his works, filled with puns and inappropriate jokes, are taken so very seriously in our contemporary context.

Christiena A. // Customer Insights Intern

How did you hear about DonorsChoose.org?
I actually heard about DonorsChoose.org by chance through a website called InternMatch.com.  I was ravaging the internet during the sad end of the “best four years of my life” (High School?) when I came across DonorsChoose.org, and after researching the company I immediately saw an opportunity to begin the next four years of my life off on the right foot.
What do you do here at DonorsChoose.org?
I work directly with teachers in order to answer any Registration or Account Info questions they may have, and my job is to make sure that their questions are answered and that they feel happy and well taken care of by the end of our correspondence. I also work on various customer service and data analysis projects throughout the week.
What do you hope to gain from working at DonorsChoose.org?
I hope to learn everything I can about: providing quality customer service, working in a non-profit, the various computer programs used in this website-based office setting, and this company’s interesting and unique business model.
If you could meet anyone in the world – dead or alive – who would it be and what would you say to them?
If I could meet anyone in the world, I would definitely meet Oprah and I would ask her one thing: “How can I be you when I grow up?”

Christin W. // Marketing Intern
How did you hear about DonorsChoose.org?
I heard about DonorsChoose.org through my program, Prep for Prep.
What do you do here at DonorsChoose.org?
So far, I’ve helped the Marketing Team write thank you notes for donors, find examples of organizations that have integrated their Instagram feed on their websites, and find great classroom photos for campaigns. Currently, I am working on email audits!
What do you hope to gain from working at DonorsChoose.org?
I hope to build the skill set to promote a cause that I am passionate about, like the one here at DonorsChoose.org. I also hope to always carry the knowledge that your happiness heavily relies on doing something that you love since it is extremely apparent at DonorsChoose.org that it can create a friendly, lively, and productive work atmosphere.
If you could meet anyone in the world – dead or alive – who would it be and what would you say to them?
If I could have met anyone in this world, it would have had to been James Baldwin. If given the chance, I would ask him what inspired such a forthright personality and rhetoric that is so palpable through his literary works. I would also ask him how did he balance that with the restrictions of being a gay, black male in the US during the height of his career.

David L. // Customer Insights Intern
How did you hear about DonorsChoose.org?
I was browsing internship listings on the Internet and stumbled across DonorsChoose.org – it looked interesting so I checked the website out and decided I had to apply.
What do you do here at DonorsChoose.org?
I do a little bit of everything here – researching new schools before they go live on the site, behind-the-scenes work on some of our tech needs, and, of course, answering customer inquiries!
What do you hope to gain from working at DonorsChoose.org?
I hope to learn about what it takes to keep a website like this one active and productive, as well as to learn more about the challenges facing public school teachers.
If you could meet anyone in the world – dead or alive – who would it be and what would you say to them?
I would spend an evening with the writers of the Daily Show and see how they manage to make humor out of current events in today’s world.

Gina K. // Business Development and Design Intern
How did you hear about DonorsChoose.org?
I initially heard about DonorsChoose.org 2-3 years ago through Andrew Protain, who works on the Technology & User Experience Team.
What do you do here at DonorsChoose.org?
This summer I will be providing design support and assisting with research, reporting, and business development projects.
What do you hope to gain from working at DonorsChoose.org?
I hope to become better at collecting key insights and storytelling from working at DonorsChoose.org.
If you could meet anyone in the world – dead or alive – who would it be and what would you say to them?
I would love to meet Nikola Tesla… in a Tesla… and say a cheesy pick up line like, “you currently electrify me.”

Isabel F. // Education Policy Intern
How did you hear about DonorsChoose.org?
I learned about DonorsChoose.org during its earliest days from my cousin, Charles Best!
What do you do here at DonorsChoose.org?
I work with Mel (Senior Director of Policy and Learning) on a lot of different projects that are focused on educating the DonorsChoose.org team on issues related to education. Currently I am working on creating a glossary on education terms that everyone should know, an education must-read book list, as well as a list of top education related organizations to be aware of. The glossary will be posted on the wiki page along with  Mallory’s (Education Policy & Programs Fellow) awesome videos; to help staff better understand what’s happening in education, and what has happened in education.
What do you hope to gain from working at DonorsChoose.org?
I hope to gain a better understanding of how a non-profit functions as well as learning more about our current education system and how we can improve it. I also hope to gain a network of awesome education advocates that I can call my friends. Thanks to everyone for being so welcoming and nice, I already feel like I have accomplished this last goal!
If you could meet anyone in the world – dead or alive – who would it be and what would you say to them?
If I could meet anyone in the world I would want to meet the unknown birth parents of my adopted grandmother. I would love to learn a bit more about my family history and hopefully gain some insights into why my family is the way they are.

KC H. // Logistics & Business Relations Intern
How did you hear about DonorsChoose.org?
Previous intern who also goes to Pace passed the position on to my adviser.
What do you do here at DonorsChoose.org?
Currently working on a vendor’s best practices survey with Erica (Logistics Specialist) and Amy (Business Relations Manager) as well as working on a logistics project specific to Amazon with Ellen (Purchasing Manager).
What do you hope to gain from working at DonorsChoose.org?
I hope to gain office experience that can help me move forward in my career in education. I hope the connections I make here can further my ability to succeed in the world of academia.
If you could meet anyone in the world – dead or alive – who would it be and what would you say to them?
Beyonce: but I am pretty sure I wouldn’t have any words to say. I’d be speechless.

Kristin B. // Partnerships & Business Development Intern
How did you hear about DonorsChoose.org?
I heard about DonorsChoose.org this past year during my first year as a Teach For America corps member in Charlotte, North Carolina. I had a project funded and couldn’t believe the joy that opening that box of post-it notes brought to my students. They were so thrilled to learn that there were people in the world they had never met but who still valued their education enough to donate to our project. It was an incredible experience to watch them discover the kindness of strangers. It shows students that their education matters, and connecting them to people who are kind enough to prove it sends a crucial message to students who may not believe that strangers care until they see it with their own eyes. I knew almost immediately after my experience as a DonorsChoose.org teacher that I wanted to be a part of an organization that brings that kind of goodwill to students.
What do you do here at DonorsChoose.org?
So far, I have been doing some research on some successful cause-marketing campaigns of the peer organizations of DonorsChoose.org . I’ve also been working on some data entry on the admin site. I am excited to be working with everyone on the PBD team and at the NY office!
What do you hope to gain from working at DonorsChoose.org?
I hope to gain some experience this summer with written and oral communication in a professional context that is different from what I have learned in my experience teaching. I also am looking forward to building some personal relationships and learning about the different experiences of all the amazing people who work here and their stories that brought them to this organization.
If you could meet anyone in the world – dead or alive – who would it be and what would you say to them?
I’m new to New York and recently discovered Mr. Softee and the joy it brings to people of all ages. So, I think if I could meet anyone in the world, dead or alive, it would be the genius who came up with putting delicious ice cream on wheels. I would thank him (or her) for all the smiles he (or she) has brought to the world. And I would probably ask for a free cone.

Mallory D. // Education Policy & Programs Fellow
How did you hear about DonorsChoose.org?
I used DonorsChoose.org all the time as a teacher!
What do you do here at DonorsChoose.org?
I work on data analysis and survey design, as well as marketing initiatives.
What do you hope to gain from working at DonorsChoose.org?
I hope to give back to an organization that did so much for me as a teacher and to develop a better understanding of what drives teachers and education advocates.
If you could meet anyone in the world – dead or alive – who would it be and what would you say to them?
I would meet Elon Musk (founder of PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla). He is living proof that a person can create massive, meaningful change in a field (s)he cares about if (s)he is willing to dream big enough and work hard enough.

Mei Lan F. // Logistics & Business Relations Intern
How did you hear about DonorsChoose.org?
I found out about DonorsChoose.org through a friend from college who said I should try to get involved.
What do you do here at DonorsChoose.org?
Right now, I am categorizing and analyzing Special Requests so that we can synthesize information to provide greater insight to our vendors about how to enhance and modify their products.
What do you hope to gain from working at DonorsChoose.org?
I hope to help make a difference in public classrooms around the nation, as well as learn from my colleagues and about the nonprofit world.
If you could meet anyone in the world – dead or alive – who would it be and what would you say to them?
I would meet Randy Pausch, author of “The Last Lecture,” because he is one of my heroes. I would tell him that I am grateful for his inspiring legacy, as a man who persevered in the face of death.

Noelle N. // Customer Relations Intern
How did you hear about DonorsChoose.org?
I heard about DonorsChoose.org through Prep for Prep’s college summer jobs bank.
What do you do here at DonorsChoose.org?
It’s only my third full day here, but generally, I think I will be working closely with Brittany (Customer Relations Associate) to figure out Zendesk and learning how to respond to a number of customer service related questions.
What do you hope to gain from working at DonorsChoose.org?
I obviously hope to gain a lot of experience while working with the Customer Relations Team, but I also hope to learn a bit about what goes on in all the other departments here, especially since it seems like many of them work together with customer relations.
If you could meet anyone in the world – dead or alive – who would it be and what would you say to them?
If I could meet anyone in the world – dead or alive – I would like to meet my grandma on my dad’s side of the family – I heard she was a pretty cool lady. I’m not really sure what I’d say to her, but I’d love to hear some of the stories she’d have to share.

Paola P. // Donor Appreciation Intern
How did you hear about DonorsChoose.org?
In March I watched a TED Talk called, “How to buy happiness,” at the end of which the speaker promoted DonorsChoose.org as an awesome online charity we should consider donating to. I ended up on the website that afternoon and decided to make a small $15 donation to a project in Washington D.C. that would provide a classroom with copies of “The Kite Runner” (one of my favorite books!). After seeing the photos and reading the impact letter for the project I donated to, I fell in love with the organization. As I explored the website even more, I not only discovered that the organization hired college interns for the summer, but also that it was based in New York! It seemed like a perfect way to spend my summer, so I completed the application that weekend and was ecstatic to found out I was accepted… and here I am!
What do you do here at DonorsChoose.org?
I’ve been working with my manager, Christina (Operations Manager, Donor Appreciation), on various tasks so far. Almost daily, I work on Zendesk cases that deal with due date extensions or general Thank-You Package questions. Alongside our volunteers, I also help out with Thank-You Package check-in here in DAT Land. Additionally, I’ve been helping Christina work on a data spreadsheet that will hopefully give us some insight into the reasons for which teachers sometimes do not complete their required Thank-You Package. Lastly, I am in charge of the high school internship program, which is due to start very soon!
What do you hope to gain from working at DonorsChoose.org?
More than anything, I simply hope to gain experience and insight into both the world of public education and nonprofit work. I have already met some pretty amazing people, and I hope to leave with a little more direction in terms of my future and maybe some words of advice that might ease my entry into what college students refer to as the “real world.”
If you could meet anyone in the world – dead or alive – who would it be and what would you say to them?
I’m going to have to say Pope Francis. If he could tell me, one of the things I would ask him would be about any secrets that lay inside the Vatican, and maybe even ones that only he knew about.

Valerie E. // Operations Fellow
How did you hear about DonorsChoose.org?
I come to DC.org by way of the Enstitute, an apprenticeship program that connects skilled millennials with leaders in emerging start-up communities. Across industries like the social good, business, design, and technology, the apprenticeships feature a one-year placement, a supplemental online curriculum, and a network of leaders that support the Enstitute’s alternative educational model of “learning by doing.”
What do you do here at DonorsChoose.org?
I have a combination of responsibilities that change only every day: shadowing Cesar (Chief Operating Officer) in all of his meetings with the exception of check-ins; freeing up his calendar by taking on some of his routine tasks, and with the help of the Ops team, creating interesting trainings and programs for the organization.
What do you hope to gain from working at DonorsChoose.org?
DonorsChoose.org has created a simple way to engage people across the country while maintaining a dynamic workplace culture. How do you do it? My long-term goals are to connect with the Technology & User Experience Team and build my coding skills (or lack thereof) and diversify my Operations skills under Cesar.
If you could meet anyone in the world – dead or alive – who would it be and what would you say to them?
I would love to meet Esperanza Spalding and ask her why she’s so awesome, how she’s successfully maintained her awesomeness across music, activism, and fashion pretty seamlessly, and if she’s looking for an apprentice.

Zane W. // Volunteer Coordinator Intern
How did you hear about DonorsChoose.org?
A teacher at my high school mentioned it in passing one day (I’ll attribute it to my favorite, Ms. Lillenstein), and since then I’ve thought nothing could be nobler. I didn’t think I could directly help the cause until after my first year of college, when I was looking to gain experience, purpose, and perspective in the super-spooky “real world.” (Kids, it’s not so bad, really.)
What do you do here at DonorsChoose.org?
I make my bosses look good. More specifically, I lend a hand to Rosanna (Operations Specialist, Donor Appreciation) with volunteer appreciation projects, help teacher and citizen volunteers with thank-you package (TYP) check-ins and note-writing to generous donors, and ensure that any issues with TYPs are resolved and sent out. In short, I spread the love to the people.
What do you hope to gain from working at DonorsChoose.org?
I’ve already gained a cache of knowledge from the DonorsChoose.org crew. This has been my first experience working in a semi-formal office space, and I’ve been privy to the energetic, demanding pace a growing charity/start-up runs on. In my last few weeks, I hope to continue to develop a collaborative, focused work ethic that keeps DonorsChoose.org successful.
If you could meet anyone in the world – dead or alive – who would it be and what would you say to them?
I would like to have met the composer Charles Ives. He changed his life from Ivy League educated insurance man to little-recognized composer who wrote a beautiful series on transcendentalist writers. I would ask him how he found the bravery to abandon a lucrative job for one that made him extract more from life.

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