At College for Social Innovation, we know that our first jobs and internships shaped our futures and cultivated our passion for social sector work. These experiences are the reason we are here today! The beginning of summer marks the start of similar experiences for college students everywhere—experiences that will open doors of opportunity and launch inspiring careers. In this blog series, our staff will tell the stories of their own first internships, sharing advice, memories, and appreciation for their earliest professional experiences.
Meet Marissa Rodriguez, our Program Director for Internships! Marissa is a Penn State alum and is currently getting her master’s from Northeastern. In her role at CFSI she works with different nonprofits across Boston to support students in their internships with Semester in the City. She combines her background in learning & development, program design, and curriculum development with a passion for supporting young leaders and building learning communities. She is also a City Year New Hampshire alum, and in her role there, she continued to foster her love of service.
What made you interested in this type of work (your current job)?
I've been volunteering since I was 7 and had my first non-profit in 8th grade, so you can say I knew that my professional journey would be one of service. For a long time I wasn't quite sure what that service would look like, but after working in direct service I realized that my passion lied in helping others decide what was important to them and how they wanted to make a difference in the world. My role now is a really great mix of teaching, program design, relationship building, and student support that enables me to continue to live that realization.
What is one piece of advice you would give to students in their first internship?
Jump-in with both feet. So many of my professional experiences started with an opportunity that I didn't think I was ready for and required me to trust that I could live up to what people saw in me.
What was your first job experience like?
Amazing and weird in equal measure. My first job came after writing a grant with my mentor who also happened to run a local United Way Volunteer Center. I worked there in various capacities throughout high school and it was an incredible start to my career and also a constant learning curve for how to operate in the professional world with no one else my age around.