The Internship of Many “Firsts”

These "firsts" have contributed so much to my growth as a worker & student.

My name is Nayanka Paul. I am a Senior majoring in Account Management Advertising and pursuing a certificate in Entrepreneurship & Innovation Management. For the past few months, I have been working at the Uncommon Individual Foundation (UIF) as an EMP ( Entrepreneurship Mentor Program) Associate Intern. UIF is a nonprofit that focuses on helping individuals and organizations through different mentoring programs. Apart from the entrepreneurship program, they offer four other programs ( Corporate Technology, Education Mentoring, Media Mentoring, and Technology Mentoring program). 

When I got accepted to be a part of the spring cohort, I was immediately paired with a startup company. The company I got paired with was Palturai, which is the North American branch of the German company Kantwert. Their mission is to transform business relationships through data primarily within the Regulatory Tech industry. For those that know me, know that this wasn’t an industry I was very familiar with, so it was definitely a new territory that I was stepping into. However, my experience at UIF thus far has been nothing but amazing, and it’s truly because both teams ( UIF & Palturai) have done such a great job making it an open environment to grow personally & professionally.

As an EMP Associate, you not only get the chance to learn from the startup companies, but you have the ability to learn from your boss, supervisors, lead mentors, and co-workers. In addition, UIF hosts workshops every other Friday that focuses on topics you either may be interested in or have requested. In fact, a couple of weeks ago we had a Financial workshop, and the week before that we had an Intro to Graphic Designs workshop. Apart from these workshops, a typical day for an EMP Associate varies depending on what startup you are paired with. It also depends on the week & the current project you may be working on. For me, a typical day consists of checking emails, team check-ins, meetings, and working on whatever project I need to at the moment. Some days can definitely be more than others, and some assignments can be harder than others. However, UIF has created an environment that enforces support & open communication, which is something that has made this experience for me even greater.

In the past, I’ve worked at jobs or internships that either micromanaged, lacked direct communication, disregarded me, or just truly did not respect in any way. When I came to UIF it instantly felt different. Everyone was very welcoming and kind, and we all seemed to share the same goal of wanting to just learn from each other, and help each other in the areas we could. In fact, on the first day we did an ice breaker activity where we all wrote our names on this big whiteboard, and under it wrote three things that we needed/wanted to receive, and three things we had to offer/give. I loved doing this activity because it allowed us to bond in a very natural but productive way, and it also just set a positive tone for the rest of the cohort.

In many ways, working at UIF allowed me to experience a lot of “firsts”. The first time being heard in meetings, the first time being acknowledged for the work I do, the first time being around others that are willing to help & get you to the next level. These “firsts” have contributed so much to my growth as a worker & student, that I’m not sure I would’ve been able to get this experience anywhere else, which is why I have decided to stay on as an EMP Associate for the 2020 summer cohort. I’m looking forward to continuing this journey with them, and I can’t wait to learn more.

Thank you UIF for taking a chance on me, and continuously supporting me with all my endeavors outside of work. You have made an impact on me that I will never forget.


One comment

  1. Hi Nayanka! It was really great to read about all the new experiences and skills you got to gain through this internship! I can definitely relate to working at places where they micromanage or do not respect your time, so I’m really glad you found a space where you feel utilized and appreciated as an intern. It’s really cool that you get to participate in different workshops that help you enhance your skills and learn new ones, that is definitely a unique and special experience. Hope you continue to enjoy it and continue to gain great experiences!

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