The Impact of LEARN

“Building a foundation for the future.”

Throughout my time as a scholar and then as an intern at LEARN, a charter public school on Chicago’s West Side, I have heard that phrase many times. Now that my time as an intern has come to a close, I know that this foundation means more than my academic foundation. LEARN provided the opportunity to build a professional foundation for my future career.

The LEARN internship has been a tremendous opportunity, filled with growth but most importantly– experience. LEARN hired me as an intern for the summer following my freshman year of high school; I have continued the internship through high school and into my time at college after being asked to return each summer for the past seven years. All of the experience and skills I have gained have impacted me in different ways since my involvement with the program. I started as an office assistant before moving to the network’s non-profit charter management office, which provides various supports to LEARN’s ten schools.  I’ve worked in a number of different capacities, including as an intern to the human resources, development, and IT team, and in my current position as the marketing and communications intern. All of these roles have been huge learning opportunities and exposed me to the difficult and multi-faceted aspects of running and running high-quality schools.

During this summer, I have been able to get hands-on  experience and work with a supervisor that pushed me to explore my passions. As a hospitality and event management major at New York University (NYU), marketing is a large component of my program and this internship provided me with first-hand experience within the field. My primary responsibilities for marketing included crafting press releases, creating social media content, and content writing for the new website that will launch in December.

I also worked with the LEARN events assistant to help plan an event for 500 LEARN staff in October. Together, we researched venues, recommended a run of show, and coordinated logistics. I also produced video footage for various videos to be featured at the event. All of these assignments truly encompassed the work of a marketing manager and events assistant, providing me with valuable experience that I can use for positions within the field.

In addition to this summer’s responsibilities, I have gained skills from previous LEARN  internships that aided me academically and helped secure other jobs during the school year at NYU. Overall, the program helped me develop basic skills in Microsoft Office and Google applications as well as improve the vital soft skills of time management, accountability, project management, communication, and public speaking. In  job interviews, I often cite my experiences at LEARN, which have led to job offers.

I am thankful for my education at LEARN and its internship program as it has greatly impacted my character and affected the path in which I am on. Being here has encouraged me to want to give back to the westside community once I graduate college. The past seven years have taught me that although I graduated from LEARN years ago, LEARN will always be with me. LEARN helped build the foundation for my future, and I cannot wait to continue building a successful future and better Chicago in the years to come.

By Taylor Stewart