Isabella joined WISE as a GGAL Intern in the summer of 2020! What attracted her to WISE was being able to work with immigrant girls like herself and having the opportunity to gain youth development skills. Isabella is studying Anthropology at Macalester College with the ultimate dream of working in nonprofit and the international field.
Why did you choose your major?
I chose my major because I’ve always been interested in people, culture, and human interaction. Anthropology is the perfect field for me currently because it is broad enough that I can study what interests me through observation and ethnographic fieldwork, allowing me to interact with people from all walks of life while learning about other cultures and better understanding my own! What are your plans for after college or what is your dream career? I would like to keep working in the non-profit world, at least for a while. Eventually I would like to pursue a masters in international social work, so I can continue to work with diverse communities and hopefully travel. I absolutely love working with kids and would like to continue that as well. How did you hear about WISE? I’ve seen WISE at a few volunteer fairs at Macalester and their mission has always aligned with my values, so the organization always stuck with me! I was looking for Summer Internships and immediately checked for openings at WISE. Were there any personal experiences that motivated you to work with WISE, youth, women and girls, immigrant and refugee communities, etc.? I come from a family of immigrants, so I’ve always understood what it feels like to grow up and be caught between cultures. My family also moved around quite a bit to several different countries. While I’m eternally grateful for my upbringing and proud of my culture, it was extremely difficult growing up in cultures outside of my own and never really feeling as if I had a place of belonging. My first internship in college was working with the Latinx population in the Twin Cities. I was passionate about the work right away because it resonated with my personal experiences, and being Latina myself, I felt especially connected to the work I was doing. Since then, I’ve been interested in working with immigrant and refugee populations; that, combined with my passion for youth and youth development made WISE the perfect fit!! What goals did you have as an intern, if any? I wanted to make connections with the GGAL girls, my supervisor, and the other interns! What did you expect to learn and why? I expected to learn mentorship skills when it comes to working with middle to high-school aged girls because the GGAL is a program that focuses heavily on mentorship relationships; I wanted to learn and experience the value of these relationships because maybe it’s something that could have helped me when I was that age, so I’m so happy to have the opportunity to be that mentor for someone else.
“I started at WISE during a tough time; connection was made difficult because all GGAL programming was done through Zoom. Because of this though, I realized more than ever how important connection and relationships really are . . . So having a space that emphasizes connection and relationship-building, even with the added challenge of making it virtual is so, so important. ”
What did you learn or take away from your experience with WISE? I started at WISE during a tough time; connection was made difficult because all GGAL programming was done through Zoom. Because of this though, I realized more than ever how important connection and relationships really are. I know I struggled with loneliness this Summer and during COVID, and I’m sure a lot of people can relate. So having a space that emphasizes connection and relationship-building, even with the added challenge of making it virtual is so, so important. Tell us about a memory or experience that was significant to you during your internship. I loved the end of year of picnic that Nancy [GGAL program coordinator] organized, getting to meet some of the girls in person, and realizing how much I have in common with them!