This summer looked quite different than most due to the coronavirus pandemic. No longer thinking of vacations that would have been looked forward to, rather reflecting on how this pandemic has changed the lives of so many.
For many high school and college students, this has been quite a difficult time. Many students have gone from going to school every day and learning in the classroom to staying at home and learning in the living room. This was the case for this year’s cohort of Project Pull Interns. Going from a face to face internship experience, working closely with employees throughout all the City agencies, to adapting to a wholly virtual experience was not an easy task. However, this year’s cohort of interns far exceeded expectations and took the challenge head on. Let’s hear from Project Pull Program Director Lisa Miles-Wilkerson and some of the interns about their experience doing a completely virtual internship:
“I have always said that Project Pull is more than just an internship, it is a family. For many years, I have devoted my time to creating community and family during the program and this summer, my goal remained the same. However, this year’s interns really amazed me. Despite them not being able to meet in person, they were able to recreate the same family feel that makes Project Pull special. Everyone was mindful and sensitive of each other’s new reality due to COVID-19; and demonstrated compassion and care. This group of interns are tenacious, determined and ready to tackle the challenges that come with remote learning. Overall, it was quite rewarding to be able to have a program for our San Francisco youth this summer and to hear all of the wonderful (virtual) memories and friendships that were created!” – Lisa Miles-Wilkerson, Project Pull Program Director
“This virtual internship is nothing like virtual school. It’s not boring. It’s not something I’d hate waking up to. It’s actually something that gave my summer a sense of direction, purpose, and objective. Project Pull really ‘pulled’ my summer together because without it, let’s be honest, I’d just be playing video games all day and sleeping. Even though it was all online this summer, Project Pull was exceedingly more fun and engaging than you’d think a virtual internship would be.” – Jonathan Aban-Hermosura, rising Junior at Saint Ignatius College Preparatory
“Ms. Lisa, Carlos, and the Team Leaders did a tremendous job making this virtual internship experience as engaging and seamless as possible. Their hard work and dedication showed every time we logged on; always asking us new questions, preparing new hands on activities, and providing us thoughtful feedback. I really enjoyed the Project Pull experience and will definitely be applying to return next year, no matter if it is virtual or face to face!” – Mila Fong Gougoutas, rising Junior at Lick-Wilmerding High School
“Some of the most memorable moments from my summer as being a Project Pull intern would be anytime my team had fun collaborating together. There were many times where we got to be creative and use ideas that we have seen on social media platforms and attempted to put our own twist on it and use it for our research video. Some other memorable moments from this summer would have to be our Friday activities. Our team leaders worked really hard to make our time during the presentations fun and interesting, as they incorporated ideas from some of our favorite TV shows.” – Natalya Arnest, rising Senior at Saint Ignatius College Preparator
“Despite the internship being virtual, I feel that I gained a lot of experience from Project Pull. One of the challenges doing a virtual internship was collaborating with teammates that I never met in person prior to starting the internship. Collaborating and working as a team is easier in person, however, we have found a way to be successful virtually. I’m really thankful to Project Pull and the SFPUC for providing all of us with this opportunity.” – Isabella Titus, rising Junior at Mission High School