“After experiencing the strong family and tightly knit community of Project Pull last year, I wanted to be a part of it again.”
A rising senior at Lick-Wilmerding High School, Mila Fong Gougoutas has returned as a Project Pull intern this summer working in the environmental pathway. Despite the virtual nature of the internship program, her experience has continued to be engaging, informative, and personable.
As a social person, sheltering-in-place was challenging for Fong Gougoutas. Being unable to interact with people on a daily basis proved to be difficult. However, staying inside during the pandemic also gave her the opportunity for self-growth, including prioritizing spending time outside, having candid conversations, picking up painting, and even teaching herself guitar. Now that she is participating in the Project Pull internship program this summer, Fong Gougoutas has been busy meeting new people, learning about the ins and outs of the public sector, and participating in enriching activities.
Interns participate in a variety of interactive activities everyday, one of which includes a group check-in every morning, when interns are given the opportunity to share updates on their internship experience and to bond and network with others. Throughout their time in the program, interns also receive important professional advice such as how to create a persuasive elevator pitch, craft a tailored resume with key words, and practice and hone in on skills that could be beneficial when navigating the professional world. Moreover, SFPUC employees are invited to guest speak to the interns, which Fong Gougoutas explains, “We have had opportunities to speak to SFPUC employees, who were excited to talk about their work, advised interns to ask questions and be engaged, and provided tips on how to stand out in a field of applicants when applying to jobs.”
Fong Gougoutas’ passion for engaging with others and building community, coupled with the tools and skills she has learned from this internship experience have led her to want to pursue work that involves helping and serving others. She hopes to walk away from the program with more insight into working in the public sector as well as forming new friendships with other interns in the program. Project Pull has been a key resource for Fong Gougoutas in that she has formed many connections to reach out to about anything- she is confident that when the program does end, her conversations and relationships with those in the Project Pull family will continue to blossom.