Nabiyou Elias never thought a global pandemic could impact him and his family both positively and negatively at the same time.
“Personally, I have been able to take advantage of certain things during COVID-19. One, in particular, is online schooling,” said Elias. “Online schooling not only separates me and every other student from distractions, but also allows us to truly learn at our independent pace. I was able to end this semester off with a 3.5 GPA, because I realized that COVID-19 and the City’s shelter-in-place orders almost served as an opportunity for me to work hard and block out all distractions.”
Elias, a rising junior at St. Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco, applied to be a Project Pull intern this summer because he wanted to be a part of a program that provided an experience to be both a student and an employee.
“I wanted to be pushed to be the best of my ability and hold me to my fullest potential,” he said. “It simply wasn’t difficult for me to realize that Project Pull was truly ‘THAT program’ especially after learning more about the program through encounters at enrichment fairs and doing my own research.”
Elias said that his experience with Project Pull has been like being a part of a family and how the program staff truly cares about its interns, encouraging and supporting them while emphasizing the importance of independence and holistic growth.
And although the online internship experience is not the same as engaging and learning in-person, this has not deterred him from maintaining his attention and learning as much as possible. Elias shared that Project Pull has been able to keep students as engaged as possible despite the challenges surrounding the absence of physical interaction. “It has also helped me improve my public speaking skills even though everything is online,” he shared. “As of now, we’ve covered topics such as our career pathways of interest, final projects as well as their guidelines, and general information and expectations regarding work and our stipends.”
Elias shared it was important for him to participate in Project Pull this year because he did not want anything to impact his interests and the ability to grow his interests. “Project Pull is like the soil that supports the seed, and I wanted that support and opportunity from Project Pull to really grow my interest in Civil and Architectural Engineering,” he explained. “I didn’t want the virtual aspect to be an excuse for me not to do anything, but as motivation to do as much as I can.”
Elias has high hopes for his summer internship experience, one that he strives will leave a lasting imprint in his journey. “I hope that Project Pull teaches me to become a better smart working-man rather than a hard-working man, and provides me the necessary experience to truly continue flourishing my interest in engineering as I progress through school,” he shared.