Clara Becker’s experience with shifting to an online learning environment helped her better understand how to serve as a Project Pull Team Leader this summer.
For Becker, the pandemic and the shelter-in-place orders meant that she had to leave college and return back to San Francisco in March. She, and many of her fellow classmates, had to quickly adapt to 100% online learning due to growing concerns of the health crisis and campus closures. “Because my university is on the quarter system, we had to conduct an entire term virtually while still paying full tuition,” shared Becker. “Learning online proved very difficult and I know that I personally struggled with the absence of in-person class meetings, the lack of accessibility of professors and classmates, and the overall condition of social isolation.”
This summer is Becker’s first time participating in Project Pull. As a new Team Leader in the program, she has come to appreciate the sense of community, among both the staff and interns, that has developed in such a short period of time, especially in a virtual environment. “I believe the ease with which we have come together, even under the circumstances of the pandemic, speaks to the strong foundation and leadership in place within the program,” she said.
Comparing her experience with that of her peers, COVID-19 overall has impacted both the availability and quality of internship programs this summer, she said. Becker explained that the majority of internship opportunities have been canceled while a few programs have moved to a virtual format. “In my experience so far, Project Pull has risen to the challenge of this transition to an online format and has adapted and continues to adapt in order to offer interns the resources and experiences that originally drew them to the program.”
Becker said it is important that Project Pull was offered this summer, even if the program was a virtual experience. “Project Pull provides invaluable work experience to high school students and, under the unique circumstances of this summer, in particular, the interns are able to learn how to navigate different working environments and build skills within a virtual format,” she shared. Becker highlighted the structure of the program of being representative of how work and collaboration are taking place right now both in universities and in the workplace. “The interns within Project Pull this summer are learning how to communicate, manage workloads, and complete tasks in a uniquely challenging environment that fosters flexibility and creativity.”
Overall, Becker said she has really enjoyed and valued working with the interns in small groups and being able to support them on a more individualized level. “I see how highly motivated and engaged the students are in being a part of Project Pull this summer and am constantly amazed by their capacity for independent productivity when working with their Presentation groups. The work they have produced so far is not only well-organized and thorough but extremely thoughtful,” she said.