Gabriel Terry’s and Jenny Hoang’s journey as Team Leaders in Project Pull has been one full of positive experiences that have outweighed the challenges of “distance interning.”
During the last several weeks, they have found nothing but support from Project Pull staff and have been overwhelmingly surprised by all of the program participants’ enthusiasm to come together and learn, somehow forming a virtual family.
“There is never a time where I feel unnoticed or unheard,” said Terry. “The family I have made seems almost impossible given the circumstances, however it is through heart and commitment to the program and each other that made everything undoubtedly possible.”
Even though COVID-19 shifted what used to be an in-person internship experience to completely online this year, Terry initially thought a virtual experience would make connections feel less genuine. He was quickly proven wrong. “In reality, it was quite the opposite,” he shared. Terry said the virtual experience has forced the interns to be more committed to the program and to each other. “If you wanted to be in Project Pull, you wanted to be in Project Pull. Having the opportunity to engage in this internship allowed 50 most passionate people out of the hundreds of applicants to communicate with each other every day.”
Hoang said that many internship programs were cancelled this summer due to the pandemic, while some programs shifted to an online experience. This is her first year in Project Pull and she agreed that the program participants and staff have grown close even though they have never met in person. It was about being intentional with each other, she said.
“I’ve seen that many students are grateful for the opportunity that Project Pull provides,” she shared. “Many are using their knowledge and resources to see the world in a new perspective. They have put thought and effort into their work and rely on teamwork to create a project worth making for their summer.”
For Terry and Hoang, summer wasn’t about taking a break from school. It was important for them to continue expanding their education, grow, and create good habits, all while participating in a paid internship.
“Project Pull gives aspiring individuals a chance to gain connections, experiences, and a sense of relief,” said Terry. “Hard work is good, but working hard with other people by your side creates lasting friendships that go a long way down the road.”
“Interns are given tasks that are relevant to what they may want to do in their futures. There are many students who have absolutely nothing to do this summer while sheltering in place,” said Hoang. “Through Project Pull, we are able to keep our brains active this summer with project presentations, career mentor presentations, as well as Friday enrichments, which helps us prepare for our future.”
Although Terry and Hoang miss hanging out with friends in person, they are both grateful that their families have been safe and healthy, and to be able to still build connections through Project Pull. And when they do hang out with friends in the future, they plan on wearing masks and staying at least six feet apart.