Internship Reflection - Avram Scarlett
When I learned that Generation Next was looking for an intern, I was immediately interested in the position. Even though I am passionate about the economic development of African American communities, I recognized the connection between education and economic development, and I felt that Generation Next would help increase my understanding on how these two issues intersect.
However, I ultimately gained more than a greater understanding on how education and economic development intersect with each other. I also learned how cross-sectoral work improved efficiency and the use of resources among partners.
It was great to see how Generation Next worked with educators, legislators, B-corps, and other organizations to achieve a targeted outcome.
While I enjoyed engaging with other with different partnerships, my favorite part of the job was meeting for our weekly meetings to discuss where I was with my work and where I needed to go. I was initially nervous about meeting frequently, and I felt that the meetings would take away from the amount of time I had to work. I was so wrong. They actually improved my work and productivity because new ideas sprouted from the conversations we had during those meetings. Additionally, I was able to form relationships with everyone that extended beyond work. We talked about our families and interests, and I really valued that because those relationships made it easier to settle into the Twin Cities. We didn’t necessarily see each other frequently outside of work, but I always felt that I could count on our team if I needed them. Because our interactions had such a positive impact on me, I was able to take strong teambuilding and teamwork skills into projects I worked on during this summer.
The team-oriented skills weren’t the only skills I developed during my time at Generation Next though. I also developed my data analysis and visualization skills. I told Joe that I really wanted to develop these skills during my internship, and he gave me the opportunity. Because I developed my data analysis and visualization skills at Generation Next, I completed my data visualization course with ease. I was using Excel, Stata, and Tableau at Generation Next, so it was easier to learn the basics of R and Illustrator.
After I completed all of the assignments for data visualization, my professor said, “It seems like you know what you are doing,” and I have Generation Next to thank for that.
Generation Next was a great way to start my graduate studies, and I believe that a lot of the tools I gain there will carry beyond graduate school into my career as I try to enter into the economic development sphere through the public or private sector.