by MEGAN DREHER, Editor-in-Chief
Entering the professional world can be an intimidating transition for college students. It is even harder for female graduates to see past that looming change of becoming a young professional, imagining that someday they may hold positions of power within their respective, often male-dominant fields. The Center for Career Development here at Manhattan College has noticed that difficulty for female students, and has implemented a program to ensure women feel empowered and ready to tackle the professional world head on, leaving them all the wiser.
The Women Inspiring Successful Enterprise, or W.I.S.E. program accepted its first cohort of women in the summer of 2018. One year later, it has continued to foster educational internship opportunities and promote leadership advocacy for the undergraduate women of MC. This summer, 20 rising juniors and seniors participated in the eight week long internship program. Each student participating receives a stipend compensation through the college, is provided with summer housing, and participates in various enrichment opportunities.
Each of the women involved in the program were partnered with internship opportunities that met their academic and career interests. Political science major Caroline Shea ‘20 was fortunate enough to work for the New York City Criminal Justice Agency.
“I worked as a Planning Intern, but I ended up also working with the Research Team and the General Counsel. CJA is a not-for-profit that assists the City courts in reducing pretrial detention through various means. I worked on a research document to help CJA gather more information on arraignments throughout the boroughs while also crafting documents on legal statues to make them easier to read for CJA employees and for the people who are going through the arrest to arraignment process. I will be continuing this internship into the fall as well which I am very excited about,” said Shea.
Peace studies and Religious studies double major Ireland Twiggs ‘21 interned with a non-profit organization called Vote, Run, Lead.
“This non-profit trains women to run for political office and win. They host trainings across the country to train women of all identities and backgrounds at the local, state, and federal office. During my time here, I assisted with a number of projects including event logistics, research, donor fundraising, phone banking, and alumni organization. My largest project this summer was flying to Minneapolis with the CEO to train a group of female Pakistani officials in partnership with the state department. VoteRunLead has trained many alumni including Ilhan Omar and Peggy Flannigan. This opportunity was amazing, and the perfect glimpse into both non-profit work and politics,” said Twiggs.
Finance major Angely Morillo ‘21 landed her summer internship with the Human Resources department at American Express.
“I worked on a research project that involved creating new strategies to better lateral feedback within the company’s culture. At the end of the summer, I wrote and presented my very first business report. One of the main highlights of interning at American Express was increasing my human capital. I was able to learn so much about the colleagues I networked with,” said Morillo.
In addition to attending the internship, each participant was also required to attend weekly sessions on campus with fellow interns to discuss their experiences and learn different tactics to help them excel in their future careers.
“Some of these sessions included salary negotiations, Myers-Briggs Indicator, bringing our whole self to our job, understanding our rights in the workplace, and more. We also were assigned two books to read, ‘Lean In’ and ‘Burnout’ which both addressed women in the professional world. We also will be presenting what we learned this summer at a symposium during the fall semester,” said Twiggs.
The W.I.S.E. program is rooted in a mission to develop female emerging leaders and empower them to advance professionally. Participants in the program agreed that they concluded their internships feeling inspired and empowered as females entering the workforce.
“After becoming a W.I.S.E. fellow I definitely feel more confident. This is definitely a program where women in all majors should apply. That’s the beauty of the W.I.S.E. program, we all have different goals and aspirations in all kinds of fields. The overall experience of the W.I.S.E. program was what made this summer so memorable,” said Morillo.
“This program empowered me in so many ways. It is truly inspiring to see a cohort of women living, working, and taking on the professional world together. It helped me to learn to speak up for myself, speak out for my fellow women, and ask for what I want. It helped me to understand the space as a woman that I occupy in the working world and how I can use it to enhance my leadership skills,” added Twiggs.