During the first week of January, Jada Grice externed at Philadelphia Futures in Philadelphia, PA! The senior decided to participate in this externship because she is interested in helping low-income, minority students find colleges that suite them. Jada was glad to hear that Philadelphia Futures not only helps students economically, but also makes sure they fit in socially and emotionally at their schools as well. Jada (left) is shown with her extern sponsor, Abbey Godfrey ’94.
Jada prepared her Extern application by getting it done well in advance of the deadline and had other people read over it. She also added a personal connection about her time with a non-profit organization called Breakthrough of Greater Philadelphia. The externship with Philadelphia Futures was the only one that the senior chose since it was near and dear to her heart. A week before arriving at Philadelphia Futures, she took a look at her schedule and jotted down questions she had for the different departments. The senior prepared for her job shadowing experience by picking out business casual clothing and getting enough sleep the night before. During the morning of her externship, she made sure to pack her notebook, pens, and folder. Overall, Jada researched the organization’s website and maintained contact with her sponsor.
On her first day, the senior was greeted by her sponsor, Abby, and she met her sponsor’s colleague, Joe. Jada was then introduced to other people who were the head of their departments. The overall feel of the office was very family oriented. Each day she met people who worked in different departments of the company. The senior even got to have lunch and walk downtown with Abby, which was amazing! “We were able to discuss everything from literature, to religion, to Ursinus, to graduate school. Abby was truly a wealth of knowledge,” explains Jada. The senior observed her sponsor log in student information on ETO software and the entire office prepared for their annual conference. The office has approximately 30 staff members who successfully came together to plan a conference for 700 people! Jada’s favorite aspect of the experience was learning about grants, fellowships, and scholarships Philadelphia Futures had for their students. She loved that each person she met had a passion for making sure Philadelphia students not only made it to college, but thrived in the college they were involved with. Another one of the senior’s favorite aspects was meeting Abby and forming a strong connection with her and other people within the organization. The most challenging part of the externship was meeting and talking to new people, however since Jada prepared questions beforehand, it made it easier for her to do so. By participating in the extern program, the greatest reward for the senior were the amazing people she got to meet!
The most effective questions Jada asked her sponsor were what would you have done differently in your college career and what was the most difficult part about your career. When it comes to communicating with your sponsor, the senior advises, “I would recommend students to call first and if you cannot reach your sponsor, then send an email.” She plans on staying in touch with her extern sponsor through email and Abby even encouraged her to stay in contact and send graduation photos! According to the senior, connections are extremely important. She met people who had connections within her old high school, with certain companies, the nonprofit she grew up in, Ursinus, and even creative spots around Philadelphia.
Jada’s externship experience let her know that she definitely wants to help low-income and minority people in the aspect of education. The senior learned the company was one big family who did everything from planning events to having visits with students. She learned there are different temperaments in the workplace and one should do their best to learn them and approach co-workers accordingly.
The Coolest Part of the Experience
The coolest part of the experience was when her sponsor, Abby, showed her the secret tunnel/bridge that connected the Philadelphia Futures office and the Bellevue Hotel!
If Jada were to participate in an externship again, she would probably spend more time observing the different departments and asking more questions. The senior would definitely recommend this externship to anyone interested in the education of low-income minority students.