Emory Smith is a 2020 Summer intern from the University of Notre Dame. She will graduate in 2021 with a degree in Computer Engineering and a minor in LInguistics. Emory is from Plymouth, IN.
How did this experience affect your view and attachment to the South Bend/Elkhart region?
The Center for Civic Innovation internship deepened my connection with the South Bend and Elkhart communities. As a part of the internship program, I had the privilege of working with community members and public servants like Joe Foy and many others that generously donate their time and expertise. After meeting them, you cannot help but have a newfound appreciation for the collaboration and imagination at work in our communities. The internship experience made me proud of my community and made me feel hopeful and excited for the future of the South Bend/Elkhart region.
What was the most rewarding experience in the program?
The most rewarding part of the program is the opportunity to work with a diverse group of hardworking and driven young people. We come from different schools and different backgrounds, and we have different skills and different ways of thinking. Yet, we also have so much in common, especially our care and respect for the community. Team meetings were my favorite part of my summer. Learning about my teammates, watching them grow, collaborating with them - these were invaluable experiences that helped shape how I think. I believe I will be hard-pressed to find a better working environment or a more passionate team in the future.
How did your experience in the program enhance your academic and professional goals?
Because I am graduating in May 2021, one of my goals during the summer was to discern what types of full-time jobs I am interested in. This experience solidified my interest in nonprofits, governmental, and community-oriented work. Working on two-month-long projects also strengthened my project management, communication, organizational, and leadership skills. Now, I feel more comfortable defining the scope of a project and speaking with stakeholders. I am thankful that this internship allowed me to apply what I have learned in the classroom to our community in a way that furthers my professional goals and the goals of our community.