Discovering A New Kind of Experience through Virtual NAF Future Ready Labs

Courtney Savoia
July 30, 2020

Each year, NAF looks forward to celebrating National Intern Day – a special day dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the future leaders of the world – and in preparation, we were proud to have the opportunity to speak with Angelina M., a rising junior at Milpitas High School Academy of Information Technology who is interning for the NAF Future Ready Lab powered by Verizon and Deloitte in Sunnyvale, CA about her unique experience.

As part of this virtual internship, students participated in a design thinking project centered on UN SDG Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable, with a focus on the following question: How can we use technology and innovation to make our city inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable?

Check out the Q&A below for some valuable insights!

Q: How did your academy experience prepare you for your NAF Future Ready Lab internship?

A: My NAF academy had offered a lot of workplace readiness preparation online prior to beginning the NAF Future Ready Lab internship. We learned how to finalize our resume, get ready for an interview, and understand our comfort levels in this new virtual environment.

Angelina M., rising junior at Milpitas High School Academy of Information Technology

Q: What has allowed you to adjust to an online workplace environment and have you encountered specific challenges?

A: I’ve actually viewed this new virtual environment as an opportunity to grow! I was looking forward to learning about the different tools and platforms we’ve been using to communicate and work together, as well as the chance to meet new students in my high school from other NAF academies.

Q: Can you describe your daily tasks and the focus of your design thinking project?

A: Each week, we’ve had a different focus area to work on, such as researching elements of UN SDG Goal 11; developing and organizing our ideas; learning about marketing; creating a business plan; and being innovative in our thinking with recommendations, as well as working on budgeting. I’ve enjoyed using my creativity to come up with solutions and look at issues affecting communities from all different angles and think through sustainable results. I’m very thankful to my group members for being so dedicated to working together as a team!

Q: What has it been like to receive guidance and mentorship from career professionals at Verizon and Deloitte?

A: It’s been an incredible experience and I’ve received a lot of valuable advice and guidance. Every day, our mentors are here to help us and answer questions – I’ve enjoyed being able to learn from their expertise and be able to network. It’s been a major highlight for me!  

Q: Are there certain skills you have sharpened over the course of your NAF Future Ready Lab experience?

A: I’ve definitely improved my communication skills, and through sharing ideas and receiving feedback from our mentors and teammates, I’ve been able to expand my thinking every single day.

Q: Being your first internship, what expectations did you have and what have you gained from the experience?

In the beginning, the change from face-to-face to virtual, as a result of COVID-19, was a bit of a challenge in adjusting to a new kind of internship, but it has been helpful to keep in mind that there is always something to learn. I’ve found that by being myself and sharing my views and passions in the workplace, it’s easier to connect with others and also discover different work styles and talents.

Q: What will you bring back to your NAF academy with you?

A: I’ve always known that I’ve been interested in graphic design and consider myself to be artistic, but this experience has made me feel more connected to my academy and desiring to become involved with leadership and planning opportunities.

Q: What advice would you have for others trying to adapt to a virtual learning experience?

Staying organized is very important and making sure you keep on track with tasks and scheduling. There have been so many memories every day that I will take with me!

Keep up with more NAF student and intern spotlights by following @NAFCareerAcads on Instagram!

View Bio

Courtney Savoia is the Assistant Director of Communications at NAF. She’s passionate about sharing the stories of our network and elevating their voices. Courtney writes about a variety of NAF and partner experiences, as well as lessons learned, and also conducts student, partner, and educator interviews about their journeys, for our audiences to take inspiration from.