Tiger Tales: Anna Kurnizki '13
"I left Oxy completely relieved and happy about my future..."
Entering the spring semester of my junior year at Oxy, I was racked with the insistent need to find a summer job. I live in Chico, a wonderful, small town in Northern California that unfortunately provides few job and internship opportunities. Like many of my experiences at Oxy, potential fell into my lap – the Career Development Center kicked off a pilot OXY-PDX (Occidental-Portland) internship program that same spring that corresponded with my interests in the non-profit field. Although I had never been to Portland, I took a chance and applied to several internships.
The Career Development Center had helped edit my resume, and once I was accepted to the program of my choice, the CDC led a training seminar that prepared all the accepted interns for our future work. The training was clear, comprehensive, and left me with no reservations as I headed to Portland to begin my internship at Community Warehouse.
Community Warehouse is a furniture bank that collects and redistributes donated gently used household items to vulnerable populations in the Portland area. In the too-short summer that followed my arrival, I attended networking events with Chamber of Commerce members, passed out flyers at street fairs, did research and data entry, worked at the Warehouse’s retail stores, and helped needy families turn their houses into homes. Outside of my internship, I explored Portland and enjoyed myself to the hilt. I grew to love the area as much as the work I was doing.
That summer, I gained experience in multiple fields – communication, development, administrative support – and matured personally as well. Liselda and Valerie from the CDC kept in contact to make sure I was getting as much from my internship as possible, and even flew to Portland to visit the internship sites. I left Portland rejuvenated for my senior year, and thinking hard about my immediate future (graduation – yikes!). Although I could have easily moved on to other occupations or locations, something kept returning my focus to Portland and my positive experience at Community Warehouse. At the close of my final spring semester, I formally applied for the Development Coordinator position at Community Warehouse and was accepted. The good news came after my last final, which was enough icing on the cake to make me dance around my dorm with ridiculous joy.
I left Oxy completely relieved and happy about my future: relieved that in the present economy I had landed a great job, and happy that I was going to work for an organization that I love in a city that never ceases to surprise and delight me. I couldn’t be happier with my comprehensive liberal arts education; in fact, the flexible, creative, and well-rounded qualities I attained at Occidental College were part of the reason why Community Warehouse wanted me back.
I am currently in Portland, and recently met Community Warehouse’s new intern from Oxy! She is delightful, bright, and just as thankful for this opportunity as I was in her position. I can’t wait to see the Career Development Center expand their internship program and send Oxy students around the country to do great and greater things.
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