Our #SummerOfPurpose blog series follows this year’s Cleveland Foundation Summer Interns and Porter Cleveland Fellows as they spend 11 weeks working with Cleveland-area nonprofit and public sector organizations. In today’s blog, we hear from Caitly Reynoso, a Porter Cleveland Fellow who is working with The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland this summer.
College: Wheaton College – MA
Hometown: The Bronx, NY
Internship Host Site: The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland
How did you first hear about the Cleveland Foundation?
I learned about the Cleveland Foundation through Wheaton College’s career center, The Filene Center. I learned that my college offers a fellowship, The Porter Cleveland Fellowship, which allows recipients to work closely with the Cleveland Foundation’s Summer Internship cohort.
Why did you initially decide to participate in this fellowship program?
I was inclined to pursue The Porter Cleveland Fellowship after hearing about the positive and rich experience that upperclassmen had while interning in CLE. I also wanted to visit a new city and pursue a unique internship experience.
What has been the most valuable aspect of your fellowship experience?
The most valuable aspect of my experience has been getting to meet people in the nonprofit sector and media industry. I have been able to grow my network in the past six weeks.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your fellowship experience?
The most challenging aspect of my fellowship experience presented itself in the beginning when I felt I could handle more work than the amount that I was doing. However, with time I was able to take initiative and increase my workload to a manageable and satisfying level.
When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing around Cleveland?
When I am not working I enjoy visiting different neighborhoods around the Cleveland area. I’ve had very pleasant experiences seeing the different parks, homes, stores, and art in and around Cleveland.
What are your career goals after college?
One of my career goals is to attend graduate school to study communications with a concentration on journalism. Through a graduate school experience, I hope to gain the essential skills and knowledge I need to supplement my professional journey through the media industry. I intend to utilize the media industry to become a source of help, communication and knowledge for young minorities.
How has this fellowship helped you grow professionally?
In terms of professionalism, this fellowship experience nurtured my interpersonal communication skills. Within the Development Department of The Legal Aid Society, I was able to connect with numerous individuals and interest them in supporting Legal in various ways, a skill that I know will be useful in my future job experiences.
How has this fellowship helped you grow personally?
Throughout this fellowship I was able to reflect a lot on my personal and professional aspirations. I believe reflection is an important step towards future growth so I hope to continuing learning about what I would like to do in the near and far future.
What’s your favorite public space in Cleveland?
I really enjoyed spending time in Public Square during my lunch breaks. The area is very vibrant and full of life.
What advice would you give to someone considering applying for the Cleveland Foundation Summer Internship program?
Although I was not an applicant of the Cleveland Foundation Summer Internship program (The Porter Cleveland Fellowship is a distinct program for Wheaton College students that has close ties to the Cleveland Foundation Summer Internship Program), I would highly suggest this opportunity to anyone who is striving to improve their networking skills and enjoys meeting new people.