#SummerOfPurpose: Kalgaal Issa

Large group of people pose for a picture on Edgewater Beach wearing Cleveland Leadership Center shirts

Our #SummerOfPurpose blog series followed this year’s Cleveland Foundation Summer Interns and Porter Cleveland Fellows as they spent 11 weeks working with Cleveland-area nonprofit and public sector organizations. In today’s blog, we hear from Kalgaal Issa, a Porter Cleveland Fellow who worked with the Cleveland Leadership Center this summer. 

Kalgaal Issa headshot

Kalgaal Issa

College: Wheaton College (MA)

Hometown: Lewiston, Maine

Internship Host Site: Cleveland Leadership Center

Why did you initially decide to participate in this internship program?

I knew I wanted to travel this summer and experience a new place! After I heard about the Porter Cleveland Fellowship, I knew this would be the perfect fit for me. This summer, I was fortunate enough to intern with the Cleveland Leadership Center (CLC) because it truly gave me an expansive view of Cleveland’s resources, and helped me network with a variety of young professionals in the downtown area.

What has been the most valuable aspect of your internship experience?

Interning at CLC gave me the inside scope of what is really happening in Cleveland! I was able to explore new neighborhoods, such as Detroit Shoreway, Ohio City, Collinwood and so much more! I’ve met a number of community leaders who care about what’s happening in the area and, most importantly, learned what Cleveland’s civic, social and recreational scenes have to offer.

When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing around Cleveland?

I lived at University Circle this summer and was lucky enough to be around the art museums and restaurants. I really liked walking around the Botanical Garden. I also liked spending my Tuesday afternoons in Public Square listening in to the weekly lunch series hosted by The City Club.

What are your career goals after college?

As an International Relations major, my post-grad career goals are joining the Peace Corps for two years, participating in a teaching fellowship overseas or going to grad school! As you can tell, I have a variety of options to choose from, but my end goal is to work in the public sector.

How has this internship helped you grow professionally?

This internship has helped me work on my networking ability; it’s hard to believe that I’ve been networking with professionals this whole summer! I’ve gotten a lot better with my time management skills by balancing my workload of several tasks and meeting deadlines.

Where would you take a friend who is visiting Cleveland for the first time?

If I had the chance to return to Cleveland, I would take my friend to the Westside Market! It’s such an amazing place to be; when I went there I felt like I was on a different continent! There’s a variety of cultural foods, clothes and arts. The market’s architecture is very unique and breathtaking.

What advice would you give to someone considering applying for the program?

Be ready for new adventures and expanding your horizons! This internship is meant for people to grow, learn and thrive and if you’re someone that is interested in the nonprofit/public sector you should definitely apply.