Our #SummerOfPurpose blog series follows this year’s Cleveland Foundation Summer Interns, who spent 11 weeks working with Cleveland-area nonprofit and public sector organizations. In today’s blog we hear from Ann Mastandrea, who worked with Maximum Accessible Housing of Ohio in coalition with ADA Cleveland helping to finalize and execute the plans for the 30th anniversary of the ADA.
Name: Ann Mastandrea
College: Cleveland State University
Hometown: Lyndhurst, OH
Internship Host Site: Maximum Accessible Housing of Ohio in coalition with ADA Cleveland
Why did you initially decide to participate in this internship program?
The ability to work with a nonprofit/public sector organization was too in line with my future goals for me to ignore. As I was approaching graduation and considering my commitment to social justice, I knew I had to apply and keep my fingers crossed that I would make it into the cohort!
What has been the most valuable aspect of your internship experience?
Working with MAHO and ADA Cleveland has been an incredible experience in every way. Being able to work and network with such an amazing group of people across over 20 organizations, all committed to their vital mission of serving people with disabilities in Greater Cleveland, has been a pleasure and a very valuable learning experience. Seeing the process involved in making nonprofits work firsthand will guide me in every step as I advance in my career. Being educated on the needs of and societal challenges faced by the disability community and seeing the real-world impact my work had on helping in the fight for change was invaluable.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your internship experience?
Near the beginning of my internship experience, I struggled mostly with finding where my voice fit in. I was somewhat timid in sharing new ideas with my supervisors, or with the committees I was involved in. However, my supervisors were very helpful in encouraging me and helping me realize my thoughts and ideas are valuable and important to the conversation. Seeing the manifestation of ideas I shared was really great encouragement to keep adding to the conversation, too!
When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing around Cleveland?
Cleveland has an amazing variety of restaurants and I love to try as many as I can! From the East Side to the West Side, you can’t go wrong with the food options. My favorite is Minh Anh in the Detroit-Shoreway area!
What are your career goals after college?
In the next two years I hope to find an administrative position at a local nonprofit and begin a dual-degree program for a J.D. and an M.P.A. Long term, I would love to be involved in affecting public policy. Ideally and ultimately, I will start my own nonprofit based out of a commune!
How has this internship helped you grow professionally?
This internship experience has guided me to figure out my specific career goals and has given me real ways to achieve those goals. I’ve been able to see what the practical aspects of my every day will be. The ability to network and have support from experienced professionals has set me up with an invaluable wealth of knowledge and opportunities for the future.
How has this internship helped you grow personally? Or, how do you hope it will help you grow personally?
The most important takeaway from my time with MAHO and ADA Cleveland is what I’ve learned about how to best be an ally to people with disabilities as well as the societal pressures that negatively impact the lives of people with disabilites. This internship has informed me about another important cause that I must use to inform my worldview and future goals.
What’s your favorite public space in Cleveland?
My favorite public space in Cleveland is without question Public Square. I have endless fond memories of walking the area with my family when going to Tower City or taking the rapid, not to mention the fun times I’ve had at Pride in the summer celebrating and volunteering with the LGBT Center. It’s the center of the city and being present there during celebrations, protests, and any other event is incredible to experience as a Clevelander.
What advice would you give to someone considering applying for the Cleveland Foundation Summer Internship Program?
Submit the application! Keep up with the deadlines and put your best foot forward at interviews. You’ll be so grateful for all the work you put in and all of the opportunities that the internship program affords you. You’ll miss it before it’s even over!