By Zarina Yunis
As a teenager just starting on my journey, my 2019 externship placement was one of my most memorable experiences. Having the opportunity to work and learn at a top Orange County company at this stage of life was so rewarding. This summer I was placed at Ingram Micro, a company that “helps businesses realize the promise of technology,” according to their mission statement. A few months earlier, during the development days, I had done a personality and skills assessment that pointed to Data Science as being a potential career for me. My placement at Ingram Micro would help me explore that field. The department I was assigned to was the Digital Strategy Initiative, made up of about six or seven other employees and I shadowed the senior manager of the department. Based on my interests, my manager created many projects for me to analyze the company’s data by organizing it in a way that made it easier for the data to be interpreted. She taught me how to use various data analysis functions in Microsoft Excel. I also got to meet with other Ingram employees and ask them questions about their career paths and details about their jobs. During my individual time with my mentor, she also helped me refine my resume and LinkedIn profile, as well as gave me some tips on how to give a successful interview.
At Ingram Micro, there were about 15 other externs placed with me, so there were many times when we were all together. As we started our externships, Ingram Micro celebrated its 40th birthday and held a grand celebration. Over the course of our time there, the staff took us on two field trips: one to the warehouses where products are made and one volunteer trip to the Second Harvest Food Bank, where we packaged food for homeless families. In addition to all of these events, the human resources department held workshops for both the externs and college interns, which taught us how to be emotionally intelligent, successful in the workplace, and confident in our abilities. Because we spent a lot of time together, the girls in the externship developed very close bonds. We would enjoy having lunch together and catching up on our daily extern experiences. After four weeks, it was extremely difficult saying goodbye to such a wonderful group of mentors, coworkers and friends.
While each girl’s externship experience was unique, I think I can speak on behalf of all the girls that the Girls Inc. development days, training week, and externship placements provided invaluable knowledge and resources that will be extremely useful in college, career and beyond. In just seven months, I learned so much about what my future holds and what I can do to be successful. Many girls had similar experiences.
“As I had set a plan for both college and my career after, my externship made me reevaluate my future,” second year Tia Trinh said. “I know now that there are a lot of opportunities out there for me.”
Each event that the Girls Inc. staff and our externship coordinators planned for us taught us something that we could walk away with and use in our lives, starting right now in high school! For all girls looking to explore their passions and learn more about the working world, I would definitely recommend the Girls Inc. Externship Program. Between their nurturing staff, countless opportunities, and many resources to help young girls become confident and secure in the workplace, Girls Inc. OC is an extremely valuable resource that I believe every girl should have access to.