March 26, 2012 | College of Staten Island
The Northfield Bank Foundation recently renewed its support of the Northfield Student Internship Stipend Program, which gives students the opportunity to receive funding for school while receiving hands-on experience, and benefiting the community, as interns in local not-for-profit organizations.
Diane Senerchia, Executive Director of the Northfield Bank Foundation, and Foundation Board member and CSI Alumna Lucille Chazanoff presented a check for $25,000 to CSI President Dr. Tomás D. Morales last week. The funding will provide 25 internship stipends of $1,000 each to students in need.
Caryl Watkins, Director of CSI’s Career and Scholarship Center, which oversees the program at the College, explained that the “Internships assist students in clarifying their career goals and help them determine whether they have made the right career choice. In addition, it builds their skills and marketability, and fosters connections in their field that they can draw upon when they begin their job search after graduation.
The Internship Program was developed specifically for students with some financial need. The stipend eliminates the difficult choice of obtaining paid part-time employment not related to their major of study or participating in a career-related educational experience that will benefit them long after the internship is over.”
At the presentation event, students who have participated in the program discussed how their experiences have affected them.
Bianca Cardaci, an English major with a Marketing minor, who was a Marketing Intern at the Council on Arts & Humanities for Staten Island (COAHSI), commenting that she previously had had little exposure to the cultural side of Staten Island, said, “It was a great experience because it opened me up to that whole other world. Also, I got to see how well this organization gives back to the entire community of Staten Island.”
Francesco Cirillo a Business/Management major, who served as a Deputy Executive Director Assistant at Northfield Community LDC, appreciated the work that his organization did for the community. “It was a great experience because they offered an economic opportunity to the people in the Port Richmond area, helping them with personal financing, how to do their taxes or trying to find affordable housing for their residents, and helping small businesses around the area.” He also had a hand in helping the organization to improve its Website and providing tech support.
Social Work major Laura Mendez, who was a Family Outreach Intern at the Alzheimer’s Foundation of Staten Island, also found her experience enlightening, noting that she was able “to better my communication skills to be able to make better assessments of clients, and to learn about the different programs that the community offers, and also help in facilitating support groups for them.”
Noting that “this is one of the Foundation’s favorite programs that we support because so many people benefit, not just the nonprofits and their participants, but the students who really need the internship experience to get their foot in the door,” Diane Senerchia, Executive Director of the Northfield Bank Foundation, explained the importance of the program for CSI’s students. “There’s such a need for the students to gain experience and explore their field of interest in addition to receiving the stipend…So, this allows them not only to grow outside of school, but it also allows them to stay in school and do even better with their classes, and be able to manage their time better.”
I think this is indeed a win-win-win for the College, for the students, for the not-for-profits,” commented President Morales. “The Northfield Foundation Internship Program,” he continued really provides a learning opportunity for our students, because learning takes place in and outside of the classroom…This is more important than just giving the student the $1,000 scholarship, because this provides an opportunity for our students to learn and develop relationships with the not-for-profit community. So, we are really indebted to Northfield.”
It appears that the local not-for-profit organizations appreciate the help that CSI students lend, thanks to the program. Dorothy Reilly, Director of Public Relations at the Greenbelt Conservancy, spoke very highly of the CSI interns. “The interns who come from the College of Staten Island, they stand apart. I say that because there is a sense of humility and they seem to be a very sincere group of students, and they come prepared to transition from the college classroom to [the] workplace. I’m sure they’re aware that their internship is an entree of sorts into the working world, yet they remain eager students while they are with us…and I appreciate that.”
Some of the organizations that have participated in the program include Eden II School, Sky Light Center, the Staten Island Children’s Museum, Guild for Exceptional Children, Alzheimer’s Foundation of Staten Island, COAHSI, American Cancer Society, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Northfield Community LDC, Greenbelt Conservancy, Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, Staten Island University Hospital, Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art, The Grace Foundation, and Art Lab.