Behind the Scenes at uAspire: A reflection by co-op, Jaisun Lewinski

By: Nadia Durya | Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Hello, I am Jaisun Lewinski, a student at Northeastern University who has been interning at uAspire since early July. Challenge, teamwork, and growth have been at the forefront of my experience at uAspire so far. July and August included a board meeting, an all-staff meeting, development plan strategies concerning the end/beginning of the fiscal year, lots of job training, an introduction to Salesforce, and an inclusive team-building getaway at Southern New Hampshire University. Being nothing short of valuable and fascinating every step of the way, so far this co-op has been more of a lesson than a job to me, providing a valuable learning experience for future careers. Absorbing any potential lessons while effectively doing what is requested of me has been the number one goal so far!

As a non-profit, uAspire relies on their development team to succeed in providing funds in order to fuel their aims. Working under this department, I have a growing understanding of how one must effectively establish who or what organizations are donating, the likelihood those donations will come to fruition, and what prospective donors are available. Gaby, Wally, Sarah, and Nadia are an extremely effective team and it has been rewarding to work alongside them.

As mentioned earlier, the team bonding retreat, called Institute, was not only inclusive, but also informative. The goal of Institute was to share the future objectives of uAspire while making it a major priority for its entire staff to know that they are working towards the same goals. Thus, the concept and theme of “One uAspire” became ubiquitous throughout the time spent at Institute and led to an experience I’m certain was valuable to everyone, including myself. Another theme that arose was the need for significant social awareness and assessing how diversity can benefit our work environment. Together, everyone grappled with and talked honestly about macroaggressions that they have witnessed or experienced in a variety of work settings. The interchange of different perceptions on these diverse social identities was moving and powerful.

While this new job has given many lessons, there have been many challenges that have arisen from realizing my own weaknesses within a working environment. It can be difficult to find a niche within a new organization and always feel useful. Finding motivation around many college-educated workers who have year of experience in their fields can be intimidating while simultaneously fruitful. Navigating how I can learn and stay on my tasks effectively will be important looking forward.

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