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Summer Internships: Esénia Bañuelos '26

July 19, 2023
Headshot of Esenia Banuelos

Name: Esénia Bañuelos
Class Year: 2026
Major: Education and Linguistics
Hometown: Calumet City, IL

Internship Organization: Puentes de Salud
Job Title: Education Volunteer
Location: Philadelphia, PA

What's happening at your internship? We would love to hear what kind of work you are doing!

I work for Puentes de Salud, an organization servicing the large Latino community of South Philadelphia. I currently work under the education department as a volunteer! I design the curriculum for the Puentes Hacia El Futuro (“Bridges to the Future”) Program, which is an elementary-to-middle school after-school program that will prioritize the importance of life skills such as empathy, problem-solving, and teamwork.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied for this internship because I am from a very similar community to the South of Philadelphia; the predominantly Mexican community of the South Side of Chicago. Growing up, after-school programs accessible for Spanish speakers were scarce, as were teachers who shared my background — knowing that this was an education program for Latinos, by Latinos, deeply inspired me to place myself within the increasing statistics of Latina educators.

A Mocaljete and Pan de Muertos block-print
A Mocaljete and Pan de Muertos block-printed by Alexis Nutini for Proyecto Grandote.

Was there anything special about how you found this internship?

Interestingly, I found and received this internship based on sheer luck. I was looking for volunteer opportunities in Philadelphia and Norristown for the summer hoping to give back to the Mexican communities that housed me here when I was 711 miles away from my family. I found this opportunity on the Bryn Mawr website as Puentes de Salud is a partner to the organization, but the application deadline has long since passed. I emailed Education Department Director Renny Perla who was able to give me an extension since I expressed interest in the summer camp, and I was able to interview with my now supervisor Gaby Martinez Hernandez within weeks. It was a knockout opportunity for me, and I feel really grateful knowing that I found it by chance.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part of the internship has definitely been being able to sit next to Latinas that were so passionate about reaching out to the Latino community in Philadelphia and improving upon feedback, requests, and experiences from the students they serve.

What is something you have learned from your internship that you didn't expect?

I learned that there is a lot of unexpected struggle and frustration in education, specifically in communities that are disenfranchised and lack resources, such as the Latino South Philadelphia community.

Working remotely for the first time? What has that experience been like for you?

Although my actual curriculum work is remote, I have been adjusting really well because working in education means that every time I so much as open my laptop in my room, I am creating work that will impact dozens of children.

Can you talk about the skills you are learning and why they are important to you?

I am learning how to create content that is relevant to today’s children, with the added knowledge of how education and lack of resources are reflected in early struggles in elementary and middle school.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced at your internship?

My biggest challenge has been adjusting to the distance and amount of walking that going to my internship demands, but I have eventually grown to look forward to the walk from Batten to the train from Bryn Mawr to Suburban Station to the walk from 17th and JFK to 17th and South Street.

Wall mural behind a reception desk.
The inside of the Puentes de Salud clinic.

Can you give us three adjectives and three nouns that describe your internship experience?

Beautiful, eye-opening, loving

Respect, transparency, and heart

What is most rewarding about your internship?

The most rewarding thing is knowing that Puentes, like so many of the Latino non-profits like them, have observable impacts on the community they serve. On Saturdays, Puentes hosts Proyecto Grandote, an event where Latino artists spread their talent and skills to Latino youth, and the turnouts have been amazing.

Was this internship what you expected it to be?

It has been absolutely everything and more, and each day spent contributing to Latino education is a day closer to assuring our access and equality.

Visit the Summer Internship Stories page to read more about student internship experiences.

Linguistics Education