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Summer Internships: Leah Sutton-Smith '25

July 26, 2023
Headshot of Leah Sutton-Smith

Name: Leah Sutton-Smith
Class Year: 2025
Major: International Studies
Minor: Spanish
Hometown: Brattleboro, VT

Internship Organization: HIAS Pennsylvania
Job Title: Young Adult Mentoring Program Intern
Location: Philadelphia, PA

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

I am working with the HIAS PA Education team, specifically with the Young Adult Mentoring Program. The program aims to help young adults who are refugees and immigrants learn about college, careers, and other opportunities. During the school year, participants are matched with mentors. In the summer, the program offers a series of workshops to facilitate learning about options and opportunities for students and young adults. These workshops are the focus of my internship. Before the workshop series began, students needed to be registered. I called them to tell them about the program and go through the registration process if they were interested. Many of the students are English Learners, so I frequently used a telephonic interpretation service. Along with doing this and compiling information, I started preparing for the workshops. This includes designing icebreaker activities, sending students reminder messages, and communicating with workshop partners and volunteers. There have been three workshops so far: an “Introduction to College” session, a presentation and discussion about the profession of interpretation, and a presentation by staff of a local medical clinic about their work and careers in the medical field. I’ve helped with welcoming participants, leading icebreaker activities, and generally supporting the facilitation of the workshops. I have also helped out at the HIAS PA summer program for children in grades Pre-K-8 and supported the education team with various other projects.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I wanted to work with an organization that supports refugees and immigrants, and HIAS PA is vital to this work in Philadelphia. I was excited about the opportunity to work with this program because of its focus on young adults, who are often faced with so many challenges, and its commitment to helping them learn about a variety of options and opportunities.

Public Ledger Building in Philadelphia.
The HIAS PA office is in the Public Ledger building, just down the street from Independence Hall.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

It has been so rewarding to see all of our work and preparation come to fruition in the workshops themselves. I talked to a lot of students over the phone, so it’s exciting to actually meet them in person and watch them engage with the workshops. It is gratifying to have a role in their learning and exploration.

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

My internship experience so far has taught me the importance of openness. Being open-minded and flexible in terms of the responsibilities and opportunities that I am offered has allowed me to learn and do so much. I have worked on a variety of projects which have challenged me in new ways and showed me aspects of this work that I’d never thought about. I have also been able to participate in different programs that the HIAS PA Education team offers, which has expanded my perspective on education, the many forms it can take, and the impact it can have.

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

International Studies Spanish