Career Services Spotlight
Angela Tettey, MPA ’23, interned at Harlem Grown during the summer of 2022. She reflects on how the MPA program, combined with her passion to empower, uplift, and invest in Black communities, led her to find an opportunity that connects her personal and professional values.
Tell us about your internship.
This summer I am interning at Harlem Grown, a community-based nonprofit that uses food justice, mentorship, and education to serve the youth and community in Harlem. My main responsibility is curating lesson plans for the summer program. I focus on themes of social justice, advocacy, BIPOC and women farming experiences, ecology, and plant-based cooking. I have always wanted to be a part of developing the information our youth learn through the education system. I feel blessed to know that my lesson plans will help nurture young minds to grow up into healthy, wholesome individuals that will create positive change in the near future.
The initiatives that Harlem Grown centers help increase access to knowledge about healthy foods and living ambitious lifestyles around Harlem. I work closely with the Director of Programming to support the adult programming, from yoga classes to plant-based cooking demos, that takes place on the 134th Farm over the weekends. I also connect with the Director of Act to run farm stands for Harlem Grown, which offers free, fresh produce (i.e. cilantro, sage, basil, mint) to Harlem residents.
How did you find this internship?
I work full-time and recognized that I would have to be intentional about securing an internship with an organization that fits right in with my creative, versatile lifestyle. As I embark on a journey to feel restored and reconnect with my real values, I knew I wanted to get involved with an organization that supported my love for community development centered around the arts and wellness. I found this internship researching community-based organizations that offer opportunities to get involved on the weekends. Harlem Grown spoke to the type of internship that I wanted to volunteer my time to, especially in support of their social impact mission.
What skills have you acquired or worked on during your internship?
Harlem Grown has given me space to unveil, develop, and sharpen multiple skills as I grow into the best version of myself. For instance, I now have the experience needed for effective lesson planning, which includes managing, adapting, interrogating, and more. When planning, I look at the big picture and revisit the details behind themes to cultivate a refined, empathetic perspective necessary to be sensitive to the different circumstances our youth face. My experiences overall continue to set the foundation for me to build my own organization, Glorifying Blackness, which centers creative experiences to build a sustainable community for Black healing.
Be intentional. Be present. Remain persistent and do not give up, especially if you do not hear back from the organization right away. Do not be afraid to send a follow-up email or give the organization a call – chances are they would be more than happy to on-board an intern that is ready to amplify their mission. There is light in finding an internship that speaks to you and your inner child: an opportunity that intersects your joy and passions, the way forward towards your career, and your overall purpose in life.