A Postcard From: Yesenia Mendez ’21

Name: Yesenia Mendez
Class Year: 2021
Major: Economics (intended)
Hometown: Houston
Internship Placement: BrightSphere Investment Group, plc
Job Title: Finance and Accounting Intern
Location: Boston
 
Yesenia Mendez
What’s happening at your internship?
From Houston to Boston, this summer has proven to be full of difficulties and excitement. BrightSphere Investment Group (BSIG) is a global asset management company with a diverse group of investment management firms that provides investment management services internationally. As an intern at BSIG, I was challenged intellectually and socially. During my internship, I worked with the Finance Team on the Securities and Exchange Commission Quarterly Report by finding support for each number mentioned and calculating and recalculating consolidated statements and financial statements. Other duties included updating bank statements, organizing data for asset value reports and benefit liability reports. Before my internship at BSIG, I had no idea how to do any of these things. My biggest fear was failing at the work I was assigned because I had not taken a finance or accounting class. However, I quickly realized that regardless of my major or background, most of the knowledge in finance and accounting is learned in the job and through experiences.
 
In addition, I had the opportunity to get resume feedback and do mock interviews with different employees across all departments. By doing this, BrightSphere prepares its interns for any future internships or jobs. Along with this, I had lunches with all the departments, including the CEO and the rest of the executive team, to learn about their jobs and experiences. I feel very fortunate to have been part of this because it really helped me understand how corporations work, what they are looking for when hiring, and how I can improve my skills in order to reach my career goals.
 
Why did you apply for this internship?
After being involved in Redefine Her Street, VITA, and taking classes like Money and Banking with Professor Margaret Clarke, I knew I wanted to explore the financial sector. Because I was a freshman, it was really difficult for me to find any internships. However, I came across this internship through POSSE and was not hesitant to apply.
 
Was there anything special about how you found this internship?
One of the greatest lessons I learned this summer is how the culture of a company should affect where I want to work. Instead of using charities as a marketing strategy, BSIG truly cares about others, and they constantly motivate its employees to do community service. This summer, I volunteered with BSIG at the Greater Boston Food Bank, St. Francis House Shooze Cruise, and Cradles to Crayons Backpack-A-Thon. Giving back is something that its really close to me and being part of a space and culture that encourages this was wonderful.
  
Living in a new city? What has that experience been like for you?
It wasn’t hard to fall in love with Boston but living on my own in an unknown city with no one I knew was hard. Having to cook for myself and managing money after paying bills and rent made me appreciate home, family, and friends at a much bigger scale. However, homesickness did not stop me from exploring museums, restaurants, and historical attractions. This new type of independence that I gained this summer helped me mature and allowed me to see the world outside Houston and Bryn Mawr. 

Yesenia Mendez by ocean

A Postcard From: Elicie Edmond ’21

This summer I had the opportunity to intern at Prevention Point Philadelphia. Before beginning this internship, I had very little knowledge of the organization, or the services they provided. The most I knew of Prevention Point was that they offered harm reduction services to those affected by the opioid epidemic in Philadelphia communities. I also knew it was located in Kensington, the neighborhood known as the center for Philadelphia’s drug market. However, I wasn’t even aware Philadelphia was one of the major cities affected by the opioid crisis. A conversation I had with a neighbor back home in Delaware illustrates how vague my understanding of my summer plans really was. When they stated, “So it’s basically a safe-place for individuals to use drugs,” I replied, “Yeah, basically,” and went about my day. To say I was ignorant would be an understatement.

Over the past 10 weeks, I’ve gotten to learn the actual types of services Prevention Point provides, and the history behind this organization. Prevention Point addresses public health and social services efforts that aim to provide harm reduction associated with drug use. This organization began as a syringe exchange program, the exchange of used needles for clean ones, in the 1990s to address the HIV/AIDS outbreak among drug users. Since then, Prevention Point has expanded its program to offer a variety of medical and non-medical services to individuals. Along with the exchange program, these services include:

  • Providing warm meals — sit-down meals and sandwiches
  • Mail services
  • Overdose reversal training and distributing free reversal kits
  • Legal aid
  • Case management
  • Stabilized Treatment and Engagement Program (STEP) — Provides medically assisted treatment (MAT) for individuals using opioids
  • Education services
  • Emergency Packs — Harm-reduction needle packs and supplies
  • Street-Side Health Projects — Provides free medical care through mobile clinics and in-building clinics, and wound care
  • Clinica Bienestar — Specifically works with HIV treatment primarily for the Latino/x populations
  • Outreach and Housing — Linkage to housing services and respite centers, such as the Drop-In Center, for individuals to relax
  • HIV/HCV Testing — also provides referrals to HIV and HCV treatments
  • CRAFT — Program that links individuals to drug treatment

Needless to say, Prevention Point offers a lot, and it is definitely not a “safe space for users to use drugs.” Furthermore, the type of services that PPP provides is not limited to those affected by the opioid crisis. It is a safe place for any individual, no matter their race, gender, background, or socioeconomic status, to receive the aid they need. I’ve had the opportunity to take part in most of these services, and it has been the most rewarding experience of my life. Growing up in a sheltered environment, these past couple of months have really given me a different perspective on issues that I had a very biased view of. The staff at Prevention Point are the most kind-hearted and accepting people I have ever encountered, and the biggest thing I have learned from them is to not enter new environments with negative preconceived ideas about individuals, or their backgrounds, and to treat all people like human beings and give them the dignity they deserve.

Elicie Edmond Elicie Edmond