SkillsRI offers job search support, career enhancement services, and free training program opportunities to unemployed and underemployed Rhode Island residents.
Jackson Kustell – PrepareRI Intern
Jackson was an intern in PrepareRI's summer internship program, the COVID-19 Innovation Challenge. Jackson reflects on his experience over the summer.
Tell me about your experience with the PrepareRI internship program.
I had a spectacular experience with PrepareRI. I’ll admit, I was a little bit concerned when I heard that it would be transitioning to an online model, but those concerns evaporated on day one. I am really impressed with how the PrepareRI team managed to do a complete 180 so fast under such short notice. For me the Internship was a beautiful blend of work experience through exposure to real corporations and real problems and of character development though mentorships, reflection, and daily seminars in everything from “Falling Forwards” to Creativity. PrepareRI is so much more than just a summer job, it’s a program that gives you skills and tools to forge a better future.
How has the PrepareRI program impacted your life?
The COVID-19 Innovation Challenge completely changed my outlook on teamwork. I went in as the type of person who would try to do all of the work myself. However, working in such a large group on such complex problems showed me that I couldn’t achieve goals just by powering through the work myself (as I have done in some school projects in the past). I’m really thankful that I had the chance to learn this now through PrepareRI instead of later, so that when I join the workforce I’ll be able to start things off with a more team oriented mindset right from the get-go.
Do you have a favorite moment from the program?
I had so many great experiences over the internship that it’s incredibly hard to pick only one, but if I had to pick one, it would be when we gave our final presentation as a team. Even though we didn’t end up winning the competition, to see all of our hard work come together in the end, something that we had researched, designed, and prototyped, was incredibly cool!
What do you think are the biggest benefits of PrepareRI compared to other internships or career learning programs in schools?
I’d say the biggest benefit of PrepareRI is that it’s the whole package all in one. It’s not just an internship. Through PrepareRI I had deep insight into Amgen and formed real connections with some of its members. I learned about leadership, building brand, public speaking, adaptability through seminars and discussions and then had the chance to apply what I learned in a safe environment. I learned how to work with my peers through the student corporation. I had the opportunity to create something unique, and to present in a real pitch environment. PrepareRI isn’t just your average internship, it truly prepares you for your future.
Tell us about the network, connections, and/or friendships you've developed as part of this program.
I was starting to get really lonely last summer. The pandemic had shut down all of my normal paths of interaction. The internship gave me the opportunity to work with so many new people that I would have never met otherwise. And I’m thankful for the connection and friendships PrepareRI brought, especially in a time when we’re so isolated.