The Journey from Fellow to Intern: An Interview with Crystal Cardenas, Communications Intern, Braven at San José State University

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By: Viviana Uribe, Communications Intern, Braven at Rutgers University – Newark

Viviana asks the following questions:

4Z9A7332Viviana: How was your experience as a fellow?
Crystal: “My experience as a Fall 2016 Fellow was nothing short of amazing. During my Fellowship, I unlocked my hunger for leadership. As the Project Manager for my cohort, #SuccessIsOurOnlyOption, I had the privilege of leading my team of five to design a new interface for Yahoo Mail. This experience helped me understand people’s different working styles and in turn, strengthen my managerial skills. I am so grateful to have had the Braven Fellow experience because since then, I have become a stronger and more independent woman looking to change the world and lead with humility.”

Viviana: What skills did you learn through Braven that helped you once you started your internship?
Crystal: “While there are many skills that have helped me in my past and current internship with Braven, I have to say that two of the most valuable skills I learned during my fellowship were that of project management and leading with purpose. The project management skills I learned through Braven have helped me in my current position by allowing me to streamline the many tasks of a fast-paced start-up environment. One key tool I’ve used for this process are excel sheets. Anyone who truly knows me will know that I am a Google Sheets fangirl for sure! Secondly, leading with purpose has helped me by leaps and bounds. Whenever I notice I am becoming overwhelmed with tasks, I always think back to something I was continuously reminded of during my fellowship–leading with purpose. It’s quite simple–I take a few minutes to sit back and reflect on the impact my work will have on students and the global workforce, in turn, fueling my excitement to produce quality work.”

Viviana: How has Braven impacted you?
Crystal: “I don’t believe I could ever really sum up the ways Braven has impacted me. You see, I still remember the first day of Learning Lab in the Fall of ‘16 when our amazing team member, Edgardo Perez, first asked us, “how are y’all feeling now and how do you hope to feel after Braven?” I was the first person to raise my hand and say, “I am so insecure of my abilities and I hope to gain more confidence.” Fast forward to today, I look back to that moment and giggle because I am a completely different person now. Since then, I have learned so much about myself, the type of team I want to be a part of, the work I want to do, and exactly why i want to be a leader. I want to be “that woman,” the woman who inspires others to be the absolute best version of themselves, the one who demonstrates and doesn’t debate, the one who will continue to pave the path for others to follow, and the woman who truly lives her legacy.”

Viviana: What is the best part of being an intern at Braven?
Crystal: “There’s just too many things to mention here! I can say, however, the best part of being an intern at Braven is being surrounded by so many knowledgeable people. Every time I come into the office, I always leave having learned something new. Whether it’s a new digital marketing skill from our Program Manager, Lesley Alegría, or resume and cover letter advice from our Operations Coordinator, Martha Mendoza, I am always enlightened with new ideas on how to improve the efficiency of our program and my own professional development. I am forever grateful to be part of the Braven familia!”