2020 Internship Program: Meet Our Interns!

Last year marked the first time the Pension Boards offered a Summer Internship Program. Our experiences – and those of the five interns – in 2019 were a resounding success. Two of the interns in the initial cohort began their careers with the PBUCC staff team following graduation. Learnings from the first year of the program helped us to further develop and strengthen the plans for the 2020 program.

When the pandemic made it necessary for us to work from home, executive leadership team carefully considered whether the Pension Boards would be able to offer the program this summer. Although this was not the way we had envisioned the program, and despite the unanticipated challenges, leadership remained committed to moving forward.

Our 2020 summer interns are ready to begin their work with us starting next Monday, June 22, for an eight-week program ending on August 14. The theme for this year is Purpose, Impact, Meaning and our goal as an organization is to provide a high-achieving group of college students and recent graduates the opportunity to work together with senior leaders and mentors toward specific, agreed-upon goals while at the same time learning how their skills and capabilities contribute to advancing the Pension Boards’ mission and ministry. I am pleased to introduce the 2020 interns to you:

Sheik Floradewan

Sheik Floradewan joins us this summer as Marketing and Communications Intern, reporting to Communications Manager Judith Santiago. Sheik, who graduated recently from Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business with a BBA in Marketing and a minor in English, is the first generation in her family to attend college. A self-described “avid reader and writer,” Sheik served as the news editor of her college student newspaper, has written for the Queens Daily Eagle, and started an initiative with her friends during the quarantine called Brown Girl Voices – a digital, creative space that gives South Asian women a platform to express themselves through their art. She is excited to join the Pension Boards, “because my values align with the company’s vision of giving back to the people of the church and of faith. Knowing that I am helping to make a difference in the community through my work here is a motivating factor for me.” Sheik adds, “I am happy to be joining a company that, despite the current situation with COVID-19 and the political climate in our country, has been very vocal and transparent with its members in everything the company is doing in keeping everyone safe, and showing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.”

Elise Nguyen

Linh (Elise) Khanh Nguyen will begin her work as Finance Intern, reporting to Randy Garrett, Senior Finance Manager. Elise has a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and Economics from DePauw University, and is currently a student in Columbia University’s Master of Arts: Mathematics of Finance program. She is proud of having been accepted into Columbia’s highly-competitive graduate program, as well as of her volunteer work providing SAT tutoring at Minds Matter, an organization committed to transforming the lives of accomplished high school students from low-income families by broadening their dreams and preparing them for college success. Elise is excited to join the Pension Boards and take part in all the new projects the organization is implementing.

Pratikshya Thakali

Pratikshya Thakali joins our team as Member Services Intern, reporting to Maria Soto, Member Services Manager. She is a senior at Baruch College, majoring in Entrepreneurship and minoring in Communications Studies. Pratikshya is a first-generation immigrant from Nepal who moved to the United States in 2014 while her family remained at home. “This journey has made me a stronger and wiser person,” she says. As Secretary of Baruch’s Himalayan Club, Pratikshya was instrumental in increasing attendance at events by 40% and raising $2,000, for which she received the MVP award at the end of the term. The Dean’s List student says that, “Even though English is my second language, I am proud of my academics.” Pratikshya is excited for the internship opportunity and hopes to enhance communications with members. She also values the organization’s commitment to community service as part of its mission. “I have always wanted to be part of an organization which serves its members toward greater financial security. I am willing to become an ambassador for this institution that has over a century-old history.”

jason vail

Jason Vail returns to the Pension Boards for the second year as Information Technology Intern, reporting to Paul Scott, Senior Software Engineer. A double-major in Computer Science and Mathematics entering his senior year at Binghamton University’s Watson School of Engineering, Jason was part of the inaugural intern team in 2019. Of his accomplishments, Jason says, “Over the past three years, I have harnessed my passions to develop programs that extract meaningful information from large, noisy datasets and web applications that provide for seamless user experiences.” He is excited to be back at the Pension Boards to help develop powerful online tools to educate users on the organization’s services and assist them in making intelligent and purposeful financial decisions.

Our 2020 Summer Internship Program will be mostly virtual, as interns work with their mentors and other departmental leaders. However, the interns, along with our Human Resources department, will be leading Phase 2 of the Pension Boards’ Return-To-Work Plan when they participate in onsite orientation and training from June 22-24. Interns and HR will adhere to new protocols and safety measures, including daily health screenings through our third-party vendor partner, Atlas Injury Prevention Solutions.