Mirna's Speech

For the past six months, Mirna Samaan, a senior from Ferris High School, has been interning for WomenRising’s Community and Economic Development Department. This week, Mirna gave a speech about her experience at her internship at the Jersey City Board of Education luncheon. WomenRising was also presented with an appreciation award for our “guidance, inspiration, and support of students and the Career and Technical Education Program.”

Rosemary, Linda, and Ilene, Mirna’s supervisors, as well as the entire WomenRising staff are so proud of Mirna and her achievements. We invite you to take read her speech to see how this internship has positively impacted Mirna’s personal and professional development.

“Good morning Mr. Walker, Ms. Ruane, Ms. Sifflet, Mr. Morales, Central Office personnel, distinguished board members, employers, teachers, and students.

My name is Mirna Samaan and I am a student at Ferris High School. I have been an intern at WomenRising located on Fairmount Avenue since November 2018. I have had the pleasure of being managed and taught by some of the kindest individuals on this earth, Rosemary Nwabueze, Linda Nation, and Ilene Singh and I absolutely love it.

Prior to my internship, I knew nothing about WomenRising. You see, I was raised in a happy and loving home. WomenRising, however, opened my eyes to things that happen to good people.  Take a look at this video. https://youtu.be/670Jtmvxiog

WomenRising was founded as a Jersey City YWCA in May 1905 by a group of 168 women who worked at Colgate and Company. It originally began as a membership organization that provided residences for single women as well as Bible study and dressmaking classes. WomenRising is a community-based organization for women in Hudson County that assists women and their families to achieve independence and live safe, productive and fulfilling lives, through social services, economic development, and other support services. It provides supportive counseling, crisis intervention, workforce development and job placement, shelter for victims of domestic violence, outreach, and referrals.

The culture of this organization is diverse. The staff represents different many ethnicities from the community. Quarterly, the staff comes together to pursue innovative ideas. The physical structure of the organization is based on the different departments; the domestic violence department has different counseling offices and the job search bank has the technology. Very importantly, all opinions are respected when deciding the client’s best options.

As an intern at WomenRising, I have many responsibilities. Aside from being punctual, dressing in business casual, and being thorough in my duties, I also work hand in hand with my managers to assist our clients.

I assist clients with forming their resumes, helping with intake forms, translating when required, helping clients in their research to locate a job that best fits their skills, entering information into different government databases, and enabling training center policies.

My overall experience at WomenRising has been rewarding. Before starting at WomenRising, I expected to do mostly filing and different tasks on the computer such as entering data into excel and making flyers. To my surprise, I have been doing much more and gaining lots of new skills. I have acquired and improved my interpersonal skills, time management, independence with my work, information processing, teamwork, decision making/problem solving, and verbal communication skills.

One of my most successful completed tasks was for a job fair. My responsibility was to call clients and different agencies and send a flyers to advertise for those individuals who may be interested. The last job fair at WomenRising was on April 15th. It was very successful with a very impressing turnout of about 60 people.

During the internship, unfortunately, there have been some not so successful tasks. In fact, one time a client came in and wanted me to look for a part-time job in a daycare for her. She was very specific with her hours which were 9 to 2. She did not want to look at any opportunities outside of Jersey City. Even though I provided her with several different options, she did not like any of them. I contacted different places and it was almost impossible for me to find anything to please her. I tried giving her other options but those were not to her satisfaction either. I felt badly that I did not provide her with the help she needed, but sometimes clients ask for jobs but they don’t have the qualifications.

I am very fortunate to always get positive feedback from my employers even when I make mistakes. My managers point out my errors in a polite way, but they quickly show me the right way to get things done. They have never been rude or unprofessional about anything I have done, and for that,  I appreciate how they teach me and how they respect me as much as I respect them.

One of the most valuable skills I have gained from this internship is the ability to speak with people in a professional setting. I have learned that discussions with bosses or co-workers are much different from discussions with fellow students. From my internship I have gained a better idea of the appropriate way to behave as a professional. This will help me a lot when I start interviewing for other jobs because I will be more confident.

This internship has been a blessing. When you are surrounded by a positive environment, no matter what you are going through, you will be put at peace. Being in a job that doesn’t bore you and allows room for professional growth increases the chances of you wanting it to be a career. Working with people who make you feel appreciated and acknowledged is another reason why I enjoy what I do. These wonderful ladies foster the areas that I'm good at and allow me to express my best talents is a surefire way to ensure that I love my job. It feels great to be part of an amazing group like WomenRising. Sometimes there is a large workload on one person and everybody tries to help. I have never seen people work so well together as much as they do. Everything is group work. They do an amazing job as team players. This is one of the best things I have learned throughout the time I have spent with them.

This internship is wonderful. I would not change anything about it.  I have enjoyed my time in this establishment and have learned a lot. My only recommendation is that more students are allowed to intern to give each of them the opportunity to learn new things about the workforce. What I value the most in this internship is the relationships that I have built with my supervisors and colleagues. It's very positive and I feel very comfortable talking to them about everything and anything. I will greatly miss them.

Thank you. “