Work-Based Learning in Action: Meet ESG’s Summer 2024 Interns

Tuesday, July 9, 2024
Hannah Gandal

At ESG, we recognize the profound value of work-based learning for both professional and personal development. Studies prove that paid internships are linked to many positive benefits for students, including having higher-paying jobs after graduation and an increased confidence that they will be successful in the job market. Graduates with work-based learning experience report greater career satisfaction and have much more trust in the value of their education. 

As part of our work to build and expand high-quality pathways to good careers, ESG has supported many states and local communities in their efforts to design high-quality work-based learning experiences at scale. This summer, we’re also excited to be a provider of work-based learning experiences for six interns (including myself), marking our largest cohort of interns yet. Not only do we hope these internships provide these students with experience in the professional world, but we also recognize the value that our interns bring to our staff and organization as a whole. Interns bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas that we believe will increase our productivity, serve as a talent pipeline, and benefit ESG’s overall mission and goals as an organization.  

Throughout the summer, our interns will work alongside our portfolio teams and engage in meaningful projects while being mentored by many of our staff. At ESG, we believe that investing in emerging leaders is critical for advancing our mission, so we are thrilled to offer a work-based learning experience that we hope will have a lasting impact on all involved. 

These individuals represent the next generation of talent, and we are excited to witness the dynamic exchange of innovative ideas and diverse experiences that each intern will bring to the table.

Meet our interns!

Andrina Hires

Andrina is a graduate student at Georgia State University studying Program Evaluation and Assessment. She is working alongside ESG’s Strategy and Operations team this summer. “For my future, I think opportunities that I’m looking for really require a holistic understanding of the education landscape,” Andrina explained when asked about what she hopes to get out of her internship. “And that’s really why I decided to go back to graduate school and why I pursued this opportunity.” She explained that her goal is not to pigeonhole herself into one specific area of the industry, but to “understand broadly the complexities of things that impact educational experiences, and help organizations and people navigate those experiences.” Andrina’s commitment to gaining a comprehensive understanding of the education field underscores her dedication to making a meaningful impact during her internship this summer. 

Astha Soni

Astha is a graduate student at the Harvard Kennedy School and is pursuing her master’s in public policy. She is working with the Talent Strategy team and is focusing on landscape analysis & market research within the portfolio. “When I heard about ESG, it was almost like all my Venn diagrams coming together,” Astha explained, “The impact, focus, the kind of team that the organization has, and just within the mission and vision, stating out loud that we are an organization that is committed to equity was something that really resonated with me.” When asked why this internship is important for her, Astha explained how “it puts me in that position where I can leverage working with multiple stakeholders and understanding different levers of the problem as well as the solution.” Astha’s enthusiasm and alignment with ESG’s mission highlights her readiness to contribute meaningfully to the organization this summer. 

Catalina Vasquez

Catalina recently finished her first year in a doctoral program in higher education policy at the University of Texas-Austin. This summer, she will be working with the Postsecondary Attainment team on projects related to ESG’s noncredit mobility work and optimizing economic development through partnerships. Catalina was drawn to ESG as she felt that the organization “positioned itself optimally to be able to work with all the different stakeholders, from state policymakers, institutional leaders, business partners, and to be able to leverage those relationships that we need to be successful and reach our goals.” Before ESG, Catalina started pursuing her doctoral program because she noticed that “just because you get to college doesn’t mean you’re going to get across the finish line.” She explained, “We were getting a lot of people in the door for college, but the dropout rate, especially for low income and minority students, is more than half.” Catalina brings this passion for improving educational outcomes for all students to her internship at ESG and will be a very beneficial addition to the team. 

Janeva Wilson

Janeva recently graduated from the University of Texas-Austin with her master’s of education in education policy and planning. She will be working alongside the Career Readiness team during her internship and will be delving into persistence and completion of high-quality pathways. Janeva was driven to ESG’s explicit mission and commitment to equity: “I see education as a pathway to economic and social mobility, and certain students in education systems don’t always get the same access to opportunities,” Janeva explained, “And the work that [ESG] is doing is improving equity and access so that all people have a chance to achieve economic and social mobility.” This summer, Janeva has the goal of becoming “somewhat of an expert when it comes to career readiness and access to different opportunities that prepare students for postsecondary attainment.” She also hopes to “expand on basic skills that you need as a policy professional.” Janeva’s dedication to equity and expertise in career readiness positions her to contribute significantly to ESG’s mission this summer. 

Josh Kim 

Josh just finished his first year as a graduate student at New York University studying education and social policy. This summer, Josh is working with the Career Readiness team and will specifically work on the New Skills Ready Network. “Being a policy student and coming from a finance-business background, I’ve always wanted to find the right intersection between the two, and I thought that consulting was a perfect mix,” Josh explained when asked about why he chose ESG, “I looked into a lot of consulting firms that focused on the education sector, but knowing that ESG is growing at a fast pace really inspired me.” Josh believes that he will be able to bring a fresh perspective to the New Skills Ready Network, “I think bringing that new perspective and making sure that the story that we’re telling, based on the data points, is accurate, and making sure that we’re not making any wrongful assumptions is something that I can contribute to the team.” Josh’s passion for bridging his policy expertise with his business background makes him a valuable addition to ESG’s Career Readiness team. 

Hannah Gandal 

Hannah is a rising junior at Tulane University studying communications and business. She is working alongside ESG’s communications team this summer to gain more practical experience in her field. “My main goal is to deepen my understanding of strategic communications in a professional setting and be able to successfully implement what I learn in my future studies and career,” Hannah said. “I hope to learn how effective communication can drive stakeholder engagement and support high-impact practices throughout an organization.” Hannah’s enthusiasm for putting her communications skills to work will allow her to contribute meaningfully to ESG’s communications team this summer. 

Each of our interns brings diverse backgrounds and talents to our organization. Their dedication and passion for ESG’s work will undoubtedly enrich both our team and collective mission. We are confident that the meaningful contributions that each of them will add to our organization will resonate far beyond these few months.