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Showcasing The New York Academy of Sciences’ Spring 2024 Interns

Throughout the year, The New York Academy of Sciences welcomes student interns who join staff teams to gain valuable firsthand experience working on practical projects that help to advance the Academy’s mission of “science for the public good.”

Published May 23, 2024

By Zamara Choudhary, Program Manager, Education

The New York Academy of Sciences has a long history of supporting aspiring young professionals through its broad portfolio of education initiatives. And this spring, the Academy was pleased to continue that legacy as a participant in the CUNY Spring Forward Internship Program which connects students with opportunities to further their professional development, apply their academic skills outside of the classroom, explore careers and gain critical work experience.

Founded in 2022, the Program covers four key areas: healthcare; marketing and communications; community service, non-profit, or social services; and STEM, all generously funded by the Research Foundation at CUNY. The Education team at the Academy hosted two interns through the STEM priority area: Isabella Alfaro and Sumaiya Sultana, who were supervised by Rosemary Puckett, Program Manager, Mentored Research Programs and Kaitlin Green, Senior Program Manager, Virtual Programs.

Isabella Alfaro, Mentor and Data Intern

A student at LaGuardia Community College studying computer science, Isabella came to the Academy seeking to improve her communication skills, learn more about professional collaboration and become more comfortable in a professional work environment.

Most of her time was devoted to the Clifford Chance Cornerstone initiative. This initiative engages students in Kigali, Rwanda by equipping them with the knowledge and skills needed to develop innovative solutions that address food scarcity and the effects of climate change in their communities. She provided key technical, administrative, and programmatic support, enriching the program with her expertise and perspectives.

Isabella’s long-term goal is to become a researcher in AI, and her internship at the Academy helped support and inform this interest. She attended AI & Society seminars and other Academy programming, which helped broaden her network and expose her to new ideas.

“My biggest takeaway from this internship experience was the importance of effective communication,” said Isabella. “By fostering open communication, we aligned our goals, addressed issues promptly, and completed the project efficiently. This experience taught me how to navigate and contribute to a collaborative environment, a skill that will be invaluable in my future career.”

Sumaiya Sultana, The Junior Academy Intern

Sumaiya is studying chemical engineering at The City College of New York. She was excited to gain new skills, further her professional development and discover new interests through an internship at the Academy. She worked closely with Kaitlin Green and Sabrina Debler, Program Assistant, Education to support The Junior Academy, a global community of young people, ages 13-17, who work together under the guidance of STEM experts to devise solutions for STEM Open Innovation Challenges.

Sumaiya was an incredible asset to The Junior Academy team in Education, preparing and fine-tuning multiple materials and taking advantage of opportunities for learning and personal growth. She intends to pursue internships and other opportunities that would allow her to broaden her technical knowledge and gain on-site training in engineering.

“The biggest take way from the internship was gaining valuable experience in navigating multiple projects in an office environment. I developed several key skills such as time management, adaptability, and effective communication,” Sumaiya said.

The culmination of Isabella’s and Sumaiya’s internships was The Academy Intern and Volunteer Showcase, where they developed their public speaking skills by sharing their accomplishments and insights about their internship experience to Academy staff. This was the first time both interns had given a group presentation, and they collaborated extremely well, highlighting each other’s strengths and finding the commonalities in their experiences.

“Isabella and Sumaiya both exceeded our expectations and contributed immensely to the Academy. This was their first internship experience, and it was a pleasure and a privilege to support them in this early part of their careers. We look forward to following their next steps and hosting more interns in the future,” said Meghan Groome, PhD, Senior Vice President of Education for the Academy.

Isabella (left) and Sumaiya pose with the bust of Charles Darwin, the renowned evolutionary biologist and an honorary member of the Academy, located in the Academy’s office at 115 Broadway.