Name: Andrea M. Negrin
Hometown: Miami, FL
What is your major?
Dual degrees in economics, development economics track and English, writing and rhetoric track
Where are you interning? What do you do there?
I am interning with the Sundari Foundation, Inc., a non-denominational, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of poor, disadvantaged and homeless women, youth and children by ensuring that they have the sanctuary, support, education and resources needed to heal, grow, and blossom into who they were truly meant to be. As an intern with Lotus House, the specific nonprofit I intern with in the Sundari Foundation, I help the legal department with their day-to-day tasks as well as complete the projects assigned to me. My duties range from helping input COVID-19 test results to creating resource guides for the existing Lotus House guests.
How did you get your internship?
During my time volunteering at Lotus House with the Lotus Kid’s summer camp, I was given the opportunity to apply for an internship with the legal department.
What advice do you have for those beginning the internship process?
Learn to listen.
There is always someone with more experience and knowledge than you. Listen to what your supervisors say, take their advice seriously, but most importantly, write everything down. Not only does this help prevent you from making mistakes, but it shows your supervisors that you are invested in your work with them.
What projects are you working on?
I am currently working on my second resource guide. For this resource guide, I am compiling resources for Lotus House alumni to help facilitate safe, sustainable,and independent living. I am also assisting legal counsel with compiling guest records for a request from the Social Security Administration.
How does your internship connect back to your coursework?
My studies in economics concentrate in development economics, which stresses the importance of reducing poverty. I feel that it is important to understand your studies not just from a theoretical perspective, but also from personal experience. My internship allows me to take the statistics I see in my textbooks and recognize the humanity of these topics.
I am also studying English and concentrating on writing and rhetoric. Being an English major has provided me access to classes on grant writing, which allow me to better understand the grant system that serves as the financial backing for many nonprofits, like Lotus House.
What is the coolest thing about your internship or that has happened during your internship?
The most rewarding thing about my internship is seeing women lift themselves and their families out of horrible situations. I feel that the dedication Lotus House has to uplifting women transcends typical re-housing programs in that Lotus House hires the women who they've supported. Lotus House is not a one-way street to self-sufficiency; it's a family of tough women who overcame and now help other women overcome and prosper.
What do you like most about your experience?
What I like most about my experience with Lotus House being able to assist women who are trying to uplift themselves and their families as well as uplift other women.
What have you learned about yourself?
I learned not to walk away from being uncomfortable. Before interning at Lotus House, I had never been exposed to the reality that victims of crime face—victims of sex trafficking, domestic abuse, sexual violence and neglect. Interning for Lotus House exposed me to a tough reality that some Lotus House guests have personally experienced. I quickly learned personal discomfort is not a sufficient reason to excuse helping where help is needed.
How has the position increased your professional confidence?
Interning with Lotus House has increased my professional confidence because it really showed me the importance of putting myself out there. In order to take steps toward personal and professional growth, you have to be willing to put yourself in new, oftentimes intimidating situations.
How has it helped you prove yourself in the “real-world?”
Proving yourself in any way is always a work in progress. I am thankful to Lotus House for furthering my professional development, but I definitely have a long way to go.
How have you expanded your professional network?
My experience with Lotus House allows me to begin understanding the dynamics of the relationship between law enforcement, nonprofits, government and regulations and the Miami community. I would not refer to this as professional networking, but this knowledge and experience definitely allows me to participate in important conversations surrounding homelessness, poverty and community development in my community.