Photo credit: CUNY Service Corps.
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CUNY Service Corps: Helping students grow through paid internships

Figuring out what one wants to pursue career-wise is a difficult decision. The CUNY Service Corps is the perfect opportunity for students to get an idea of their futures. CUNY Service Corps is a two-semester internship and pre-development program that includes working 10-12 hours a week at $15 per hour for a total of 24 weeks (Fall 2020 and Spring 2021). 

CUNY Service Corps focuses on four categories in terms of how they place students within various organizations and agencies within New York City. Those include organizations that focus on educational empowerment, economic empowerment, organizations that address health issues and disparities of New Yorkers, as well as supporting the environment and sustainability of NYC. The program offers paid internships for students seeking to gain practical experience in the workforce.

The Knight News recently sat down with Taruna Sadhoo, the CUNY Service Corps Manager, to get more information about the opportunity. Alongside her, CUNY Service Corps members Marie James, Brandon Coppola and Alum Allan Edmond joined in for a group discussion.

As Sadhoo puts it, “[The CUNY Service Corps is] the opportunity is for students who want a transformational experience as they’re looking to graduate and go out into the world and work,” adding that this is the program “for students who have set a strong foundation academically, this is the chance for them to actually couple what they’re learning in the classroom with hands on skill building and professional development for the world of work.” 

Brandon Coppola, an undergraduate senior sociology major, is a part of the Seventh Cohort of the program. Coppola spoke on his experience with the program and his great appreciation for it. “I was hired as an educational specialist. I was taken in to work on caseloads, data, home visits, different things that kept students in line. I worked out of John Adams High School. I chose high school as it aligns with my interest for school counseling and high school is one of the areas I wanted to combat and help out in.” Coppola mentioned that he had ranked this opportunity as his first preference and outright mentioned it to the people interviewing him. 

Allen Edmond, a Queens College Alumni who graduated in 2017 with a BA in psychology, talked about how CUNY Service Corps transformed his life. Edmond, who is a premedical student currently pursuing a masters degree in biology at QC, voiced his passion for improving educational opportunities for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. He emphasized how invaluable the CUNY Service Corps opportunity is and how it transitioned him to serving as an adjunct lecturer for the biology department. Edmond noted that through CUNY Service Corps, he was able to work with Student National Medical Association (SNMA) and Peer Health Exchange (PHE). As a PHE intern and then volunteer, Allen worked with high school freshman to teach a curriculum around mental health, sexual health and substance abuse.

The group concluded that their experience in CUNY Service Corps changed them in a unique way. As Marie James, CUNY Service Corps Member and junior sociology major, puts it, “The experience was wholesome because you’re improving on many aspects of your life. At a work site, you’re improving on your professionalism, communication with other employees. As a student, you improve in terms of balance.”

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