In my Why DukeEngage Seattle essay, I quoted a friend who gave me a glimpse into his yearlong stay in the Emerald City. He described Seattle as a city where “rain becomes a quiet companion in the Pacific Northwest, where down-to-earth is the only direction, and innovation springs from every local coffee shop.” I didn’t really give much thought to those words at the time. Looking back now, Seattle has been that, but so much more to me. I’m really not even sure how to begin describing my Seattle experience, because so much has happened in the short time we’ve been here. Watching fireworks from Gas Works Park, hiking in Pack Forest, and dancing to Dillon Francis at Capitol Hill Block Party are just a few highlights.

Those experiences aren’t even the best part of my time in Seattle though. My work this summer has been incredibly rewarding and given me a reason to stay here. I am interning with a non-profit called Year Up Puget Sound. We have a yearlong program where students spend six months in the classroom and six months at an internship. The idea behind our name is to give our students a "year up” by teaching them the hard and soft skills needed to gain better career opportunities after they graduate from our program.

My time at Year Up has been such a blessing. I work in the Devo department (pronounced DEE-voh, short for development) with a team of four awesome ladies: Ali, Janice, Dannielle, and Liz. I’ve learned so much from each of them, but especially from my supervisor Janice. She’s so on top of everything and amazing at delegating tasks to our team, so I’ve really been trying to learn by example. I'm always busy, but never bored. My main responsibility as an intern is to help plan events and manage logistics, but my tasks have also ranged from mail merging to making a video for our first Volunteer Appreciation event. It's been six weeks already, but I still feel like there's still so much to learn and still so much to do. 
The best Devo team: Janice, Dannielle, Liz, Christine
The cafe in Capitol Hill where I wrote this blog.
Christine Shen
Duke Student '15

08/05/2013 11:24pm

Sounds awesome Christine. I'm working in a year-long employment training program as well, and I can't tell you how jealous I am that you got to see your participants graduate during your time here (the way mine is timed, they've still got a while to go). What do you find most rewarding about your work? For me, it's seeing the members of the population I'm serving gradually realize that there are more opportunities out there for them than they previously could have imagined. I'm curious to see what you think.

08/06/2013 9:46am

I work in development, too! I love the work atmosphere; there are four of us, and everyone is so passionate about the organization. You need to really believe in your cause and the organization to be able to constantly be asking for gifts from donors, and so everyone I work with truly believes in the importance of what we do. And I agree about your "Emerald City" anecdote. I think I've spent the majority of my stipend at various coffee shops around the city; Roy St Cafe and Hi Spot are my two current favorites. I think that the weather here really makes people take advantage of beautiful days. In California we are so blessed to have sunny weather all year, but it means we don't always Carpe Diem when the sun comes out. Here, everyone goes paddle-boarding, hiking, swimming (Green Lake) or to music festivals (Capitol Hill Block Party was a blast) when the sun comes out. And on the not-so-warm days, I am perfectly at my leisure curling up with my Kindle an some Jasmine Tea...Fair Trade and organic, of course. Great blog post!


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