Students Step Out of the Classroom and Gain Non-Profit Experience
Over the summer, five NYU Shanghai students were awarded the Career Development Center’s Social Impact Internship Grant, which provides funding to pursue unpaid internships at nonprofit organizations.
Since 2016, the NYU Shanghai Career Development Center has awarded the Social Impact Grant to 68 students, including 38 Chinese and 30 international students working in nonprofits in more than 10 countries in a variety of sectors, including in education, health care, environmental protection, and poverty alleviation. By offering the grant, the Career Development encourages students to gain industry insights, enhance their career competencies and work on global social issues.
This year’s recipients Li Peirong ’24, Yang Yuqing ’24, Chen Kejing ’25, Doris Zhang ’25, and Khayla Black ’23 shared what they learned in their internships.
Right: Li participating in a meet and greet session with US-China relations scholar Evan Medeiros.
Li Peirong ’24
Major: Political Science and Economics
Organization: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (Carnegie China)
How does being an intern compare to being a student?
My mentor gave me a lot of constructive advice on how to transform into a working professional. As an intern in the events team, two things were always on my mind: punctuality and details. At school, I always try to make it on time but sometimes I’m late for classes due to special situations. But at Carnegie China conferences, high-level government officials from China and the United States and top scholars are often in attendance so every minute was important, and lateness was unacceptable. Being a student is very different from being a professional, and this internship gave me important lessons on how to excel at being a professional.
How has this internship helped to prepare you for your future goals?
This opportunity complimented my aspiration to serve in the public policy sector. The constant shifts in the international landscape call for more engagement and involvement, especially by youth. By gaining internship experience and pursuing professional and research opportunities, I will be able to explore my career interests and goals despite the world’s uncertainty.
Yang (in the yellow shirt) working with her colleagues to design lesson plans at Stepping Stones, a Shanghai-based not-for-profit volunteer organization with a mission to improve the welfare and general education of disadvantaged children in China. On the right, Chen demonstrates some of the videos he made during his virtual internship with Stepping Stones.
Yang Yuqing ’24 (Major: Social Science)
Kejing Chen ’25 (Major: Data Science and Honors Math)
Organization: Stepping Stones
What was your role at Stepping Stones?
Yang: I co-led designing a series of courses that teach children social-emotional skills. Under the guidance of my supervisor, I designed six lessons to help children realize their own emotions, express their feelings, overcome their dislikes when doing mandatory tasks such as finishing homework, and practice setting smart goals.
Chen: As a computer intern, I engaged in course design for offline programs and also took responsibility for online teaching and assisting my supervisor. I hope I can help underprivileged kids directly by teaching and also indirectly by producing more teaching materials like educational videos.
How did your internship help you prepare for your future career goals?
Yang: My time with Stepping Stones helped foster my skills in working with children, and eventually will contribute to my dream of becoming a child psychotherapist. To prepare, I have decided to work as an intern at NYU Langone's Department of Children & Adolescent Psychiatry during the summer of 2023.
Chen: It made me constantly reflect on my future career plans and reminded me about the importance of sharing kindness. I found that I liked the feeling of being needed and really enjoyed helping others.
Doris (Yuxuan) Zhang ’25
Major: Social Science
Organization: Asia Society - Young Green Tech
What motivated you to intern here?
I am passionate about natural and social sciences, and sustainable development combines both. I also received training from the United Nations to promote sustainable development goals (SDGs). Young Green Tech (YGT), provides an innovative way - green entrepreneurship - to propose solutions for development challenges our society faces.
What were some of your responsibilities?
I started as a media intern. I designed posters and media packaging, did layout and art setting works, edited and produced promotional videos, and ran the public WeChat and LinkedIn accounts. As I developed a deeper understanding of YGT and became more familiar with the team, I took responsibility for some market research and writing analysis articles on synthetic biology, where my academic knowledge could be applied. I also helped organize two YGT talks on the topics of “the influence of the Russia–Ukraine war on the European market” and “how entrepreneurs can protect their legal rights when investing abroad.”
Khayla Black ’23
Organization: International Youth Neuroscience Association (IYNA)
How did this experience help you become a stronger leader?
I served as head of partnerships and as director of the organization’s Introduction to Neuroscience summer program. . My role as the Summer Program Director required me to oversee the entire summer course. From coordinating content developers to overseeing and assisting over twenty undergraduate and graduate teaching assistants to helping students with any problems they had, my job was to pull everything together to execute the program. As the head of partnerships, I was tasked with managing and developing the partnerships with the International Brain Bee and the Alzheimer’s Association.
What are you most proud of from your time with IYNA?
Many of the students and teaching assistants told me that the material was very challenging and that they learned how to think “like a scientist!” I am also really excited for the work I have put into the partnerships because it will play a huge role in increasing accessibility of the Brain Bee (a neuroscience olympiad) and neuroscience coursework. All of our programs are under five dollars, so it feels great that I have created and executed something that’s accessible to anyone, not just people who have the money to pay for a fancy summer program.