My name is Caio Moreira Goolsby, and I’m a Sophomore studying Astronomy and Government and Politics at the University of Maryland with the CSS program. As the pandemic hit in 2020, I watched the outsized impact that supply chain shut-downs, pandemic restrictions, and service industry closures had on my local immigrant community. My resume, which had been floating around my local Latino community, made its way to the desk of a CEO of a local immigrant-serving non-profit: Foreign-born Information and Referral Network – FIRN. They reached out to me asking if I would be interested in interning for him. After watching a FIRN-sponsored COVID relief drive-through that provided free testing, masks, and food for my community, I eagerly accepted this offer.
For a little over a year, I served as the CEO’s intern, doing various jobs for FIRN as they were needed. At one point, I renovated an office to turn it into a healthcare suite that could provide information and consultation to immigrants. I worked with various employees and local education institutions to develop an intern program for FIRN. I also had a chance to work on many projects such as a rent-to-own program for struggling families, integrating cryptocurrency donations into the company, COVID-19 business relief funding, and an international virtual marathon to raise money and donations. I even worked closely to develop and edit funding proposals to both FIRN’s Board of Directors and to local governments. All of my varied obligations exposed me to business organizational structures, working within tight timelines, and the various software commonly used by modern businesses. It taught me how to write concise memos and create professional presentations, all while giving me the confidence to lead teams and manage projects of my own.
In the end, I learned just how much I enjoyed helping members of my community, but how few resources there are at the local level. While I certainly suspected this would be the case, I have come to realize that if I wish to effect real, substantial change, I will have to pursue a career at the Federal level where one is not constrained by minuscule budgets and a small area of effect. My time at FIRN was both informative and rewarding in the work that I managed to accomplish. I have managed to grow as an individual having endured the grueling world of non-profits, and I have improved my professional prospects through helpful experience. However, I hope that my internship experience doesn’t end there; rather, it should act as a stepping stone into greater and better things. As a College Success Scholar, I am glad that I will have the opportunity to continue my work experience at other, better, locations now, and I thank Dr. Lester and the leadership staff for giving me this opportunity to share my experience.