A Teen’s First Job Boosts Self-Confidence and Career Skills

Tori Samuels is a senior studying sound production at the Academy for Careers in Television and Film in Queens. When she found out that she was accepted to participate in the Bloomberg Arts Internship last summer, she was elated, knowing that she would have her first job. “They believe in me and think that I can actually do this!” she remembers thinking.

The Bloomberg Arts Internship (BAI) offers New York City high school students paid summer internships in arts and cultural organizations. This year, 56 teens were selected to participate in the 2021 program at 35 host organizations across the boroughs. Learn more about BAI.

For Tori’s internship, she was placed at the Lewis Latimer House Museum as a production intern. Since freshman year at her career and technical education high school, Tori has been learning the technical aspects of cameras and recording, whereby sound and mic checks have become an important part of her everyday skill set.

Participating in BAI enabled her to apply what she’d learned in school to a real-world job experience. At the Lewis Latimer House, Tori lead virtual workshops that provided fun in the educational activities for children. She was also charged with editing the recordings, making them accessible to others on the Museum’s website.

Going with the Flow

Due to the challenges presented during the COVID-19 pandemic last summer, the Lewis Latimer House restricted in-person access to the museum. As a result, the majority of Tori’s work was completed remotely, which she credits for helping develop her communication and technical skills, such as working well under pressure, being a team player, collaborating in a virtual environment, and being able to troubleshoot technical issues as they arose. During her internship, Tori says she gained valuable insights about her work ethic and was happy to realize that she excelled in time management.

Bringing Personal Experience to the College Essay

The BAI program runs for seven weeks prior to senior year and includes a robust college preparedness component. At the end of their summer internships, BAI students enter senior year with a draft of their college essay, one of many pieces that come out of a writing workshop led by Courtney Brown and Ashlynn Wittchow of Columbia University’s Teachers College.

Tori credits Courtney and Ashlynn with helping to boost her self-confidence and encouraging her to write from her personal experience. With their support, Tori was able develop and strengthen her essay. “They made me see it as me being me,” she says, which inspired her to focus her essay on her passion for travel.

A veteran globetrotter who has been traveling the world with her mother since she was three months old, Tori has visited four continents. In the first draft of her essay, Tori connected her love of experiencing other cultures and how other people live to her hopes and aspirations for her college career. She’s ready for new experiences!

A Career Path as Wide Open as Her Travels

The Lewis Latimer House Museum is a historic home in Flushing, New York, dedicated to raising awareness about the fascinating life of Lewis Howard Latimer, an African American inventor, electrical pioneer, and artist, known for his critical role in developing the telephone.

Examining some of the artifacts at Latimer House, Tori became curious about their origin. She sees curiosity as a means of sharpening her critical thinking skills, which she can use to pursue career aspirations in criminal justice. Despite aspiring to shift her focus to criminal justice, Tori knows she will carry her love of art with her, no matter where she goes.

Having been a dancer since she was young, Tori understands how art can be used to tell different stories across different art forms. In conversations with other students during the arts engagement component of the Bloomberg Arts Internship, Tori learned to share and shape her perspective.  She says the internship also helped her realize how a particular work of art can spur thought and inspire viewers to communicate their different views.

The ability to communicate well with others and respect others’ points of view are skills that will serve her well in any career.