Mid-way at AJWS

I can’t believe how the time has flown! It has been over five weeks since I started interning at American Jewish World Service and although it’s not so obvious from day to day, when I look back over the past five weeks I can see that I have grown a tremendous amount.

I came into this internship with a few specific goals for myself, and I believe I am well on my way to reaching them. One of my goals was to gain a new level of independence, and living and working in New York City has been the perfect circumstance for reaching this goal. I have never before had to take on so much responsibility for myself as now.  Even though I lack my standard support system of parents, professors and close friends here, or rather because I lack that system, I have managed to cope with the everyday trials and tribulations of life on my own. I feel confident now in my ability to look after myself.

Professionally,  my goal for my time here is to network. This was not easy for me at first, but I’ve gotten the hang of it. I’ve already met with two colleagues outside of my department here to learn about their jobs, and I have appointments scheduled to meet with two more. Informally, I have also spoken with many other AJWS employees about their jobs and their personal stories. I can see that not only am I forming strong connections here, but I am also gaining the skills to do the same elsewhere.

Finally, I set myself the goal to try grow academically during the summer by gaining new skills that can also benefit me at school. One skill that I have really picked up from AJWS that will be helpful is self-reflection. My team here seems to truly value taking time out just to think as a tool for productivity. I have practiced that here and found that my work has improved after some reflection time. This is a skill I will take back with me to Brandeis.

I am monitoring my growth with the help of my supervisor, John, as he has taken special interest in supporting my professional development. Every week, the two of us sit down and go over my goals and work on how to further them. With John’s help, my goals are constantly in my mind, and I have them printed out and pinned to my cubicle wall. This has been very helpful.

Right now, I am most proud of the relationships that I am building. It is my natural inclination to keep to myself, but I have made an effort to get to know my fellow interns and colleagues, and I have been truly rewarded for this effort. I am forging true friendships this summer, and that is wonderful! I am also becoming very good at organizing social activities among the interns. Relationship-building skills are key, and I intend to carry these skills over to Brandeis, both academically and in my involvement with the Mock Trial Association. Thanks to AJWS, I’ve come to see the importance of creating and maintaining strong relationships in every aspect of life.

– Jessi Puterman ’15

Author: Jessi Puterman

Jessica Puterman is a rising senior majoring in history and minoring in both Legal Studies and Near East and Judaic Studies at Brandeis. Jessi grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, and she loves going home during winter break to catch some sun. At Brandeis, she is president of Eta Beta Rho Hebrew Honors society and secretary of Brandeis University Mock Trial. Jessi is also a Hebrew tutor at the Boston Jewish Education Program and will start working as an advisor at the Hiatt Career Center at Brandeis. Last summer, Jessi interned through CLIP at the Orthodox Union, and it was during this internship that she became very interested in non-profit organizations. She is excited to continue pursuing this interest at her internship with the American Jewish World Service this summer.