Here’s a question we don’t normally ask about summer internships: Is it possible for one to completely change the way a teenager thinks about school? For Daniel Chairez, a sophomore at Uplift Luna Prep in Deep Ellum, it’s a distinct possibility.
He and fellow Uplift Luna scholar Adrian Rangel spent four weeks in June learning the ropes at Insider Marketing, Inc., an East Dallas company run by Ellen and Steve Miller.
When Daniel reflected on his internship, he said many of the usual things: “I saw how people can be productive in teams; I learned what marketing really is; I discovered how little companies can support big companies.” But as he made these observations, he paused, and with a thoughtful look on his face, said the experience might make a big difference back in the classroom.
“I really thought since I’m smart, I could get by without working that hard. But now I know if I focus in school, I can get to college and make the most of my opportunities,” Daniel explained.
Much of his time at the company was spent observing the promotions team. Daniel worked with them on small pieces of their projects. He assembled and digitized position binders. He inventoried smartphones, and he attended strategy meetings. In between, Ms. Miller challenged his reasons for going into business.
“I always dreamed of going into business because I wanted to be the boss. I didn’t want people telling me what to do. But Ms. Miller showed me that that wasn’t enough,” he said.
“She made me think about the purpose of business. I only looked at things through my perspective. She helped me look at all things through the customers’ eyes, to figure out how I can help them, find flaws in the product and then improve it,” he said.
This was reason enough for her to support the time Daniel and Adrian would spend with her company this summer.
“Young people of all backgrounds need a vision for what the future might hold. We wanted to be able to cast that vision (or light their candle as I often say) for them because they might not have friends or family who can introduce them to opportunities in business or marketing. Uplift Luna emphasizes excellence, and that made them the perfect school to partner with,” Ms. Miller said.
Like a good salesman with an elevator speech, Daniel now has a big goal. He wants to open a company that will help people get out of poverty and be remembered for changing something in the next 50 years. With a motivation like that, it’s no wonder he now thinks differently about school and even has a new perspective on the routine prodding that comes from Uplift Luna’s Road to College counselor Allison Clendening.
“Daniel needed an opportunity to see just how far his abilities can take him in life. We knew he would be thrilled to step up to the plate at Insider Marketing. He has such potential to be a leader and motivator among his peers, and we hope he will now push himself even harder in the classroom,” Ms. Clendening said of him.
Both Daniel and Adrian now know the working world offers some great experiences with really passionate people. Both are eager to take advantage of the boost Uplift Luna faculty and staff can offer them.
“Uplift Luna is always supportive of me. They make me want to be successful, and they trust me, while keeping my future in my head. That and this internship made me want to get a better understanding of how things work now so that I will be ready later,” he said.
Not bad for a four week summer internship.