With summer opportunities canceled as a result of the pandemic, Paper Bridges launched our first internship program to give high school and college students the opportunity to gain hands-on non-profit work experience. Our summer intern team consisted of 15 students ranging from Singapore to California. Thanks to the dedicated efforts of our hardworking interns this July and August, the program was a huge success!
The program leads worked with interns placed on one of 3 teams: Blog, Social Media, and Press. Throughout the internship, the students had the opportunity to listen to industry speakers, meet the Paper Bridges team, and work on various projects to spread awareness about the pressing issues facing foster youth and orphans in this era. Read on to meet the students who were a part of our summer cohort.
Carrie Wang is a junior at Thomas S. Wootton High School in Maryland. She is an award-winning member of her school’s Model United Nations team and plays club and school field hockey. Carrie is also a staff writer at Lenses, a news outlet which talks about current world issues and politics through teenager’s opinions. In addition to her educational and sport endeavors, Carrie is very passionate about community service and using her voice and resources to help others. She is on the Paper Bridges nonprofit board as the Marketing Director. Recently, she started a chapter of Paper Bridges at her own high school to share the mission within her own community.
Katie Yuan is a junior at Richard Montgomery HS, Maryland. Founding InnovateX in 2020, she is a strong advocate for youth entrepreneurship and firmly believes in ‘closing the gap’ in economic and financial education. She is passionate about business and public speaking as a varsity member of her school’s Mock Trial Team and the President of her school’s Future Business Leaders of America. Having placed at numerous state and national business competitions, she hopes to utilize her experiences to ensure students of all socioeconomic backgrounds have access to business and financial literacy opportunities. She has been an active member of the Paper Bridges Community in the past 2 years as both the International Outreach Director and a Chapter President.
Kelly Yu is a senior at Winston Churchill High School located in Maryland. She is the Social Media Director at Paper Bridges and has recently started a Paper Bridges chapter at her school. Aside from Paper Bridges, Kelly contributes to her school as a student ambassador and member of her grade’s executive board. In school, she is apart of her school debate team and band as a flute player. Additionally, she strives to spread cultural appreciation and diversity within her community through her schools’ Asian American club as an officer and Asian American Festival organization.
Alex Rodriguez is 16, a junior at Charles W. Flanagan High School, and resides in Florida. He is a club leader for two extracurricular activities in his school, being Secretary of his Key Club and VP of Fundraising at his HOSA Club. Alex looks forward to participating in the medical field in the future and is passionate about helping those in need. As a Blog writer for Paper Bridges, he hoped to inspire change in others through the means of writing. Additionally, Alex has also written social justice pieces for other student-led magazine organizations, ultimately wishing to inspire change and inform others through any means necessary.
Alicia Mazzurra is a freshman at Yale University but calls Georgia her home. She is excited to take creative writing classes, join a spoken word poetry group, and explore nature in Connecticut. During her blog-writing internship with Paper Bridges, she has had the opportunity to delve into her identity as a Chinese-adoptee, writing articles that spotlight adoptee voices and the history surrounding international adoption.
Chika Ezeigbo, is a 16-year-old junior, attending Central Cabarrus High School, located in Concord, NC. She is the leader of her school's Technology Student Association Chapter and is a runner on the varsity track and field team. She is a lover of art in all forms but appreciates painting the most. Recently she has started writing for the Colorization Collective focused on talking about art and people of color. She hopes to one day become a Professional Architect. Being a blog intern for Paper Bridges has allowed her to research and write about social issues such as emancipation from the foster care system and illegal orphanages. With their help, it has allowed her to gain a new perspective in the way she writes and discusses social issues concerning an overlooked minority.
Clarise Liu, 15, is a Worcester resident and senior at the Massachusetts Academy of Math & Science. An avid member of CyberPatriot & FIRST Robotics, she hopes to pursue computer science and engineering while remaining passionate about educational equity. Last year, Clarise was a finalist in the international HiMCM competition and first in the CSTA-UNH programming contest. She currently manages Project CODY, a non-profit program for underprivileged students interested in CS, and is a Local Manager for the STEM Garden, an international tutoring program. Outside of STEM, Clarise is an active student government member, clarinetist, cross-country runner, and volunteer. As a social media/graphics design intern for Paper Bridges, Clarise designed educational posts, merchandise, and digital content.
Daniel is a senior at San Marcos High School in Southern California. He leads as pit Section Leader and Principal Percussionist for his school Marching Band and Wind Symphony. He furthers his musical passions through the Axiom Performance Ensemble, CORE Academy, and the Conservatory for Leadership and Arts. He has been elected as President and Division Executive Assistant of Key Club and is appointed as Lead Tutor of Tutors For Change, dedicating his time to provide educational support for children recovering from familial homelessness. Additionally, he serves as Secretary for the National Honors Society, Link Leader for Link Crew, and Vice President for the Passion Guiders club. He intends to major in Economics or Business, fostering these interests through a Press Outreach internship for Paper Bridges, running his sustainable clothing store, and placing nationally in the DYG Business Competition.
Emily Lee is currently a junior at California School of the Arts- SGV in the Musical Theatre Conservatory. Very active in her conservatory, she has performed in many of their musicals including 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee as Marcy Park, Route 66 as Mera, and duetted with a Broadway professional in Performing with the Pros w/David Burnham. Emily is also Historian for her school’s Thespian Troupe, Media Manager for Student Demand Action SGV, and an avid member of CSF and NHS. Through Paper Bridges, she and her friends have started a chapter at their school: recruiting over 40 new members, pairing pen pals with orphans, and spreading love through written words!
Elizabeth Li is a senior who lives in the United Arab Emirates. She is the head of the charity committee at her school where she works with charities and organizes a number of charitable activities such as starting campaigns to raise donations for those who are in need. She hopes to become a doctor in the future. She is also a pianist who’s been playing the piano for more than 7 years now. She is passionate about volunteering, sharing kindness and helping others. She was part of the social media team in the Paper Bridges internship, she was able to help design educational posts and blog infographics for increasing the public awareness of Paper Bridges.
Elizabeth Obrusnik is a junior at the Bronx High School of Science in NYC. She is an active member of her school’s photography and literary magazine clubs, where she shares her more creative ideas. Conversely, she plans to check off as many science courses her school has to offer, as she envisions herself attending medical school in the near future. Her interest in Paper Bridges stemmed from her passion for social science and addressing more taboo social issues. Some of which she has researched during her ongoing social science course.
Jen Austin is a 17-year-old who lives in Los Angeles California. She goes to California School of the Arts-San Gabriel Valley and has learned how to more effectively communicate with media outlets across the globe. Her favorite memory would be the people she’s met and the connections made. Jen heard about paper bridges from one of the founders and immediately wanted to get involved. Paper Bridges has inspired her to be more confident when approaching people she doesn’t know. Her most memorable experience was being on the calls with the group and laughing their heads off because of their procrastination and stress to get all the work done in time.
Lucy is a senior at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Maryland. She has been a longtime activist in her community for many momentous issues. Deeply rooted in her culture, she is the president of the Asian American Alliance which seeks to foster an inclusive environment where people can take part in the beautiful multifaceted culture of Asia. As a result of her care for the Earth, she has started a club called Churchill for Climate to promote the importance of climate awareness in her community. In addition, Lucy and her team have started a nonprofit organization called GenGreen solely devoted to rethinking and advancing youth climate education and awareness. At school, she has been elected as the secretary for both the Engineering Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta, the national math honor society. Lucy has served as the Vice President of the Student Government Association for all of her schooling and runs her class’ personal executive board. As a student ambassador, Lucy has developed strong communication skills which led her to join the Paper Bridges Press Outreach committee. Lucy will continue her Paper Bridges journey this upcoming school year as an officer for the Winston Churchill chapter.
Maria De Fex
Maria De Fex is a junior at Herricks High school in Long Island, New York. At school, she participates in Model United Nations, Mock Trial, Chamber Orchestra and Student Government. She also recently co-started a chapter of Paper Bridges at her school to help orphans worldwide with her peers. Outside of school, she takes part in the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra’s Principal Orchestra as a violist. She also donates time to help her community with organizations such as America Viva and Herricks Camp Connected. As a blog writer for Paper Bridges, she wrote about two of her passions, her Latino roots and the US legal system, through articles about the US Child Welfare and Immigration systems. Maria hopes to attend law school in the future and become a lawyer based in New York City.
Shiami Tulin is a senior at Winston Churchill High School. At school, She is part of the student ambassador team, which helps to engage students in the community. With an interest in arts and fashion, she has worked alongside project runway contestants to gain experience into the industry and has been featured in local art galleries. Interested in pursuing business paths, she is an active member of DECA and has placed in regional competitions and taken college courses in business statistics and accounting. She has won a president’s award for service under TECRO, and her desire to help the community led her to intern at Paper Bridges where she has focused on social media and visual design outreach.
Sonia Birla is a Senior at Enloe High School in Raleigh, North Carolina. At school, she is the president of the Graphic Design Club and part of both the National Honor Society and German National Honor Society. She is also a TedXEnloeHigh speaker. Outside of school, she is the president of a local non-profit, DOC NC, and raises over $15,000 a year. Through DOC NC, she began the Legacy Project, in which she makes documentaries about the lives of senior citizens in her community. Sonia is a HumSub Youth Ambassador and helps promote Indian culture in the community. On Sunday mornings, you can find her at Sanskar Academy, volunteering to teach students about Hindu beliefs. She is involved in the local government through the Youth Legislative Assembly and is the Nigerian Partnership Chair in an International Business Internship. At Paper Bridges, she was a social media intern, helping create posts, videos, and designs for the organization.
Zander Vilaysane is a senior at Mission Hills High School in Southern California. He was a former Link Crew leader and served as the Division Tech Editor for Key Club his junior year. Currently, he is president of Key Club, as well as being on the boards of National Honor Society and UNICEF. His typical leisure activities involve coding and holding photography shoots with friends. He anticipates majoring in computer science with a minor in business. As a social media intern at Paper Bridges, he had assisted in marketing research as well as developing visual content to serve their impact.