Tony Truong ’23

Students Rising Above, San Francisco, CA

This summer, I worked as a Rising Stars intern for Students Rising Above (SRA). SRA is a local non-profit organization in the Bay Area that provides comprehensive support to first-generation, low-income students through one of its major programs, the Rising Stars Program. In the Rising Stars Program, SRA accepts and identifies high school juniors who have demonstrated the ability to overcome tremendous obstacles and who see higher education as their way out of their personal circumstances. As a Rising Star myself who was admitted to the program two years ago, my initial motivation behind interning for SRA involved wanting to learn more about the non-profit organization that has had a positive impact on my life, as well as my passion for wanting to learn more about the hard work that occurs behind the scenes at a non-profit.

My internship manifested itself into three main duties/categories: program development, the selection process, 
and event planning for the incoming SRA class. Throughout my 13-weeks with SRA, the first three weeks involved projects in the program development category. During this time, I was mainly responsible for collecting data through surveys, finding SRA a new tutoring provider, researching the financial aid policies of colleges, conducting outreach analysis, and other small projects. The bulk of my internship involved projects in the selection process where I was responsible for working with the Selection Chair to transition to, plan, and execute virtual student interviews for the 120 finalists who applied to the program. In the last two weeks, I finished my internship by 
planning summer and fall events for the incoming class such as a virtual retreat and college app workshops. While the internship was initially intended to be on-site in San Francisco, I still have learned many valuable skills by 
working completely remotely. For instance, I have learned the importance of communication and proper email 
etiquette as well as time management and organizational skills.

Through this summer internship, I have definitely learned that I 
can still invoke positive change without working directly with the community that I may or will be serving. With that being said, I have also learned that I enjoy doing the latter much more than the 
former. Although this internship hasn’t necessarily informed my future course selection or major fields of study, I have realized that no matter what industry or field I end up pursuing after college, I want to be directly involved with the community that I will be 
serving in some way.

The opportunity to learn more about the organization that 
contributed so much to my personal journey and academic 
success would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the Class 
of 1951 and the ’68 Center for Career Exploration. I would like to give my utmost gratitude and sincere thanks for allowing me to complete this internship and to leave with the soft skills that are transferable to any other industry/field that I may want to pursue in the near future. Again, thank you so much for this opportunity. I am forever grateful.