Emily Rodríguez ’24

KIPP Philadelphia Schools, Philadelphia, PA

This summer, I interned with the academics team at KIPP Philadelphia, under Emily Gaertner, the director of literacy. During my time working with Emily, we focused on finalizing the ELA curriculum plans for grades five to 11, which included building lesson plans, creating and finalizing unit tests and locating relevant standards for each lesson and overarching ELA unit. Alongside my curriculum work, I also initiated and led a project to identify relevant nonprofit organizations in Philadelphia that were ELA-focused—meaning their mission was to improve student’s literacy skills in some way. Although I was only with KIPP Philadelphia for eight weeks, I felt as though my time with them was filled with lots of interesting and rewarding projects that helped me gain insight into the world of curriculum building and working in a nonprofit setting.

After completing my internship, I have definitely been influenced by my experiences to look further into the field of education. Working in a setting that was outside of the classroom, which is what I typically associate with working in education, I learned that being disconnected from the students and having no interactions with teachers was not something I want to pursue in the future. This semester, I am taking a seminar on Teaching and Learning, for which I will be teaching in a classroom and learning about the best teaching methods. After completing my internship, I am confident that I will gain more out of this class, as I now know that I value the direct relationships I can foster with students. In terms of my future career interests, I am confident that I would be the most fulfilled working in a nonprofit setting, like I did this summer. Through learning more about KIPP’s mission in serving marginalized students and speaking with other team members about their journey to KIPP, I realized that my interests lie in being able to serve marginalized communities in an academic setting. I am so grateful for everything I was able to learn this summer, as I believe that this internship really aided me in recognizing my own career goals and the next steps I would take to achieve them.

This experience was truly rewarding and taught me so much about the field of education and what it means to work in a public charter school system. Everyone I met and spoke with at KIPP Philadelphia was incredibly welcoming and eager to introduce me to the different pathways I could take career-wise, so I am incredibly appreciative of the fact that I was able to familiarize myself with so many of the employees there. I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity, and I am glad that I was able to participate both in my internship and the career programming that the ’68 Center organized.