Every summer, in partnership with Boston After School & Beyond and Boston Public Schools, the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley welcomes a new intern to the BoSTEM team. This year, we were excited to have Boston Public School student Miliany Figueroa on board! Miliany brought her passion for learning new things to her summer internship, where she helped develop BoSTEM social media and marketing. Read more about her experience below!
Q: Tell us about yourself!
A: My name is Miliany and I’m from Boston. I was raised in Fenway, still live in Fenway, been there pretty much my whole life. I go to Charlestown High, I’m going to be a junior.
Q: When and how did you become interested in STEM?
A: I’ve been involved with STEM since elementary school – like STEM week and stuff like that. We built rockets, decorated doors… so STEM’s always been there, but I haven’t really taken it seriously job-wise. This would be my first STEM-related job.
Q: During STEM week, did you find a particular field that you were most passionate about? Or have you always had a side interest that coincides with STEM?
A: When I first started, no. I really didn’t find a particular field that I was interested in, but in high school, I did find that I’m mostly interested in technology. I’ve been taking technology classes in high school for the whole year. The two main things I’m actually interested in are graphic design and forensics.
Q: Do you have any particular role models in those fields?
A: I’d have to go with Bill Nye! I grew up with him! They always showed us videos of Bill Nye in school – I love him!
Q: During this internship, did you have specific goals? What kinds of things did you hope to learn or gain experience with?
A: I have 3 skills that I want to improve on. I think I was pretty good at those skills at first, but I still want to improve on them. They’re graphic design, of course, because this job includes graphic design, and then active learning and time management. Active learning – I just like learning things, I guess! So, I just want to continue to learn something that would help me in my future career. Something to guide me for my future. Time management – I feel like I’m pretty good right now but there is always room to improve. Taking specific time for certain things. I do want to gain as much experience, of course, because if I want a future in graphic design, this is a good chance, a good start for graphic design – or just, you know, first starter job in general.
Q: I know you are helping STEM with social media, which involves graphic design. Are you interested in graphic design for bigger projects like posters, billboards… any area of focus in graphic design that you feel most passionate about?
A: I haven’t really thought about it that way yet, so all I know is that I do want to do graphic design in general, even if it’s for billboards, posters – I just like the general idea of it, I guess.
Q: Now that summer is coming to a close, do you have something that you feel most proud of accomplishing or learning?
A: More about the tools I’m using, I guess, because I never really used Microsoft. I’m glad that I’ve learned more of Microsoft and, just the tools in general. I had to do all the social posts for September – and I finished that today! So, I’m proud of that, finishing that early. And now I’m working on a presentation that I have to give.
Q: What programs are you guys using besides Microsoft for design?
A: We’re using Canva and then to schedule the posts, we’re using Plan That. Those are the main two.
Q: Was there anything surprising about the program this summer, something you learned, a work process, anything like that?
A: Hm, surprising? I think I wasn’t really surprised, but I was just like wow, this is independent and collaborative work. How do I explain it – there’s a chance for you to talk with your team and then you work independently so there’s 50/50 on both. That’s what I like about it.
Q: Yeah! It gives you guidance, but also the ability to think on your own and come up with your own ideas.
Q: Do you have any advice for someone who wants to learn more about STEM?
A: I say just open yourself up to it. I was closed off at first because I didn’t find something that interested me at first. But now that I’ve experienced science, technology, engineering, and math – I found out I like technology. So, I would just say open yourself up to learning new things and just getting out there because you actually might find something you enjoy – I did!
Q: Are you going to pursue STEM after this internship?
A: I’m going to apply for something STEM related after I end this internship, so most likely, yeah – I will try to.
Thank you, Miliany!