CICS Northtown Academy Students Navigate the Future

Written by Chicago International Charter School
07 January 2021
Posted in Student Spotlight

CICS Northtown Academy partnered with Genesys Works last summer, an organization that provides pathways to career success for high school students in underserved communities. The primary elements of their program model include skills training, meaningful internships, college and career coaching and alumni support.

Two CICS Northtown Academy students, Maria Tencio and Justine James Reyes, applied to the Genesys Quarter 1 Works training program. As part of this program, these NTA students were accepted to a summer internship program. We interviewed both students and they shared some of their experiences and lessons they learned over the course of their intership. 

Maria Tencio wanted to start her senior year the right way with an internship experience added to her name. She applied for a summer internship because she was motivated to step out of her comfort zone. She saw the Genesys Works program as an opportunity to gain skills she could use in the future and work in a professional setting. Originally, she requested an accounting internship, but landed an IT internship with the advertising firm Ten35. Without hesitation, she took it even though she knew nothing about IT. Beyond learning everything from how to build a computer from scratch to understanding network topologies, Maria’s confidence grew exponentially to also improve her confidence in public speaking and the ability to collaborate with others. “I feel more comfortable sharing my ideas with others and am able to communicate my ideas in a group setting.”

Justine James Reyes was determined to apply for a summer internship despite the current pandemic. He knew he wanted to do something over the course of the summer before he started his senior year. He applied for a Genesys Works internship because he was unsure whether he wanted a career in the medical or the computer field and saw this internship as an opportunity to help him figure that out. Justin was placed with TransUnion as a Web Development intern. He describes the internship experience as an ideal one because he learned valuable skills such as time management, writing work emails, how to successfully interview for a job and the importance of networking. Although he enjoyed working with computers, Justine realized it was not something he wanted to pursue as a career, so he has now decided to pursue a career in the medical field.

Both Maria and Justine believe that their internship opportunity is something worthwhile and should be offered to all students because of experiences one gains. They both made contacts while at their internships including mentors they will continuously seek advice from throughout their academic careers. Maria said that the internship was hard work but totally worth the effort. Justine felt the internship helped with him with his personal growth and said he knew it had a similar impact on other students he met with the program. 

Maria and Justine agree that students need to be open minded and take advantage of opportunities that could help them think critically about work and realize the limitless career choices. They encourage other students to do internships while in high school. Real life work experiences gave both of these students a better perspective of the skills needed in a career but also helped them find what they are passionate about doing. Both Maria and Justine represent CICS Northtown Academy’s goal of providing an environment in which students’ creativity, intellectual prowess and problem-solving capabilities are nurtured and thrive to promote remarkable growth.


If students are interested in learning more about Genesys Works internships, please go to their FAQ page for more information about their program and internship opportunities.  

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