Internship Sets Gracie on the Path to a Fulfilling Career

By Eric Steckel | February 1, 2022

Gracie at 2017 Hope for Children Now Gala.

A caring mentor, a meaningful internship, and a scholarship helped Gracie find her career path.

Gracie Wilson is a long, long way from home. A 2021 graduate of Cal State East Bay, she took her first post-college job as a resident life manager at the University of Texas at Dallas, assisting peer advisors on campus. She can trace this job back to her days as an eager young CareerBridge intern.

During her junior year at McClymonds High School, Gracie worked at a local Kentucky Fried Chicken. That experience taught her a valuable lesson—she wanted a fulfilling career, and fast food was not the answer. Gracie enrolled in CareerBridge and accepted a summer internship teaching Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) labs at Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School. The daughter of a teacher, Gracie had long been interested in education. The MLK internship was the first step down that path.

“The longer I worked in the STEAM lab with Miss Michelle [Hutcherson, Path2Math Program Manager], she let me take on more and more leadership opportunities and eventually lead the lessons,” Gracie recalls. “Her placing confidence in me helped boost my confidence. It felt pretty natural, and I was like, ‘Okay, this is something that I definitely see myself doing.’”

“I wanted to have them feel like I am somebody that believes in them and knows that they can succeed and go far in life.”

Throughout her senior year of high school and college, Gracie continued to work in education, seeking opportunities to connect and give back to other students. She volunteered alongside Miss Michelle, tutoring students in Path2Math, and was a resident advisor in her college dormitory. She also worked for the Girl Scouts Discover Together program teaching STEAM classes at underfunded elementary schools and middle schools—a natural fit from her time at CareerBridge.

Gracie graduated from Cal State East Bay in 2021

You invested in Gracie and gave her a glimpse at a fulfilling career in education. Now she is giving back to children and youth through her work.

“I got to work with kids and build these bonds, and I felt like I was doing something positive. It just goes back to enriching kids in the classroom and giving them the support they need. And in the long run, the skills that I learned, and being able to put that experience on my resume, and reference it in interviews, was so beneficial,” Gracie said.

Supporting peer advisors in a rigorous academic setting is rewarding “…because I feel like that’s something my supervisors did for me when I was a PA.”

Gracie wants to find opportunities to give back in her future. “I know how much it helped me to have teachers that truly invested in my well-being beyond the academics. Being able to give back to other students, I wanted to see all of them succeed and be a positive role model to them, and a support system to them, and to have them feel like I am somebody that believes in them and knows that they can succeed and go far in life.”

Gracie may be a long way from home, but she’s certainly on the right path.

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