First Niagara Foundation Intern Blog Post: Ellie Czepiel

20180705_143259 (1)Name: Ellie Czepiel

Hometown: Hamden, CT

College and Major: Wellesley, Computer Science

Tutoring Site: Willow Street

Club: Math I and Chess

Favorite Childhood Book: The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart


When I was looking for a summer job this past semester, I kept stumbling upon things I didn’t really want to do.  At first, I thought I was just looking in the wrong places, or being too picky. I soon realized, though, that I was comparing every job I found to interning at New Haven Reads.  I wanted to be doing impactful work, surrounded by kids, in a warm and welcoming environment. It only made sense to come back to one of the most impactful, warmest place I have ever worked and have another great summer of tutoring and teaching

Since I started this internship, I have loved every day of it.  Every tutoring session is different, because every student I work with brings different things to the table, which is part of what makes this internship so exciting.  Recently, I was working with a student who was having a lot of trouble staying focused. I did my best to keep him engaged and interested in the material, but it was definitely a challenge.  He got distracted asking me all sorts of questions — what were astronauts with students’ names on them doing on the walls? And why were there planets everywhere? It so happens that this summer, Willow Street is decorated with an astronaut for each student, and when students read a book by themselves they get to put a rocket ship near their astronaut.  I explained this to him, and tried to get him back on track with his work.

When it came time to read aloud, he picked a book and read the entire book to me instead of us alternating reading the pages. Since he did such an awesome job reading the book, he got to put a rocket ship on the wall near his astronaut. He was very excited to go find his astronaut, and we ended up walking around the site talking about the letters in students’ names — can you find an A?  What letter does that student’s name start with? Using the astronauts was a way for him to stay active while reading and engaging with the material, and he did a great job with it.

I want to thank First Niagara for giving me the opportunity to work with the students at New Haven Reads this summer.  This internship has been exactly what I was looking for — fun, exciting, and impactful. I have had an incredible experience thus far and am excited to see what the rest of the summer brings!

Thank you to the First Niagara Foundation in partnership with KeyBank for generously funding six college-age interns at New Haven Reads this summer.

Categories First Niagara Summer Internship, News & Events | Tags: | Posted on July 11, 2018

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