First Niagara Intern Spotlight: Tyler Jenkins

Name: Tyler Jenkins
Hometown: New Haven, CT
College: Wesleyan University
Major and Minor: Perspective Computer Science & Government
Tutoring Site: Dixwell
Clubs: Math I & Chess
Favorite Children’s Book: The Watsons Go to Birmingham, by Christopher Paul Curtis

With one-fourth of a college education under my belt, I spent the first summer back from university trying to occupy my time. Many have said the first summer back from college should be filled with a “cultivation of high-level skills” or practices that “increase the personal capital of the student,” which is all code for getting an internship.

The search for a good internship is more difficult than trying to find a needle in a haystack. Well, actually, it’s like trying to find a needle in a needlestack. There are so many great organizations and businesses that need personnel. They want interns that are passionate about their work and will be dedicated to the vision of the company. I wanted to come to a place where I could be both challenged and appreciated. Applying to New Haven Reads was the best choice I could’ve made.

The vision and the framework of the organization should be revered for its efficacy and overall impact on the community. My favorite memory begins with a cart of books and a task. Another intern and I were given the job to give away free books at the park across the street from the Bristol Street site. We wheeled a clunky beige cart onto the park path. Initially skeptical about how the giveaway was going to work, I was quickly reassured that the goal was to get the children to build their personal libraries at home. The objective was to foster a desire to be well read.

I’ve never seen so much tangible enthusiasm for books.

What happened shortly after is why I have so much faith in the New Haven Reads organization. Groups of kids ran toward the cart with all the speed they could muster. They were genuinely delighted and even wanted to take books for friends and family who weren’t there. I was shocked. I’ve never seen so much tangible enthusiasm for books. This summer has been about the quest to make literacy something exciting. Seeing delight for literature has made literacy exciting for me again as well. It was the same look that I’ve seen when the ice cream truck pulls into a park, except the product is even more sweet. On the deepest level I am thankful to New Haven Reads and to the First Niagara Foundation for the opportunity to intern and all the resources that had to come together to make this experience possible.