Week 2:
New Friends

Massey Fellow in Development & Civic Empowerment

The Obama Foundation | Chicago, Illinois

February 1, 2019

I am now two weeks into my internship, and feel successfully on-boarded to my team and to Chicago. Before I arrived, my supervisor scheduled one on one interviews for me with each member of the development staff. These thirty minute meetings with my new team members served as the most useful aspect of my integration process. Each person was honest and kind, and offered their stories and advice. It didn’t matter their position, or the thousand other things they had to do that day. Each of them made time just for me, and I’m glad I had the chance to connect with all of them. Not only was it helpful on a personal level, but talking through each position grounded my understanding of a development team.

This week I also met my D.C. counterpart Kaylon, a graduate student with the coolest glasses. We are both the development interns, but in different offices, and we are lucky because not every intern has a counterpart in the other office. She and I chat weekly about projects, but each morning we compile the daily clips. When I first arrive to the office, I visit each conference room to make sure it looks nice to start the day. After rearranging chairs, erasing white boards, and checking the Google Hangouts systems, I then connect with Kaylon. She and I collaborate on the development department daily clips, which are news clips related to foundations, fundraising, and corporations that we compile and send to the team each morning. I like this time each day, because I scroll through articles, catch up on news, and sip my coffee before the office starts bustling. Kaylon and I send the clips out each morning, and then begin working on our different projects. Swapping perspectives and ideas with her has been super beneficial, and I’m glad I work with her.

I feel more settled in my apartment each day. I don’t yet own a dresser, so keeping my shirts and socks organized has been tricky, but my room is cozy. My roommates and I ventured to Trader Joe’s in South Loop for a special groceries trip. I also visited West Loop, where I watched the Chiefs game with a fellow intern. That was a sad night, but it was nice to eat dinner with a family. I am slowly venturing out of Hyde Park, and I’m excited to see more.

This is a highly inaccurate, but adorable map of Hyde Park that hangs in the office.

Everyone warns me of the sadness of Chicago winters. Some people I meet can’t believe I decided to move here in January. But it doesn’t feel too dreary. Yes, it’s cold and I’m constantly avoiding ice on my walk to work, but the snow builds up on the balcony outside my office window, and it stays white because no one is out there walking on it. Lake Michigan is freezing over, and it’s filled with gorgeous hues. It’s not as sad as everyone claims. I am happy to be here.

Elizabeth Mombello '19

Elizabeth is a sociology and Spanish major from Overland Park, Kansas.