Returning to My Truckee Roots: The Value of a Hometown Internship

When I moved away for university, my mind was filled only with thoughts of new experiences and working on my future career. I left Truckee and the Lake Tahoe area for the mysterious giant redwood trees of Humboldt county in order to pursue a Computer Science degree at Humboldt State University. I wasn’t diving straight into the unknown though, I was rather going to a home away from home to live with my eldest sibling. As time went on and I was grinding closer and closer to my degree, the homesickness began to creep into my mind, images of downtown Truckee and Tahoe’s blue waters filled my daydreams. Then, following another tough semester, an opportunity arose for the summer.

SBDCGroupPhotoSBC 2018 07An internship opportunity appeared in my school email’s inbox. My eyes widened, I saw my chance to return home for the summer. I began to research what this internship would entail and applied. After a pleasant interview, the call of acceptance and a training, I was set to come home and work with the Sierra Small Business Development Center within Sierra Business Council. This internship felt just right for me. The needs of the SBDC seemed to align with my line of study while also taking me out of my comfort zone and delving into daily work with the community I was born and raised in. I was tasked with aiding in several projects aimed towards helping our community and the large geographical territory the Sierra SBDC covers. 

My tasks had me conducting research for a variety of projects, aiding in analyses, cleaning up presentations and building a website. Along with my daily office work, I tagged along on a few outreach missions which allowed me to see how potential clients of the SBDC establish connections and express their needs to help them succeed, utilizing the vast amount of resources our SBDC provides. The internship also nudged me to get more involved in town affairs, get to know what’s going on in my hometown, and attend workshops to weigh in on town projects and proceedings. Coming from a minority family with little education, this internship, coupled with what I’ve learned thus far from my higher education, has introduced me to dealings and resources from my community that I was not aware of and have come to have a deeper care for.

My experience of returning to Truckee has been a simple but sweet homecoming. The chance to hang out with my childhood friends, spend time with my dear family, and enjoy the mountain town that raised me is a wonderful motivation to want to return and establish my career as close to home as a possible, especially as technology – with the help of organizations like SBC – is only growing stronger as time continues to fly by. This same motivation is driving my new desire to see my home community grow and succeed. Although this may have been a short summer internship, I am leaving with a sense of accomplishment and expanded knowledge of the importance of the environment, community and economy. I have everyone in the SBC office to thank for this illuminating experience.