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Internship Pays It Forward

Herricks alum recalls summer work at RMH-LI

The summer of 2013 was no run-of-the-mill downtime for Karishma Tank. The Herricks High School alum wanted to help. Fortunately, she connected with the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island (RMH-LI).


Through Bank of America’s Student Leaders program, Tank was one of 225 high school juniors and seniors from around the country who participated in eight-week, paid summer internships at local nonprofit organizations.


Tank is in her freshman year at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, where she plans to study finance or operations and information management. The 17-year-old is also enrolled in Penn’s engineering school, where she wants to tackle computer science or engineering. While Tank’s not yet set on a career, she feels the internship made nonprofit work a goal in life.


“After working at [the house], I might want to do nonprofit work, but I’m not completely sure,” said Tank.


Tank relished the hands-on work she experienced at RMH-LI. She feels it gave her insight into the realm of nonprofit enterprises.


“I think the internship helped me use the knowledge I started to learn [at school] in a real-world environment,” she said. “Even though I haven’t done a tremendous amount of marketing work, I think it was a nice introduction into nonprofit work.”


But Tank is no stranger to this area. She started Smile, a nonprofit organization aimed at promoting fitness through tennis, in 2012. 


“At the end of my junior year, I realized that using tennis to fight obesity and bullying may be something real fun for kids,” said Tank. “I’m really passionate about tennis. I’ve been playing for a long time.”


She originally learned about the internship program as a freshman in high school while volunteering for the American Red Cross, which also facilitates internships. They were offering it to student volunteers, but Tank was too young to participate, which she said fueled her even more. She was also unable to apply in her junior year due to other extracurricular activities.


“I knew that I wanted to come back to it as a rising senior or a college freshman,” she said. “I made it a point to do it [now].”


Bank of America chose RMH-LI based on location and Tank’s interest in nonprofit work. Tank concentrated on marketing and public relations for the house, including the creation of a sample campaign for raffles to be held later in the year. She worked directly with Jennifer Nicholson, director of special projects for RMH-LI.


“Karishma was an outstanding, bright intern who will undoubtedly succeed in all of her future endeavors,” Nicholson said. “She left a lasting impression at the house and was a tremendous asset to our team over the summer, specifically in assisting with the launch of our new Ronald McDonald Family Room at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital.”


The house is currently going through a mass renovation, with a ceremony planned for Oct. 10. Tank was instrumental in getting the word out about the project, meeting with interior designers to coordinate incoming shipments and plan the upcoming gala event.


“They gave me a nice sampling of what goes on in different departments,” she said. “I also worked on the new Stony Brook University family room that they opened.”


Tank attended a weeklong Student Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., in July. Summit activities included a service learning project and a series of interactive workshops, including Capitol Hill briefings and sessions on financial

education and leadership-development skills. 


“A lot of it was related to surveying about servicing your community,” she said. “We met members of Congress, including Steve Israel.”


“The Student Leaders program gives young people the opportunity to earn while they learn, and also provides local nonprofits talented and energetic individuals that can help them serve critical community needs,” said Bank of America Long Island president Bob Isaksen.