For the past eight weeks, Torsh has been fortunate to have Seione (pronounced see-awn) Cheffen working with us as a summer intern through the Youthforce NOLA program. YouthForce NOLA is an organization here in New Orleans, committed to increasing local youth’s career and college success. It’s mission is to connect the city’s public school students to career pathways in high-demand, lucrative fields. The fields they target are bio and health sciences, digital media/tech, and skilled crafts (including architecture, construction, manufacturing and engineering).
The summer internship program offers exposure to one of these industries, and provides students with real-world experience that makes them more prepared to take on economic opportunities within the region. This is the second year we have hosted interns from this amazing organization.
Seione is entering her senior year at Warren Easton Charter High School and she is one of the few NOLA natives here at Torsh. Her favorite subject is English, but her school schedule is also packed with business classes, since she’d like to be a CEO someday. And we think she’s on the right track: Seione’s GPA places her in the top 25% of her class.
During her time with us, Seione worked on various projects that are important to the organization. When we released new functionality on TALENT, our digital platform for teacher professional development, she would take it for a test drive, giving us invaluable feedback on the user experience from a new user’s perspective. She also worked to update our CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software, ensuring accurate client information, and organizing data from our customer support ticket software. Her role also included sales support research — finding the contact details for potential clients, which the sales team could then target.
Seione’s internship is drawing to a close, so we wanted to introduce this rising star to our readers before we launch her back into the universe. We sat down to ask her a few questions.
Tell me, how did you get involved in YouthForce NOLA?
I heard about Youthforce NOLA through my accounting teacher. At first I thought it was not for me, because I had no experience in any of the fields they target. But then she explained that I did not need any – they were going to train me first. So I thought, why not try something new?
What do you think led YouthForce NOLA to pick Torsh as the right opportunity for you this summer?
I think I was assigned to Torsh because I am a hard worker, a fast learner and I am motivated to learn new things.
What is one thing you learned this summer that is most valuable to you?
I learned how important verbal communication is, and that everyone’s voice is important and should be heard.
Are you involved in any extracurricular activities that are important to you?
An extracurricular activity that means a lot to me is called DECA. It’s an organization that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. They operate in high schools here in NOLA and around the world. I’ve been involved with them all throughout high school.
What are your plans after high school?
I want to attend college and study business. I’m not sure where I’ll apply yet, but I hope it’s somewhere in Atlanta. I visited that city last year and I really loved it.
What are some goals you have for yourself?
I want to graduate high school and I want to do it with a 4.0 GPA. I also want to go to college and eventually get a PhD.
Who do you look up to?
Definitely my Mom. She shows me how to be strong and to never back down from any problem.
You mentioned your favorite subject is English. What are your favorite books?
My favorite books are:
1.Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys, because it is set in New Orleans and tells how the main character became the author of her own destiny
2.Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, because it tells how the female protagonist did not let others decide how her life should be.
3.The Naked Truth by Marvelyn Brown & Courtney E. Martin, because it tells the true, inspiring story of how Marvelyn Brown, a straight, non-promiscuous, regular girl contracted HIV, but she did not let that stop her. Instead she became a poster child for HIV to inform others about the disease.
Is there a specific teacher who had a meaningful influence in your life?
Yes and her name is Ms. Corice Saunders. I took “Principles of Business” with her my sophomore year, and my junior year, I took her for “Marketing Essentials”. She helped me access my true potential. Sometimes I would get frustrated or angry and just want to quit, but she encouraged me to always keep going.
And “always keep going” is a good mantra to take into one’s senior year. We thank Seione for all of her hard work during her internship this summer! We hope she found it worthwhile, and we can’t wait to see what she will accomplish next.