Judith Rosales Rivas ’17, the author of this post, is one of two 2015 recipients of a South Carolina Internship Grant provided by Davidson College and The Jolley Foundation. The purpose of the grant is to allow students to participate in educational internships and to explore living and working in the state of South Carolina.
This summer I had the privilege of working for Red Ventures’ nonprofit called Golden Door Scholars. Golden Door Scholars is an organization that was founded by Red Ventures’ CEO Ric Elias and aims to provide equal educational opportunities for undocumented youth in the Carolinas. Being a Golden Door Scholar myself, I know how important this organization is for students that have limited ways to access a college education. As an intern, I realized how great of an impact their efforts make in the lives of all the scholars and donors alike.
“I felt a sense of purpose and I knew I was making a positive impact not only for the 45 scholars that have received the scholarship so far, but also for future scholars.”
I must say that this summer was the most productive one I have had. I was busy all day, preparing for events, helping with the construction of the new Golden Door Scholars website, meeting with volunteers and mentors, working in groups with other scholars, writing back to donors and students asking for help and advice, etc. It was all worth the hard work. I learned so much about networking, teamwork, and ways to find resources on my own. I felt a sense of purpose and I knew I was making a positive impact not only for the 45 scholars that have received the scholarship so far, but also for future scholars. This coming year Golden Door Scholars will go nationwide, and more students in this country will be benefited. I am extremely happy that I am part of this change.
The experience I gained through this internship will help me start an organization for undocumented students on Davidson’s campus. Davidson College students (like the majority of colleges and universities) do not have knowledge of resources specific to undocumented students, which is one of the reasons why I think starting such an organization will be an important step in making Davidson a more welcoming and supportive institution. Thanks to the internship, I found resources such as post-college scholarships that do not require citizenship, healthcare options for undocumented youth, and support groups in the Charlotte area. Furthermore, one of my responsibilities on the job was to do research on licensing requirements for undocumented students. These vary from state to state, but I now have a better knowledge about which professional jobs are available for students that lack documentation.
I hope that more opportunities like these are opened for students in the future because they are life-changing experiences that elicit personal and professional growth.