PROJECT CHILDREN INTERN CLASS OF 2015


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Bridgette Kenny


Bridgette Kenny, a student at Mary Immaculate College studying Liberal Arts, interned at the Aisling Center, Bronx, New York.

 

“When I got off the plane in New York from Alabama, excitement was the sure feeling for the seven weeks that lay ahead of me. I interned at The Aisling Irish Center on McLean Avenue in the Bronx. What struck me most about the place I was living in for the summer was, it was like I hadn’t left home at all. The street was lined with many Irish shops, cafés, etc., but most importantly, the friendly salutes from the Irish living here. In the Aisling Irish Center I took part in different activities that went on there. For four weeks of my internship I worked alongside two teachers, helping them out with the Irish Celtic summer camp for young kids. The camp provided a fantastic opportunity for young kids to learn about their Irish culture and heritage through art, crafts, drama, dance etc. I really enjoyed working with the teachers and with the kids. The rest of my internship I had the privilege of helping out and interacting with the seniors.

 

On Monday nights I helped out with feeding the homeless. It blew me away at how thankful and cheerful the people were even in such a difficult time for them. I also had the chance to get back in touch with my artistic side where I had the enjoyment of sketching portraits for the staff members of the Aisling Irish Center and their friends. What made my time in the Aisling Center most enjoyable was definitely working alongside all the staff. Everyone there is extremely friendly and supportive. What I enjoyed most about my experience along with my internship was definitely getting the chance to explore the different American cultures from Alabama, New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C and Virginia along with meeting great people and lifelong friends on the journey. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would experience an unforgettable summer and that is with sincere thanks to all who work with Project Children. Without them this experience would never have been made possible.”

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Elliot English


Elliot English, a student at the University of Ulster studying Law, interned at Bruno Gerbino and Soriano Law office in Ramsey, New Jersey.

 

“I stayed with Matt and Michelle Smith, and their two sons, Brendan and Matthew. I worked with Matt and I travelled to and from work with him each day to his office in Ramsey, New Jersey. Bruno Gerbino and Soriano is the name of the law firm, specializing in non-fault insurance claims. Throughout my time on placement I was involved in a wide array of projects ranging from research, to discovery demands and filing motions, to publication notices and summons letters, as well as writing an article for the New Jersey law magazine. Matt is a litigation attorney, and so I was able to watch various trials, arbitrations, and depositions in various different courts in New York and New Jersey. Matt’s son, Matthew (Matt Jr.) is also a second year law student, like myself and he was clerking for Judge De Rosa in the criminal court.


The judge was kind enough to let me into his chambers to see what goes on behind the scenes in the judicial process. During my time with him I saw many different cases and a trial, as well as learning about the process of selecting a jury. Overall, the hours were long but I learned so much about the practice of law and enjoyed the work. It was great to get real life experience in a law firm, especially in a foreign country where I was out of my comfort zone. Prior to this experience all of my understanding of the law was derived only from books and lecture notes. Interning has brought my course to life and given me a greater drive to do as well as I possibly can going into my final year of university. It’s been an amazing two months and I would recommend it to anyone. Thank you Denis, Matt, Michelle and all the Project Children team for giving me this opportunity!”

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Fiona Johnston


Fiona Johnston, a student at the University of Ulster studying Language and Linguistics, interned at Employment Horizons in New Jersey.


“Having the opportunity to be a part of Project Children this summer has been a truly memorable one. From working in Alabama repairing homes to interning at Employment Horizons in New Jersey with such talented and kindhearted people. Employment Horizons is a non-profit organization that works with adults with both physical and mental disabilities. The aim of this organization is to encourage and motivate all clients to work to the best of their ability, carrying out different tasks and reaching individual goals. This increases their self-esteem and allows them to develop multiple skills in a working environment.  My time at Employment Horizons has given me valuable experience which I will be able to apply to my future career. 


The staff and clients at Employment Horizons were welcoming and friendly from day one which made me feel a lot more at ease and comfortable in the setting. I feel this allowed me to be myself around them as I felt part of a team and hoped to have made a positive impact on the clients’ lives. Each day brought something different; all the clients had their own personalities, which made them all interesting in their own individual way. I was lucky enough to shadow a speech therapist at my time here, which gave me a greater insight into what was involved within this caring profession. I was able to see children with different speech disorders such as child dyspraxia, stutters and some who had no speech at all. This was extremely interesting for me and I am grateful I had this opportunity. 


I stayed with the Grant family in Morris Plains, New Jersey, who opened up their home to me and made me and the other girl Mairead feel welcome at all times. They were both so kindhearted and treated us like daughters of their own and went out of their way to make us happy – this is something that I will never forget. On the weekends we were busy at all times, we travelled to New York, Philadelphia, Long Island, Wildwood and Greenwood Lake. Thanks to Project Children and everyone else involved who made it possible for me to have an unforgettable eight weeks in the States- a summer that I will never forget.”

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Gemma Crane


Gemma Crane, a student at Queens University Belfast studying Law, interned at O Connell and Reilly Law Firm in Pearl River, New Jersey.

 

“I interned at a law firm called O’Connell and Riley. The attorneys, paralegals and legal secretaries were very accommodating and taught me how to do anything I wanted to learn. Mr. O’Connell and Mr. Riley were eager to make my internship meaningful and so after only a few days of settling in, they threw me into the deep end and had me doing real work that a typical New York associate attorney would do. After a week or two I really got into the swing of things and was in my element.

 

I got to do an array of different things such as outlining a brief for an appeal, drawing up a preliminary statement, gathering supporting documents and evidence for preliminary statements, discovery and inspection and interrogatories. On many occasions I attended court, namely in Westchester, Manhattan and Brooklyn, for status and settlement conferences and to submit briefs and the accompanying records. I thoroughly enjoyed attending closings and witnessing living wills because it gave me the opportunity to meet the clients and build rapports. I spent the summer in Pearl River, New York, which is only a 30-minute journey to Manhattan and as such I was able to frequent the city often. 


I fully indulged in the typical NYC tourist lifestyle on the weekends, visiting places such as the Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building, the American Museum of Natural History, Central Park, Chinatown, Little Italy, Staten Island, the Jersey Shore, Times Square, Grand Central Station and much more. I was very fortunate to have met some very nice people and lifelong friends in Pearl River who were kind enough to show me the ropes and to take me to exciting places such as Philadelphia for delicious Philly cheesesteaks, Coney Island to ride the oldest rollercoaster in America and a baseball game to experience the classic American past time.”

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Hannah Young


Hannah Young, a student at the University of Ulster studying Business, interned at The Turning Stone Resort, Verona, New York.

 

“This summer, I was given the fortunate opportunity by Project Children to live and intern in America for eight weeks, as an Events Coordinator at the Turning Stone Resort, upstate New York. My duties consisted of researching upcoming projects, as well as assisting in planning and running various events at the resort. Working on events with guest appearances from NY Yankee Bernie Williams, Budweiser Clydesdales, Baseball Hall of Fame and country singer Toby Keith, helped me gain an effective insight into how events are executed across the resort. I was able to learn the importance of the legal and financial aspects, marketing, advertising and the need for strong communication to liaise with all departments. The experience of interning in a different jurisdiction has not only facilitated me in learning the operations of a multi-million resort, but has enhanced my CV significantly, gaining a strong reference for prospective employers.


Katie and I stayed with two host families for the duration of my internship– the Crawfords and the Clarks. Both families were incredibly accommodating and caring, ensuring we always got the best experiences. Kevin and Georgette Crawford lived right on the lake, so we would often go out on the speedboat, water tube or go to the beach. Katie and I loved going to the beach on our days off, where we would relax and watch the live bands at night. We would also take trips to Destiny USA, (2nd largest mall in America!!) to shop, go to the cinema or get something to eat.

 

Our second host family, The Clarks, lived in a close knit neighborhood, with a fantastic outdoor pool! Pat, Nancy, and their daughter Laura made the most of our evenings and days off, hosting pool parties, bonfire nights, cycling along the canal, climbing mountains and visiting Utica’s famous brewery – Saranac. We also visited Niagara Falls in Canada, where we hopped on the Maid of the Mist nightly boat tour. The falls were lit up, whilst we watched the firework display – no photo could do it justice! Katie and I volunteered at Saranac Beer Festival, and the Great American Irish Festival serving beer, donating our tips to raise further funds for Project Children. We also spontaneously, entered a lip syncing competition at the Saranac Festival and won. We looked like fools, but we didn’t know anyone, so we embraced it! From Habitat for Humanity in Alabama, to the last weekend in NYC, I have not only gained invaluable knowledge and experience, but I have also made lifelong friends. I couldn’t have asked for better host families, along with Pat Costello, my area coordinator, who looked after us all so well. I am incredibly grateful to all involved in Project Children for giving me this fantastic opportunity in America, and would encourage any prospective students to apply.”


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Jonathan Henry


Jonathan Henry, a student at the University of Ulster studying Computing Technologies, interned at MSA Security, IT, Manhattan.

“Upon confirmation of this internship I was both excited and nervous because I didn’t know what to expect. This was a fantastic opportunity for me to meet new people and gain experience of working in a company, especially in New York City. My host family was welcoming and made me feel right at home. They put me at ease and I felt like part of their family instantly. They gave great advice on where to go and what to see, this ensured we made the most of this amazing opportunity. I was also able to go to Joanne’s brother’s house where he had his own private fireworks display for the 4th of July, which was simply amazing.


Initially my internship involved software testing which was good because I was able to put my knowledge to practice. More recently I worked on their automated ticket system, which was started from Rory the previous intern, this work will continue after I leave so I'm glad I was able to contribute to their system during my time in NYC! I would like to thank MSA Security and Project Children for offering me this great opportunity to work and gain some valuable skills that will be useful for my future career.”

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Katie Lonergan


Katie Lonergan, a student at Queens University Belfast studying Business Management, interned at The Turning Stone Resort, Verona, New York.

 

“Summer 2015 has easily been the most rewarding, valuable and fun experience of my life so far and is difficult to sum up in so few words.  Our trip began in New York before going to hot Alabama for an unforgettable week of work and fun. Working with Habitat for Humanity was eye opening!! There was nothing quite as rewarding as working together in a team to help others and being able to see the tangible results of our hard work at the end of the week.  The genuine gratitude that we received from the homeowners made it feel so worthwhile and it was so encouraging to know that we made an actual difference in their lives. 

 

As well as this, working for Habitat allowed us all to develop individually as we all accomplished tasks during the week that we would have never imagined ourselves doing; from using specific tools to laying a new roof or floor. Although we worked hard, we also got to have great fun and establish good friendships with the whole group. Swimming in the lake, experiencing a Frat house, seeing the football stadium and having campfires all added to the brilliant time that we had in Alabama! 

 

Despite not wanting to leave the friends that we had now made, we all went our separate ways after a week for the next part of our adventure.  I was fortunate to be interning at the Turning Stone Resort, along with another intern; Hannah. This is a premier four-season, destination resort in upstate New York that is owned by the Oneida Indian Nation.  Working in the events department, with such a welcoming and friendly team; gave us a good insight into the vast amounts of preparation and organization that go into events at such a prestigious location.  It was interesting to see the necessary involvement of so many departments and dedication of the team members, in order to execute the events successfully.  I hope that this international experience in a business setting will be a good asset to my CV. One highlight of the internship was working at an event with the Budweiser Clydesdales and seeing the eight huge horses!

 

As well as having an internship at a brilliant place, we were also very fortunate to spend our time between two brilliant host families.  The first being Kevin and Georgette Crawford in Cleveland, Syracuse and the second were Pat and Nancy Clark, along with their daughter Laura in Marcy, Utica.  Our stay could not have been more enjoyable as both host families were so incredibly kind and caring and made us feel like part of the family. Thanks to our hosts we were able to have a great time outside of work too.  Boating, swimming and tubing on the lake were some of the things we did in our spare time. 


As well as going to a baseball game, hiking, playing mini golf and going to the beach.  As a result of our good location, we had the opportunity to visit Niagara Falls also, another experience that I will never forget! Lastly, thanks to our super coordinator Pat Costello, we were able to get involved in volunteering and fundraising activities outside of work, including an Irish festival!!  Pat also introduced us to some local delicacies such as half-moon cookies and tomato pie, which we only wish we could get in Ireland.  It is amazing how fast the eight weeks went, time really does fly when you are having fun!”

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Kieran McPartland



Kieran McPartland, a student at Queens University Belfast studying Law, interned at the U.S Circuit Court Western Division in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

 

“I spent my summer interning at a United States District Court in the Northern District of Alabama alongside some University of Alabama students. It was intriguing to witness the American legal system and how it differs from back home. I worked on different projects for the judge and researched various areas for upcoming appeals. I sat in on various sentencings, pre-trial conferences, trials and also participated in other activities. We visited a firing range with the judge and were provided with active shooter training as well as simulation combat training. On some days we volunteered in the community with local police departments and visited landmarks of particular interest to the local justice system. It was refreshing to intern for such an amicable yet diligent federal judge and work alongside such interesting interns and court employees.

 

Staying with Mandy and Dan Maguire and their three friendly dogs was quite the experience. Visiting Tuscaloosa’s finest eateries and touring the vast American football stadium in Tuscaloosa were memorable occasions.  We crisscrossed the country to Kansas City to watch the Kansas City Royals baseball team and experienced the white sandy beaches of Alabama at ‘Gulf Shores’ on the Gulf of Mexico coast. These were highly enjoyable experiences and provided me with a wide ranging view of the USA. It was a pleasure to attend some of Mandy’s musical performances as well. Furthermore I now consider myself a baseball aficionado as a result of attending all the matches that Dan was playing in. Reminiscing on Dan’s ancestral roots in County Fermanagh (where I am from) was intriguing and was quite the coincidence, we watched a couple of Fermanagh GAA qualifier games and cheered them on from 4,000 miles away. All in all it was an unforgettable experience and I am grateful for every second of it.”

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Leonora O'Callaghan


Leonora O’Callaghan, a student at University College Cork studying for a Master’s degree in Education, interned at The Waterstone Inn in Greenwood Lake, New York.

 

“Having the opportunity to spend the summer in Greenwood Lake was an amazing experience. Initial nerves were soon forgotten as the Mulcahy family was very welcoming and made me feel right at home with many home comforts available, including Barry’s Tea which was greatly appreciated after the week in Alabama. Working at the Waterstone Inn allowed me to meet many different people, many of whom were returning guests who often stay at the inn. Some come for the many events that run in the local area throughout the year and others liked to relax or enjoyed boating and other water activities on the lake. When serving the guests breakfast I heard about the different activities they had planned or attractions they saw which was always useful to know as guests often asked about local things to see or do.

 

The work at the inn involved preparing for breakfast and serving breakfast to the guests, cleaning the rooms and doing the laundry when guests checked out and preparing the rooms for the incoming guests. During check in, when explaining about the inn and the facilities available, the guests were interested in hearing about Ireland and what brought me to Greenwood Lake and they were always interested in hearing about our work with Habitat for Humanity in Alabama. The Mulcahys also carried me and other interns based in Greenwood Lake out on the boat, where we went swimming and had the opportunity to do other water activities, along with seeing the beautiful views from the lake. Though Greenwood Lake is a small community there was a variety of things to do, from enjoying the lake and the beach to shopping or going to Mountain Creek Water Park. I would like to thank the Gormley family for taking me to different places and events, which added to the whole internship experience.

 

I have gained so much from this internship; an opportunity to experience American culture which will benefit me into the future and new friends and memories which will never be forgotten. I cannot thank the Mulcahy family and the Project Children volunteers and coordinators enough for this opportunity and for making this an unforgettable summer.”

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Lisa McCorry



Lisa McCorry, a student at the University of Ulster studying Interior Design, interned at The Irish Arts Center in Manhattan.

 

“Well, what can say it has been an amazing summer! As this was my first time in the States I didn’t exactly know what to expect, but I definitely outlived my expectations. From starting off an amazing week in Alabama to then going on to live, work and explore New York City- which is a lifetime experience! Sunday- my official first day in NYC, was started by a "Brunch" experience (which is apparently very popular in the city) with my wonderful host and her friends. What a way to start my seven-week experience. 


I was interning at the Irish Arts Center, located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Irish Arts Center is a New York-based arts and cultural center dedicated to projecting a dynamic image of Ireland and Irish America for the 21st century.  Irish Arts Center is currently developing plans to construct a new facility to serve their multi-disciplinary program. The New Irish Arts Center will contain a 199-seat theatre, an 85-seat intimate café venue; studio spaces for classes, rehearsals and the development of new work; technology capability to project Irish Arts Center on the digital platform and a social environment for meetings, collaboration and conversation before and after the show. 

 

As being from a building and design background, this was very exciting for me to see the plans and see a built model of the new Arts Center. It is safe to say my host went way beyond her 'duties' and treated me like an absolute princess which I am forever grateful! From taking me to numerous rooftop parties, to weekends in Cape Cod, and New Jersey and being a general tour guide of the city! Having such a fabulous host, which I felt comfortable with, made the trip all the more enjoyable! I cannot give enough thanks and praise to Denis and all the Project Children team for being amazing and providing young adults all over Ireland with this life changing experience- a summer I will never forget.”

 

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Mairead McGurk



Mairead McGurk a student at the University of Ulster studying Health Physiology, interned at Employment Horizons in New Jersey.


“Since the day I found out I was accepted onto the Project Children Program, the days couldn’t pass quick enough. My summer can be defined as an experience of a lifetime.  I spent my summer internship working at Employment Horizons, which is a non-profit organization involved in developing mentally and physically disabled adults with the skills required for employment. At the beginning, it was extremely challenging. By the end of the 8 weeks, I did not want to leave.


The staff and the clients were so enjoyable and inspirational to work alongside.  I never would have thought I would actually wake up and be excited about going to work. The skills and knowledge I have learnt through my time at Employment Horizons will certainly be carried with me throughout my next step in life, my working career. It has certainly opened my eyes and has nurtured my capability and understanding of working with those who are impaired. I cannot thank and show my appreciation enough to those in Employment Horizons, the Grant and Kostyak families and of course all those involved in the Project Children Program for make it the best summer ever.”                        

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Megan O'Mahony


Megan O’Mahony, a student at Trinity College Dublin studying Physiotherapy, interned at USGLLC/ International The Arts & Sports Division in New York.

 

“I was lucky enough to be involved in a dual internship based in Greenwood Lake, New York, working with USGLLC and also volunteering as a physical therapist at different events ran by both the Ed Burke and Helen Hayes Rehabilitation Centers. As part of USG performing arts I got the opportunity to organize and run an Experience Ireland summer camp for children between the ages of 3-17 teaching them Gaelic football, hurling, Sean Os dancing and singing. But probably the most rewarding part of the internship, was meeting all the incredible spinal cord injury patients while volunteering through the different rehab events throughout the summer.

 

Through coordinating with Leap of Faith adaptive water skiing in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, I learned all about recreational therapy for spinal cord injuries patients and the benefits of it. For some of these people it had been their first time in the water since their accidents. Their facial expressions after really showed this, everyone was smiling from ear to ear and full of adrenaline after trying out the sit skiing. I helped out by aiding in transferring some of the patients which ranged from paraplegic, quadriplegic and stroke patients so learning the correct techniques for transferring these patients from their chairs to the sit ski is vitally important for their comfort. I was also involved in retrieving the patients after they finished their ski by swimming out to them and helping them to swim back safely to the dock. I was also given the chance to go and visit Winslow Healing with Horses’ facility, it showed me how much animals can help in the rehabilitation of a patient, I was really fortunate to be able to witness a one on one lesson and learned about how to groom and appropriately handle a horse and moreover how horse-riding can be adapted depending on different disabilities such as amputees, arthritis etc.

 

Furthermore I was given the opportunity to volunteer at a “Life Rolls On” event in Rockaway Beach which introduces adaptive surfing to people with a huge range of disabilities from young children to adults. It was such a rewarding day to spend as a volunteer especially with the small children as it was some of their first times in the sea, to see the fun that they were having made volunteering so worthwhile and fulfilling. I was also very privileged to get the chance to witness somebody with a spinal cord injury walk fully upright with robotic legs in the Helen Hayes facility using the ReWalk model. It was a truly amazing experience and one I won’t forget for the rest of my life!

 

I was very lucky to be staying with the Gormleys in Greenwood Lake, they left no stone unturned when it came to making Michael and myself feel at home. A special thanks to Una for taking us all over New York State and further afield even getting up to the Catskills for a quick trip during Irish Arts week! I’m also truly lucky to have spent the summer with the Mulcahy and Morgan families, it wouldn’t have been the best summer of my life without them. Thanks to Project Children, in just 8 short weeks I have formed great friendships with people I may never have crossed paths with or had the opportunity to meet. I have made friends that I hope will last a lifetime and a half!!! I will be forever grateful of the life experience Project Children has given me as an intern and what it’s taught me about my own personal abilities.”

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Michael Fox


Michael Fox, a student at the University of Ulster studying Leisure and Events Management, interned at USGLLC/ International The Arts & Sports Division in New York.

 

“Being provided with the privilege to stay with the Gormley family in Greenwood Lake was a wonderful and life changing experience, I would now class the place as a home away from home. From Irish culture to Irish food it had felt like I had never left the country. Interning with Unateresa has established me with many contacts that could benefit me in terms of my career path and provided me with experiences that I will never have came across back home, from playing a part in the preparation of the Rose of Tralee festival, to organizing and establishing our very own Experience Ireland summer camp.


Coming from a GAA background provided me with many opportunities to coach children throughout summer camps and Boy Scouts camps the sports of Gaelic Football and Hurling, an experience that I will never forget. I was able to give children the opportunity of sport that they have never seen or heard of before. New York and Greenwood Lake has changed my life forever and it was an opportunity that I could not resist jumping for.

 

I have met many new life-long friends and have been welcomed into families that felt like they were my own such as the Gormley’s, Mulcahy’s and the Morgan’s. I would like to thank them for the amazing summer and life-changing experience that they have provided me with. I hope to keep in great contact with them for the foreseeable future. Thanks to everyone in Greenwood Lake who has made this experience for me and I would never hesitate to come back to the Village to spend more time with the wonderful people that I have met during my summer internship in New York.”

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Michael Woods


Michael Woods a student at the University of Ulster studying Finance and Investment Analysis, interned at Pinnacle Investments LLC in Syracuse New York.

 

“My intern experience in Pinnacle Investments LLC has been extremely valuable and is one that I will appreciate for the rest of my lifetime. In my time with Pinnacle I joined a team of financial advisors and stockbrokers. Due to the nature of their work and issues with privacy I was unsure how much I would gain from the experience but these worries were completely erased from day one.  The team was very welcoming from the beginning and took great care of me both inside and outside of work, in the form of lunches, dinners, nights out, corporate events, anything I could have hoped for was given to me.  

 

At Pinnacle I gained invaluable hands on experience, including sitting in on meetings between themselves and clients on how they will financially deal with clients, partaking in prospective clients meeting and also meeting with retail distributors.  Through my own personal work, such as creating investment reports for the team, I feel that I have gained valuable skills, which will be very useful in years to come.  I was also given the opportunity to represent the team in various golf outings with clients which was very enjoyable.   Interning at Pinnacle has created some connections that were very valuable at the time and will most certainly be very useful in later life.

 

I really do owe a lot to my host John, he opened up his home to me and other interns whenever it was needed. He most certainly looked after me during my stay, highlights being trips to Niagara Falls, and a New York Yankees game to name a few. Through his friends and relatives I have met some interesting and nice people, built friendships that I will hold for my lifetime.  Along with his team at Pinnacle they have treated me as one of them and created an experience that I will never forget.”

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Orla Pickering


Orla Pickering, a student at the University of Ulster studying Criminology and Criminal Justice, interned at Bubb, Grogan & Cocca LLP Law in New Jersey.

 

“I was interning for seven weeks at a law firm called Bubb, Grogan & Cocca in Morristown, New Jersey. I was interested in this internship as it complimented my undergraduate course, Criminology and Criminal Justice at Jordanstown. Studying at the University of Ulster I was exposed to the mechanisms of the UK legal system. I applied for Project Children, as it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compare and experience the U.S. Justice System. During my seven weeks I learned a lot, including how to use ‘Time Matters’, the practice of depositions and the professional negligence of medical malpractice. I also spent some time in the Municipal Court in Maddison, which deals with menial offences such as D.U.I’s, D.W.I’s   and parking fines.


Through our Habitat experience I forged long-term friendships with people I would never have met at home. I travelled with other interns to New York for the 4th of July, spent a weekend in Wildwood at the Jersey shore, we visited the Statue of Liberty at Ellis Island, travelled to Philadelphia for the day, shopped in every mall we could find, stayed in Greenwood Lake for three nights and tried many different versions of the American burger.

 

I stayed with the Kostyak family in Morristown and I loved every minute of it! They were very welcoming and made me feel right at home. Al DeBenedictis was the coordinator for the interns in New Jersey, he helped us settle in and it was always great to see his friendly face.  This was my first time in America and I believe that it was more valuable than any experience I could have ever achieved independently of Project Children.”

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Orlagh McNicholl


Orlagh McNicholl, a student at Queens University Belfast studying Business Economics, interned at ERGO Law LLC in Colorado.

 

“After our week in Alabama I headed off to the state of Colorado and stayed in a town called Broomfield, a short distance from Denver. My internship was in Tridens Medical. This is a firm which supplies medical tools to hospitals. My role here was to work on the business side of the firm. I worked in the office and was given a variety of different tasks from checking in inventory, creating set reference guides, attending business meetings and creating spreadsheets on products the business sold. I was also given the opportunity to watch a number of different surgeries in the operating room including a total knee surgery. This allowed me to see all aspects of the business and how they all link together. I had a great experience here and everyone at the office was extremely friendly and welcoming throughout my internship.


 

During my time in Colorado I stayed with Anthony and Darlene Massey. I couldn’t have asked for better people to stay with as they were extremely generous and kind to me during my entire stay. Throughout my time in Colorado I was able to get involved and experience a number of different activities such as hiking to the highest peak of one of the towns in Colorado “bear peak” with Anthony who has hiked all of the 14ers in Colorado, cheering on the Colorado Rockies in a baseball game and watching a Cirque du Soleil show in Denver. One of the highlights of my experience was my trip to Las Vegas! I was extremely lucky to spend a few days here with Darlene and their oldest daughter Erin. This was an amazing experience and was a lot of fun seeing all the different hotels and a few shows. From volunteering for Habitat for Humanity in Alabama to working and living in Colorado, Project Children has provided me with the most amazing experience and a summer I will never forget!”

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Ryan McCloskey


Ryan McCloskey a student at Queens University Belfast studying Accounting, interned at MSA Security, Accounting Dept. in Manhattan.

 

“The past 7 weeks I have spent with Project Children have been the most amazing weeks of my life and it has been a truly life-changing experience. I have been interning at MSA Security in New York City in their finance department and I have had the pleasure of working with some of the best people I have ever met and people I will consider friends for life. I have been able to take my knowledge from university and put it into practice in a real working environment. I have gained invaluable experience which I simply would not be able to get anywhere else and developed skills which I know are going to help me in my future career. Throughout my internship I was always made to feel welcome by everyone in the company and everyone always made sure I was making the most of my time here.

 

I have also had the chance to explore New York and take in many of the sites and activities around the city. What I have most enjoyed, however, is experiencing the culture of New Yorkers. Those who I worked with at MSA included me in their everyday lives, meaning I was able to see what New York is like outside of what you would see as a tourist. For me this was truly an amazing experience and has helped to create memories and friends which I will cherish forever. I also had the pleasure of staying with Ray and JoAnne, who made every effort to ensure we felt a part of their family and ensured we were able to enjoy our time in New York as much as possible.”

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Samuel Mathers


Samuel Mathers, a student at Queens University Belfast studying Architecture, interned at BHC Architects in Manhattan.

 

“For seven weeks I worked for Beatty Harvey Coco Architects in their New York City Office. I commuted every day from the quiet suburb of Wantagh in Long Island, to 28th Street and 5th Avenue – right in the middle of Midtown Manhattan. In the office I was able to use skills I’ve been developing through university to help create preliminary designs for several apartment building projects. I also produced options for redesigning the company’s business cards, presentation sheets and boards, and website to ensure their branding was coherent and consistent throughout all their communication with clients.


As I was working in the city, I had a truly immersive experience of New York. The first day I got off the train in Penn station, and came out onto the street I was blown away. To an extent I think New York felt familiar to me right from the beginning, through TV and film, but to experience the city with your own eyes was something entirely different. After work I would never want to get to the train home, opting more often than not for a trip to an art gallery, a walk along the High Line or through Greenwich Village, or browsing the shops on 5th avenue. Another intern and I stayed with Vinny McGreevy, who was the best host we could have hoped for! He looked after us extremely well, and gave us the freedom at the weekends to do exactly what we wanted – including trips to Jones Beach, a Mets (baseball) game, and  several shopping malls around Long Island. I had the best summer of my life in New York City, and as tough as it is getting the train back to Wantagh, it’ll be much more difficult getting the plane back to Belfast.”

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Shane O'Connor


Shane O’Connor a student at University College Dublin studying Science, interned at ERGO Law LLC in Colorado.

 

“For the summer I worked in a non GMO oil company called Healthy Harvest Productions. From the moment I started in the company I was made to feel right at home by this family run business and the Stroh family. As this was a start up company, a lot of work was needed to get the place of work ready for food safety inspections, as well as getting the warehouse and the bottling line non GMO verified. This was a Colorado-based cooking oil company and the aim for the summer was to make it well renowned among retailers in the Denver area.

 

Because this was a new venture, it was necessary to promote as well as educate the people about the cooking oil and the advantages and disadvantages of using non-GMO oil. This was done through product samples, store demonstrations and hours of phone calls with local businesses. This made my time in the company fly as there was always numerous tasks to do including delivery and storage of the products and also design of pamphlets and posters for each of the shops. Therefore I always had a wide variety of tasks to perform including marketing, promotion, distribution and production. I got an all-around experience of how a business works and a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to get a company established within a community. This will benefit me in the future as any company needs hours of product promotion and marketing to make a product well established.


My time in the Denver area was one I will cherish and remember until I go back there again. Locals were friendly and were always up for a chat with an Irish person. Though this was an area not many interns were sent to before, I would highly recommend this venue of internships for the future. I stayed in the quaint area of Berthoud in Colorado, ten minutes from my place of work, with my host family Mike and Dottie Coen. From day one these people gladly opened there home up to me and welcomed me into the family. I could not have hoped for a nicer family to help me settle into the area. They always had a dinner on the table in the evenings and were always easily available if I needed anything. It was sad to leave them but I know in the future some other Irish intern like myself will enjoy the comfort and welcoming atmosphere of the Coen household just like I did.”

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Shannon Gawley


Shannon Gawley, a student at Queens University Belfast studying Law, interned at NJ State Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association in New Jersey.

 

“Thanks to Project Children I had the privilege of spending my summer interning at the New Jersey State Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association (NFMBA), a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the needs of the public throughout the State of New Jersey. Over the seven weeks I had the chance to work and interact with many talented attorneys, paralegals and support staff. I sat in on client meetings, read case files and documents and kept up to date with landmark federal and local court rulings regarding social benefits and pension funds.


I was fortunate enough to venture into New York for various business meetings with the founder of the international strategic communications firm, Lennox Consulting, and I also had the pleasure of shadowing Superior Court Judge Schott in Newark, New Jersey. I found these experiences both thoroughly interesting and intellectually stimulating, endowing me with a multitude of skills which will surely aid me profusely in my future career. Overall, the work and dedication of the NJFMBA is truly extraordinary and it has been an honor interning with such a well-esteemed and respectable foundation. 


Living the ‘American Dream’ would not have been the same without the Donnelly family, who truly made my time in the States better than I could ever have hoped for. From the first time I stepped foot in their home they made me feel completely welcome and at ease. I cannot even begin to describe the kindness and hospitality I was shown throughout my stay with them. From cheering on the Yankees, spending many wonderful evenings on their boat and enjoying trips to the Jersey Shore and Atlantic City; they truly went above and beyond to ensure that I received the complete American experience. I will be forever grateful to Project Children for having afforded me this life-changing experience. It has given me an ‘adopted American family’, new friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.”

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Stephen Harvey


Stephen Harvey, a student at Queens University Belfast studying Computing and IT, interned at Medtronic Inc. IT & Computer Science in Colorado.

 

“This summer I was given the opportunity by Project Children to work and live in the States for 8 weeks. My internship was with Alticast, which is a global software provider that is constantly partnering to construct solutions for delivering media entertainment. Alticast is headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, but also has major offices in; Amsterdam, Netherlands, Wroclaw, Poland; and Broomfield, Colorado.

 

My internship which was based in Broomfield, Colorado provided me with a valuable, hands-on experience within the IT and telecommunications industry. During my time at Alticast I was given the project of building and creating a launcher for Alticast’s new HDMI stick which is being released to the public market in late 2016. Each day I faced new challenges and took on new tasks while building the launcher, however by facing these challenges I gained a set of valuable hardware and programming skills along the way which will be beneficial for my future career in IT.

 

My host family Nancy and John Callahan made me feel so welcome to Colorado from the beginning, inviting me to meet their friends and family throughout the seven weeks. I am so grateful for their hospitality and kindness they showed me and also the opportunities they give me. Highlights for me throughout my internship was heading up to Glenwood Springs for the weekend and seeing Aspen, another highlight would be seeing the Colorado Rockies baseball team play down in Coors field. I would urge any student to apply for Project Children as it offers a chance of a lifetime.”

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Stephen McCrystall


Stephen McCrystall, a student at Queens University Belfast studying Law interned at ERGO Law LLC in Colorado.

 

“My internship was based in ERGO Law, a Law Office in Denver, Colorado. The firm specializes in tax law, wills and trusts, and occasionally other areas of law. I had the opportunity to sit in on client meetings, participate in conference calls, and was assigned the responsibility of several projects.  Most tax attorneys do not visit court as often as other types of lawyers, but my boss was very accommodating in allowing me to visit several court proceedings. This allowed me to watch trials, see questioning and cross-examining, and witness a defendant being sentenced to prison. It was interesting to see first-hand the similarities and differences between the justice systems at home and in America. I had access to all the materials necessary to complete my research, and I was fortunate in that if I wasn’t sure about something, everyone in the office was willing to take the time to assist me. I always appreciated my boss being readily available for any questions I had, regardless of how busy they were. 

 

During my time in Colorado, I stayed with my boss and his family at their home in Arvada. They were incredibly welcoming and treated me as part of their family from the outset. They took me on trips to local towns such as Estes Park, and on our final weekend, we went to Moab, Utah to visit the National Parks that are there. On the way back, we stopped in Glenwood Springs to visit the natural hot springs and the picturesque Hanging Lake and Sprouting Rock waterfall. This was topped off nicely with doing the stereotypical American pastimes like visiting a baseball game and shopping at the outlets. Staying in “Colorful Colorado” was a great way to see a beautiful state with really friendly people and I can’t wait to stay in contact with the people I have met here.”

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Suzanne Burns


Suzanne Burns a student at Queens University Belfast studying English Literature with Film Studies, interned at Galaxy Communications in New York.

“I had a truly amazing experience living with Kate, Bob and Elizabeth in Baldwinsville this summer. I was nervous thinking about it beforehand, but I couldn’t have asked for a better host family! They were so welcoming and enthusiastic about spending time with me and taking me places, I was so lucky to be staying with them. They took me to the Adirondack Mountains, Niagara Falls, Baltimore and Washington DC! Even after the first week, I felt like a member of their family, and I was so sad to leave them. I really hope to see them again in the future!

I really enjoyed working at Galaxy Communications. In the beginning I was kept busy with Mary, the friendly receptionist, we really had a lot of fun talking and working together! I started the day at 7am with Gomez, Lisa and Scooter on the TK99 Show, where I learned so much about how radio stations work, and even got to go on-air. I also loved working with Marissa in the promotions and sales department during the day, she was incredibly kind to me, and often kept me busy, especially leading up to events. It was a lot of hard work, but I really enjoyed working, and had fun and met a lot of interesting people there.

The best part of my USA experience was the kind, friendly people I met during my stay. I always found someone to chat to, everyone was so welcoming, friendly and helpful. I am confident that I could always find this wonderful hospitality and openness if I am ever lucky enough to come back, and would like to thank everyone that made my stay as amazing as it was!”

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Tony Campbell


Tony Campbell, a student at the University of Ulster studying Politics, interned in the office of Congressman Peter King in New York.

 

“My time interning with Project Children was spent in the office of Congressman Peter King, in Long Island, N.Y. My main duties consisted of dealing with constituents who were having problems with federal agencies. I also scanned the local and national press for anything that would interest Congressman King and passed this on to him. The experience I gained working here was invaluable and I really learned a lot from my time in the office. Congressman King and all his staff, Anne, Patricia, Cathy, Michael and Kevin really could not have been any better and they put me at ease as soon as I started and really made me feel at home straight away.

 

My experience in the States as a whole was unbelievable, from doing Habitat for Humanity in Alabama to spending July 4th in New York City, to weekends spent on Greenwood Lake; it was all better than I could have expected. There are so many people who I need to thank, Vinny my host (who was fantastic and could not have made me feel more at home, or done any more for me), to Denis and all the coordinators, and Sam and Una-Theresa Gormley for putting me up when I stayed in Greenwood Lake! Reflecting on my time spent in the U.S.

 

I can truly say it has been better than I ever expected and I have made friends and memories that I will never forget. As for my career, I have spent gained valuable experience in a working environment that will set me apart from other potential candidates when applying for jobs in the future. All I can say for anyone who is thinking off applying is to go for it; you will definitely not regret it and you will have the best summer of your life!”