Interview with Brienna Carter, Computer Science Intern 2014-2017

Dear BRAVE Humans,

It’s me, Meaghan! I’m back with more good vibes. And, today I am happy to provide you with the words and wisdom of Brienna Carter!! From the very first time I met Brienna, she has proven again and again to be a truly impressive and delightful human who engages with learning, leading, lending and loving - not just sometimes, but everyday. Her positive energy and unwavering love for life and for learning are palpable and persistent. This is what makes her presence so awesome and so impactful.  I believe anyone who has the privilege to know her, knows exactly what I mean.

First, I will take this opportunity to brag a bit about Brienna and how truly AWESOME she is. Let’s start by breaking down ALL that she did during her time as an intern and student member. First, Brienna has served on our organization’s Communications Committee, collaborated with Board Directors, other interns and other students. Brienna also played an integral role in building our organization’s website, along with many of our digital spaces, including our newsletter, blog and other platforms. Brienna was involved with all aspects of the BRAVE organization and I admire her commitment to our mission and to her role in bringing our mission to life. She has been a valuable member of the ITHS BRAVE team and has made tremendous contributions, unmatched by anyone, to the entire BRAVE organization. It seems every time we needed her help and expertise she came through with impressive results and unfailing kindness. Brienna is an amazing young woman. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with her and to get to know her. I will be forever grateful to have had the wonderful opportunity to work with and learn from her.  She is a true BRAVE leader and I am certain her future, at Yale University next year, and beyond, will be filled with success and happiness. Basically, she is a total ROCKSTAR!!

In celebration of all she is and all that she has contributed to the BRAVE mission during her three years of service on our team, I would like to share some of her reflections, memories and lessons she shared with me in a recent interview. My questions and her responses are below!

Read on and live BRAVE, friends! Who is ready to change the world?!

Peace & love,

Meaghan

What was your favorite BRAVE project that you worked? Please explain.

Most of my projects have been more so updates to existing work (i.e. the website, newsletters, etc) with the exception of one: the student resources site (which has fallen to the wayside recently but was active and accurate in the 2015-16 school year). Being given the opportunity to create something of my own from nothing was daunting but exciting. Amidst the frustration of Google Site's coding restrictions rose a great pride for my final piece that I could proudly say I made myself.

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What did you learn during your experience with BRAVE?

Aside from the expected learning experience from being a Computer Science Intern (developed coding skills, became more familiar with more website design programs, etc), I've learned time management. Time management has always been a bit of a problem for me as procrastination always looms, but with BRAVE I tried to complete tasks as fast as possible. An email from Meaghan would come in, and I would get on completion immediately when I got my hands on a computer sending a signature "Done!" upon finishing. In contrast, my school work senior year would be "Done!" the morning of being due. The habit I got myself into with BRAVE and stood by most of the time eliminated much stress from my life and for sure benefited all parties in question. In my coming college years, I hope to continue this BRAVE mindset and stay in control over my work.

What is your ultimate BRAVE moment of glory (MOG)?

My first project for BRAVE was to put a calendar on the site. With my new-intern excitement, I told Meaghan this would be no difficult task and surely inserting the calendar wasn't. It was individually putting in all the events that was―every meeting, fundraiser, school function, holiday. But nevertheless, I persisted. For about a year I'd get calendar updates quarterly from Meaghan and embark on the tedious task of creating singular events encapsulating each piece of information from times to location. Meaghan knew this was ineffective, so the calendar project was rebooted once more. Creating a calendar capable of automatically transferring events from BRAVE's Google account to the website was life-changing to say the least (despite the fact that this was all on the now usurped WordPress site BRAVE used to use). My life became easier, I saved plenty of time and frustration, Meaghan was happy, it looked prettier than the old calendar: all was well.

What will you miss most about being the BRAVE Computer Science Intern?

Though this doesn't necessarily cease with the end of my internship, I think I'll generally miss being a part of the BRAVE family. The always joyous emails from Meaghan and interns kindly requesting updates to the site or help with tech were never a burden but a pleasure. The tasks were usually not too difficult and it was more than worthwhile upon receiving consistent gratitude for my work. Not only this, but I loved the work and it felt good to be contributing to something impactful. In more recent times, a communications committee was created to improve BRAVE's communication within the organization and with the community. Being a part of the quarterly video chats with Meaghan, the college interns, and Adam was not only a great learning experience but once again allowed me to contribute to something greater and advance BRAVE's goals. In summary, interning for BRAVE has helped me do good and feel good about doing it, and those are the things I'll miss.

What will you take away from your experience and bring with you wherever you go beyond BRAVE?

The only reason I can even type these blog responses as an outgoing intern is because one day I took a risk of sorts, because I was brave. Meaghan came to my high school one day in my sophomore year to introduce BRAVE in hopes of beginning a chapter. I attended the preliminary meetings without intention of intense involvement in the club, let alone the organization. At one of these introductory meetings, Meaghan mentioned in an aside that she was looking for someone to become a Computer Science Intern. Being ambitious and over-confident in my computer skills, I took a step out of my comfort zone to email Meaghan inquiring about the position, and here I am only leaving three years later. The amount of things I have learned about website development and the world of nonprofits and myself is amazing; opportunities have opened up for me and I have met incredible people. So what I'm trying to say here is that everyone should take risks and go for every opportunity offered, even if you think you are under-qualified or not old enough or just generally not good enough. Because most of the time, you are good enough. And if you aren't, the worst thing you'll get is a "no." Go be BRAVE.