Fall 2020-Spring 2021 Interns

Janie Raghunandan

Student interns are an essential component of our success at the Center for New North Carolinians. Coming from different paths of life, their personalities, skills, and expertise give a breath of fresh air into the CNNC’s programming.

Below are the thoughts of two of our Fall 2020 interns: Janie and Matthew. Read on to find out more about their journey with the CNNC so far.

Q1) How long have you been with the CNNC?

Janie: I started volunteering as the Communications and Marketing intern at the CNNC in August 2020. It is important to me to contribute my skills toward serving the immigrant and refugee communities of Greensboro. I’m very passionate about the work the CNNC does.

Matthew: I have been with the CNNC since the end of August 2020.


Matthew Barham

Q2) What did you learn from your internship with the CNNC?

Janie: I have learned so much from working with the CNNC and enjoyed it. I’ve grown as a writer from working on website articles and newsletters, developed content for social media and other sharing platforms, and learned how to use WordPress.

Matthew: So far, I have been able to apply concepts that I have learned in class, allowing me to see what those concepts look like in a business setting. I have had the chance to work with a wonderful team and experiment to find the best strategy to let the people of Greensboro and beyond know what the CNNC is doing to improve the lives of immigrants and refugees. I have also had the chance to work with individuals from different backgrounds and hear the stories of so many people the CNNC serves.


Q3) Would you recommend this internship to other students? And why?

Janie: Definitely. It’s been a pleasure working with Dr. Abdo and the whole CNNC team. Everyone is so helpful and genuinely cares. It’s great to be surrounded by a supportive environment.

Matthew: I would absolutely recommend an internship at the CNNC to other students. It is a great chance to stretch your legs and get concepts you have learned out of your head to see how they play out in the real world. The CNNC team could not be more warm and welcoming, they give you the support you need and allow you to apply what you have learned in your courses to tell the world about this great organization.

Q4) What makes the CNNC unique from your perspective?

Janie: The CNNC is so special. Everyone there is dedicated and genuinely cares about supporting immigrant and refugee communities. Many people who work and/or volunteer there also come from similar immigrant and refugee backgrounds. I am most drawn to the community of immigrants and refugees, as I am a child of immigrants and first- generation college student. I strongly value the CNNC’s mission and commitment for the community, as I have seen how access to resources can improve and uplift people’s livelihood.

Matthew: I believe the CNNC is unique because of the individuals that make it run. From staff to volunteers, the amount of backgrounds and cultures represented are astounding. This makes the CNNC even more effective as no matter who they are serving in the immigrant/refugee community, there is someone at the CNNC that can relate to them. This benefits everyone from children at the community centers to individuals receiving interpretation. Knowing that there is someone like you who can walk with you through whatever stage you find yourself in is powerful.

Q5) What is your favorite CNNC program or initiative? Can you briefly describe it and say why you like it most?

Janie: My favorite CNNC initiative is the Umoja group facilitated by our Senior Community Center Coordinator, Natacha Nikokeza. I love that this group has cultivated a space for women’s mental health, education, family, etc., and supports immigrant and refugee women and their unique struggles.

Matthew: My favorite CNNC program would be the Community Centers. Allowing students to have a safe place to have fun and be productive is incredible. Tutoring services ensure that immigrant and refugee students don’t fall behind as they face the daunting task of learning their school materials while also learning the culture they find themselves in. The volunteers and staff at the centers are excellent and truly invest in the lives of these children.

Janie Raghunandan is a PhD student in the English Department at the University of North Carolina – Greensboro. Her academic interest is primarily rhetoric and composition, specifically intersectional feminist rhetoric, cultural rhetoric, pedagogy, and history of rhetoric.

Matthew Barham is an undergraduate student in the Marketing Department at the University of North Carolina – Greensboro. He is minoring in New Media and Design.

Spring-Summer 2020 Interns

“When I first applied for an internship at the Center for New North Carolinians, I had a brief understanding of what the duties would entail. I had no idea what a rewarding experience it would be. Many interns do not get a chance to work firsthand in their field. Some interns are sat at a desk and asked to answer phones and file paperwork. This could not be farther from the truth at The Center for New North Carolinians. My first week I was introduced to clients and given the chance to thrive. While I had the support of my wonderful supervisors, I was also offered some independence to create my own relationships with our clients.

I was placed at the Legacy Crossing Community Center. I was able to do case management work which included but was not limited to assisting families with food stamps, rental assistance and getting medical insurance. When I was at the center to assist some of the children after school it allowed me to get a better sense of what I could help the families with. The children are so kind, intelligent, and full of life. I was able to learn so much about their culture just by having conversations with them. I can honestly not speak enough about how resilient and amazing these families are and what a pleasure it has been to work with them.”
– Miranda Tipton, Master of Social Work Intern at Arizona State University, Spring & Summer 2020

Fall 2018-Spring 2019 Interns

“I have absolutely loved my experience being an intern with the CNNC. I love how I am able to do a little bit of everything and get to experience working with others in the CNNC office and then also getting to work directly with refugees at the center. My time as an intern has been very valuable and taught me many practical things a well as helped me to realize my passions.”
– Nicole Plante, Bachelor of Arts in International and Global Studies student at Elon University, Spring 2019 intern

“Working at the CNNC has allowed me to interact with people of different cultures and backgrounds that I haven’t previously been exposed to. I’ve learned so much during my time at the Oakwood Community Forest working with teens and different clients. This has allowed me to acquire many skills that will be very useful in my career.”
– Alma Alfaro, Bachelor of Arts in Human Development & Family Studies student at UNC Greensboro, Spring 2019 intern

“My time at the CNNC has offered enjoyable and meaningful experiences that I will carry with me during my professional career and personal life. The staff members were delightful to work with and it was great getting to know them more. I feel that the work that I did had an impact on the center and contributed to the mission of the center. I’m grateful I had this opportunity and hope to keep the connections I made in the future. ”
– Elijah Rogan-Kelly, Bachelor of Arts in Sustainable Food Systems student at Guilford College, Spring 2019 intern

“The opportunity to intern at the Center for New North Carolinians has been a huge blessing. I have been given a variety of different tasks and have learned so much about myself, my passions, the immigrant and refugee population, and nonprofit work. I really appreciate the fact that my supervisors trust me enough to give me an actual caseload. I love working with individual clients. I am excited to use all that I have learned after I graduate and begin my life as a professional social worker.”
– Mikaela Moracco-Schelp, Bachelor of Social Work student at UNC Greensboro, Fall 2018 & Spring 2019

“My whole internship experience with CNNC has been life changing. Not only have I been able to build true bonds with some of my refugee families, I have learned just how much a smile and hug can communicate across cultures. In addition, the culture within the CNNC office staff is amazing in that everyone truly cares about one another and our clients in ways that you don’t get to experience in other workplaces. I am really going to miss everything about CNNC. Thanks for the experience!”
– Jennifer Cox, Master of Social Work student at UNC Greensboro & NC A&T University, Fall 2018-Spring 2019

Lori Shepard, Jennifer Cox & Marcia Terry (left to right), CNNC’s Master of Social Work interns Fall 2018-Spring 2019


“What an incredible experience this internship has been, getting to know the families, helping in small ways, and navigating the barriers with them that they face on a daily basis. The language barrier is sometimes difficult, but the important thing is that you are authentic and real, and your compassion will shine through, even if you can’t communicate with words.”
– Lori Shepard, Master of Social Work student at UNC Chapel Hill, Fall 2018-Spring 2019




Summer 2018 Interns

“Working with the CNNC this summer has been an terrific experience. I am so thankful for the relationship I was able to build with the staff, the refugee population and other members of the Greensboro community. While I’ll certainly miss this place, I will hold my time here dearly to my heart.
-Joëlle Simeu, Bachelor of Arts at Washington and Lee University, Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty Intern

“My name is Gillian Belcher, I am going into my senior year as a social work student at Niagara University in Niagara Falls, New York. I have been lucky enough, thanks to the Shepard Program, to have been placed at the CNNC as one of the summer youth program interns at Legacy Crossing. My experience has not only given me direction for my career path, but has most importantly helped me become a better person. I was lucky enough to not only lead kids throughout activities, but I was blessed to have been taught by such incredible children. They showed me the importance of pushing myself out of my comfort zone, patience in building trust, and passion for what I do for the rest of my life. It is hard to pick just one thing that I have taken away from this summer, but the biggest thing that will always stick with me is allowing each day be a new day. I have learned that it is easy to get overwhelmed, but the only way to get the most out of anything that we do is to give ourselves a fresh start each and every day.”
-Gillian Belcher, Bachelor of Social Work student at Niagara University, Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty Intern

Summer interns (from left to right) Sarah, Mohammed, Gillian and Joëlle, working with AmeriCorps Member Tawanna (far right) make Mystery Camp a success

“The biggest takeaway that I’ve gained from my experience thus far is to be flexible. Being flexible has opened my eyes to other’s experiences, seeing my own ideas form into better ones, and allowing me to serve the community with a better understanding of others and myself,”
-Mackenzie Phillips, Bachelor of Social Work student at NC State University

“My biggest takeaway from the internship is that it is important to take the time to listen to people and understand their story. Taking the time to understand the cultural context in which someone is coming from will help you to form a relationship with them in a more intentional way.”
– Sarah Myers, Bachelor of Arts in International and Global Studies student at UNC Greensboro

Fall 2017- Spring 2018 Interns

Intern Sarah Fricke assists a Glen Haven youth with homework as part of her internship

“Working as an intern at CNNC with the Thriving at Three program has allowed me the opportunity to work with a culture that I previously had limited experience and interaction with. Being able to meet these families and have a first hand look into their lives, including their fears relating to our current political environment, was truly a learning experience for me.”
– Kendra Bryant, Master of Social Work student at UNC Greensboro & NCA&T 2017-2018

“The only time people learn is to try, and CNNC is a wonderful place to learn.  During my internship, I enjoy the opportunity to work with refugee and immigrant from all over the world.”
– Hadiza Soumaila, Bachelor of Social Work student at NC A&T 2017-2018

“Through CNNC I have been able to strengthen refugee and immigrant communities while also learning valuable skills for my future career.  I have built relationships with families by providing uplifting support throughout challenges and crises.  I have also gained fulfillment through tutoring children of these families, to be more successful in school.”
– Sarah Fricke, Master of Social Work student at UNC Greensboro & NC A&T 2017-2018

“I have cherished my experience at CNNC learning from some incredible staff and investing my time with very diverse populations. I have learned a variety of critical thinking skills as I apply my school work to practice and seek to provide the best care for the people I interact with.  CNNC has been foundational in shaping who I aspire to be as a future Social Worker and the kind of work that I want to do.”
– Claire Poindexter, Master of Social Work student at UNC Chapel Hill 2017-2018

“This has been a wonderful opportunity to get to know a population that I would otherwise not have been able to meet. In the short time of my internship, I have learned so much.”
– Early Smith, Bachelor of Public Health student at UNC Greensboro 2017-2018

“CNNC is an organization where students are able to witness present day concerns among the immigrant and refugee communities in Greensboro. As a PHE student, I was able to enhance my learning experience and skill set by applying what I have learned at UNCG and utilizing them within the Glen Haven community. I have learned that the best way to assist the community members is by building trusting relationships with them. I had the opportunity to work closely with the Glen Haven Mother’s Group to create community-based events, which brought together their neighbors and community members from outside of Greensboro as well.”
– Jenny Lee, Bachelor of Public Health student at UNC Greensboro 2017-2018

Intern Justin Quimbo, along with AmeriCorps ACCESS Members Ghaisha Yahaya-Mohamed, Caroline McGuirk and Edith Walson