The Charger Blog

University and LiveGirl’s Collaboration Connects Chargers to Career Opportunities

Members of the Pompea College of Business and LiveGirl, a nonprofit that builds confident and inclusive leaders, are connecting students with exciting internships at organizations such as Boeing and Northwestern Mutual. The relationship is offering underrepresented students the chance to network, gain real-world experience, and to show industry leaders their remarkable potential.

August 7, 2023

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

The University’s campus in West Haven, Conn.
The University’s campus in West Haven, Conn.

When Gabriela Garcia-Perez ’23, ’24 M.S. was scrolling on LinkedIn last year browsing internships, she found a few programs offered through SHE WORKS, an accredited internship program part of the Connecticut-based nonprofit LiveGirl. Intrigued, she began looking into them, and what began as a spark of curiosity ignited more opportunities, connections, and collaboration than she’d ever imagined.

Garcia-Perez got in touch with the staff at LiveGirl, explaining her goals and interests. They connected her with Boeing, where she interviewed and then landed an exciting internship. After serving as a corporate audit intern last year, she was so moved by her experience that she wanted to help connect her fellow Chargers with LiveGirl.

Garcia-Perez saw a perfect opportunity with the University’s Women in Business Club. She introduced LiveGirl leadership to Candice Deal, Ph.D., associate dean of the Pompea College of Business and the club’s adviser, and classmate Kiana White ’23, ’24 M.S., the club’s president. Members of LiveGirl attended a Women in Business Club meeting, discussing their work and how it could create opportunities for Chargers.

“This was all made possible by the close and supportive environment in the Women in Business Club,” said Garcia-Perez, a candidate in the finance and financial analytics graduate program. “We strive to grow as a group and to support each other and the University. My idea was to connect these two organizations, and Dean Deal recognized and supported that. She’s so passionate and committed, and it’s empowering. She allows us to flourish.”

A zoom meeting featuring several students on screen.
LiveGirl has helped to create rewarding internships for several Chargers.
‘Helps us build confidence and excel’

Dr. Deal now serves as a member of LiveGirl’s advisory council, and White is a student advocate on the organization’s board of directors, further strengthening the collaboration.

Kiana White ’23, ’24 M.S.
Kiana White ’23, ’24 M.S.

White, a candidate in the University’s graduate program in human resources, is also interning with Boeing this summer. A human resources global engagement diversity and inclusion intern, she is based at the company’s Arlington, VA location.

It’s been an exciting summer for White. As part of her internship, she’s done everything from helping to ensure a smooth transition of board leaders to welcoming members of a local Boys and Girls Club who visited Boeing. While offering career advice to the group, she was able to draw on some of what she’s learned from her involvement with LiveGirl, such as the importance of networking.

“Without LiveGirl, I wouldn’t be where I am now,” she said. “It’s not only what you know, it’s who you know. LiveGirl gives people of minority backgrounds a chance, and taking a chance on us helps us build confidence. It gives us at the University important connections with the community and opportunities to excel.”

‘I’m learning so much’

Garcia-Perez and White are two of the dozen Chargers who are involved with SHE WORKS, LiveGirl’s career readiness and internship program serving college-age women – particularly those from backgrounds that have historically been underrepresented, including many first-generation college students. Several of them are interning at Boeing, and many are gaining experience at other organizations.

Arti Singh ’24 MBA.
Arti Singh ’24 MBA.

For Arti Singh ’24 MBA, LiveGirl helped connect her to her summer internship with Northwestern Mutual, where she is an operations intern in the financial services company’s Norwalk, Conn. location. While her background is in marketing, she’s enjoyed the opportunity to build her skills and gain experience in finance.

“This has enhanced my multitasking skills and helped me to learn about financial planning,” said Singh, who hails from India. “As an international student, I didn’t yet have a vast network here, and this experience has helped me to develop one with a highly skilled team. I’m learning so much from them.”

‘We have had a tremendously positive experience’
Gabriela Garcia-Perez ’23, ’24 M.S.
Gabriela Garcia-Perez ’23, ’24 M.S.

Helping to create opportunities for young women such as Singh is a critical goal of LiveGirl’s. The organization aims to build confident and inclusive leaders, and it offers mentorship, leadership development, and career readiness to girls and young women while also advocating for policies and practices that create opportunities.

Working with students and universities, says Sheri West, LiveGirl’s founder and CEO, helps the organization stay current with educational trends and best practices, further ensuring that their programs will best serve students.

“Collaborating with colleges and universities and helping to create equitable opportunities for students is deeply meaningful to me on a personal level,” said West. “We have had a tremendously positive experience with University of New Haven students. The exchange of knowledge and ideas between LiveGirl and the University fosters a mutually beneficial relationship that enhances our ability to make a positive impact on the lives of college-aged women.”

‘We can do anything’

Ramyasri Sai Vemuri ’24 M.S. is a database intern with the Women’s Business Development Council, which supports small businesses and entrepreneurs.

An international student from India, she says this is her first experience working in the U.S., and she found LiveGirl’s professional development programs to be particularly helpful. She’s grateful to now have a mentor through the organization.

“I really like LiveGirl’s mentorship program, and I’ve gotten so much from it,” said Vemuri, a candidate in the University’s business analytics graduate program. “My mentor is concerned about my future, and she’s helped me to understand corporate culture. She’s also helped me with my resume and portfolio while helping me to appreciate how networking is so important. We can do anything through the contacts we have.”

A zoom meeting featuring several students on screen.
Clockwise from top left: Gabriela Garcia-Perez ’23, ’24 M.S., Kayá Francis ’24, Megan Ringuette ’24 MBA, and Kiana White ’23, ’24 M.S.
‘Bettering the lives of women and girls’

For Katiushka Ruiz ’24, the SHE WORKS program helped connect her to her internship in Connecticut Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz’s office. She has collaborated on Governor’s Council on Women and Girls reports, attended conferences and meetings, and even joined Lt. Gov. Bysiewicz on several tours. A criminal justice major, she says her work has helped her to learn about the political aspects of her field while enabling her to build important connections.

“The University’s collaboration with LiveGirl is important because it connects women and girls with the opportunity to work in fields that interest them and in which they may be underrepresented,” she said.

“The work I have been doing for my internship has everything to do with bettering the lives of women and girls in the state of Connecticut.,” Ruiz continued. “I have learned about all the programs and help they are providing to many underrepresented communities. I am hoping to pass on all the information I have learned to individuals who need extra help and guide them to these helpful resources.”

‘People who look like me are indeed capable’

Megan Ringuette ’24 MBA and Kayá Francis ’24 are also both completing internships with Boeing, as corporate audit and business finance interns, respectively. Ringuette collaborates with audit professionals to analyze financial documents and ensure that programs follow proper regulations and perform best practices. She also presented a project to department leaders that focused on how macroeconomic risks are impacting the internal audit function.

Kayá Francis ’24, a business finance intern with Boeing.
Kayá Francis ’24, a business finance intern with Boeing.

“My internship has been incredible so far in terms of learning, networking, and getting to experience working in a large corporation,” said Ringuette. “Even without prior audit experience, I have been able to learn a lot about all aspects of the business and how internal audit functions. Growing my analytical and critical thinking skills at Boeing has been an invaluable experience, and I am incredibly grateful for it.”

Francis has gained experience in cash management and collections, as well as in finance and accounting. Earlier this summer, Boeing brought her to Colorado where she got to meet many of her colleagues in-person. She says her internship has taught her how to work remotely, to effectively participate in meetings, and to network.

“I never thought I’d work with a big company such as Boeing, and this has piqued my curiosity,” said Francis, a business management major. “As a Black woman in the corporate world, I believe being in a position such as this shows that people who look like me are indeed capable. Being an example for others and showing what you can achieve may help set others on a similar path.”

‘We’ve created something lasting’
Megan Ringuette ’24 MBA is completing an internship with Boeing this summer.
Megan Ringuette ’24 MBA is completing an internship with Boeing this summer.

Garcia-Perez, who helped connect the University with LiveGirl, is now completing her second internship with Boeing this summer as a finance people-development intern. She’s excited that the collaboration has created so many rewarding experiences for her fellow Chargers, and she’s grateful for the new career opportunities her internships have illuminated for her.

“The biggest takeaway for me was when I started at Boeing, I had no experience with finance or aviation, and this helped me expand outside my network and create new career possibilities,” she said. “I’ve now expanded what I want to do. LiveGirl has so much to offer with its connections and network, and I’m so excited we’ve created something lasting.”