PENCIL Program Turns Classroom Learnings into Hands-On Experience

This year, L+M’s volunteer partnership with PENCIL extended beyond the classroom and into our office (remotely, of course) for an internship opportunity. Elian Gomez, who was one of the L+M mentees from the 2019-2020 Murray Hill Academy/PENCIL cohort, joined our Legal and Insurance team as an intern to take some of what he’d learned during the 10-month PENCIL program and apply it in practice.

We sat down with Elian to learn more about what he enjoyed about his internship and how being a remote intern has benefited his experience

Q. How did you learn about the L+M Summer Internship program?
A. I took part in the PENCIL program at my high school, and Jeff Feldman (L+M’s Co-General Counsel) was my mentor. During the height of the pandemic, Jeff kept in touch, was really encouraging, and gave me some great advice. He encouraged me to apply for the internship and is encouraging me to pursue law, which I am seriously considering!

Q. What did you work on during your internship?
I worked a lot with the Legal and Insurance teams and supported them on a variety of tasks, including lease reviews, claims, and certificate management. Since we were all working remotely, the team has a daily call to catch up on the status of projects, etc. and that was great to be a part of because it was an informative learning experience.

There is a lot that goes into the real estate industry, and what I mean by that is that it is more than just building buildings. I am a political science major, and when I learned about the legal aspects of the business, it piqued my interest.

Q. What was the best part of your L+M internship?
A. I got a lot of practical knowledge about real estate law and insurance, but the team also taught me not to be afraid to accomplish your goals. Life is full of obstacles but, with a great attitude and professionalism, all goals can be achieved.

Q. Can you tell us a little about participating in a remote internship?
A. I think a remote internship presents a unique opportunity for my class. We are the first generation of students to get a job and do that job entirely from home. By working outside of the traditional structure, we are showing that we are resilient and adaptable.

Q. What advice would you give to future interns?
A. Seize the opportunity! I was a little nervous when I was assigned to the Legal and Insurance team, but it was an amazing learning opportunity, and I grabbed on with both hands. Also, be cooperative and listen, the Legal and Insurance group had a lot to offer, and I was glad to be part of their team for a while.

PENCIL is an NYC-based nonprofit that connects public school students to working professionals who mentor and guide them as they complete projects. The 2019-2020 program with Murray Hill Academy was developed and implemented by L+M/C+C staff members. They hosted monthly sessions throughout the school year, where students learned the ins and outs of real estate development, construction, and property management. Additionally, our staff members who volunteered to mentor the students shared their insights and experiences in the industry.

We are continuing our partnership with PENCIL for the second year, with the next cohort of high-school students who started last month.

November 2020
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