Meet the staff: new interns!

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They’re invaluable to what we do and how efficiently we can do it. We’re proud to have a new crew of interns! And we’d love for you to get to know them. Here’s a quick Q+A with each:

Mohini Patel

about Mohini:

Where are you from and why’d you come to NYC?

Clifton, New Jersey. I’m a senior at NYU, studying Psychology and Public Health/Policy.

And your favorite NYC restaurant or coffee shop is…

One favorite is kinda tough… how about a top five? Las Ramblas (to-die-for-sangria), St. Dymphna’s (adorable little pub), Kate’s Joint (scrumptious vegetarian), Café Mogador (best green tea), Ost Café (fantastic chai latte).

Your role at charity: water includes…

Answering technical support emails and acting as one of the many contacts for mycharity: water’s amazing fundraisers. I love interacting with innovative, passionate people who actively care about the world water crisis.

When you’re not working at charity: water, you…

Take piano lessons! I’m pretty awful, even just at playing scales. But when I’m not training to be a concert pianist, I’m enjoying my last semester at NYU and making plans for the future.

The best part about working at charity: water so far…

Aside from the obvious (the Jerry cans, the ping-pong table, the whiteboard walls), I’m completely thrown by the fantastic people that work at charity: water. Everyone is invested in their work and so happy to be there. It’s a really positive environment, I love being apart of it.

If you could pick any other non-profit for charity: water to work with, it’d be…

Global Water Brigades is a student-led, sustainable development organization that I’ve volunteered with for several years. Students work alongside community members in rural Honduras to build and restore gravity water systems. charity: water successfully orchestrates large-scale, international water projects. It could be a very interesting partnership that allows students to learn more about the scope of different water solutions in countries with varying climates, cultures, languages and political atmospheres.

Since we already work in Honduras, is there another part of the world you wish charity: water would work?

I’ve read that the Middle East is at a dire point in the water crisis, with 13 countries under the water poverty line. While I don’t fully understand the situation in this region (because it delves into political instability and religious conflicts), Yemen is the most water-insecure country and its capital will most likely run out of water within six years.

Stephen Yang

about Stephen:

Where are you from, why’d you come to NYC and why the interest in water?

I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. I’ve made lifelong friends there and will always consider Dallas to be my hometown. I came to NYC back in the fall of 2007 to attend school at Columbia University and experience the wonders of the Big Apple (including charity: water).

I started swimming when I was six years old, so without a doubt, my affinity for water began with swimming.

And your favorite NYC food is…

A Taiwanese food truck formerly known as NYC cravings, Bian Dong does more than a good job of making my stomach feel all warm and fuzzy.

Your role at charity: water mostly means…

Working with Jonna and Christy to coordinate our water programs. This includes working with our implementing partners on the ground to communicate the progress of the water projects to our cherished donors that have made these projects possible.

Any surprises since you came on?

What I didn’t realize was just how complex it is to manage and track water projects from the moment the money is donated to when the well is built and implemented within the community. In addition, the sustainability of the well and sanitation practices are just as important as building the well in the first place.

When you’re not working at charity: water, you…

Find a body of water to swim in whether it be the swimming pool at Columbia or the Hudson River.

What’s something you’ve learned as a charity: water insider that you wish more people knew about the org?

How passionate and hardworking the people behind the scenes are. charity: water makes it easier than pie to learn about and help the people who don’t have access to clean drinking water, but what people don’t realize sometimes is the amount of work and dedication that is put in by the staff at charity: water and the partners on the ground to build the projects and provide education to local communities.

Where do you wish charity: water would expand work to?

Landlocked Niger, due to the extreme lack of clean drinking water and inadequate sanitation.

Maddy McCarthy

about Maddy:

Where are you from and why’d you come to NYC?

I’m from a small town in Massachusetts, but spent a lot of time growing up in NYC, so I had the best of both worlds, country and city. I lived in Sydney, Australia, for a year, then came back to NYC to find a job.

And your favorite NYC restaurant is…

My friends and I try to go to a new restaurant at least once a week (and in NYC, there’s never a shortage of places to try). Recent places have included Ditch Plains and Schiller’s Liquor.

Your role at charity: water includes…

The Sponsor a Water Project program and any other projects relating to donors the development team needs. I also love to help out at the events, like charity: ball.

Any surprises since you came on?

I didn’t think I would get the chance to have as much ownership over a project as I’ve had. A lot of internships are more administrative and less hands on, but charity: water has given me a chance to take control over a significant area and have independence with it.

When you’re not working at charity: water, you…

I haven’t been in NYC in a long time, so I am having fun reacquainting myself with areas I haven’t spent much time in, or exploring areas I haven’t been to at all. In the winter, I usually hibernate with a movie, couch and friends.

What’s your favorite thing about working at charity: water?

People’s enthusiasm for all things charity: water is pretty infectious. Hearing how a simple thank you letter to a donor with pictures from the field made their day — it makes you remember what a great organization charity: water is. Beer and pizza at the end of the week isn’t too bad either.

Where do you wish charity: water would expand work to?

I’ve spent a lot of time in Southeast Asia, so I would love to see more projects there, like expanding our current program in Cambodia and working in other countries nearby.

Trisha Dalal

about Trisha:

What’s your backstory and why’d you come to NYC?

Maryland is my birthplace but my ethnic background bears as much of an influence on me as does my US passport. I’ve visited India a dozen times, speak Bengali and English at home, and even first got involved in philanthropy (regarding education) there.

I literally moved to NYC for charity: water! When I stumbled across a friend of a friend’s mycharity: water birthday campaign, charity: water’s commitment to the 100% model piqued my interest. I was impressed by the public-facing image of the charity, and really wanted to learn this in the non-profit sector.

Your role at charity: water includes…

Helping manage the donor reporting systems and budget the quarterly proposals with implementing partners. As an intern last semester, I loved being heavily involved in these systems and learning the charity: water 100% business model. This semester, I’m one of three Water Programs interns -– and we certainly don’t bring coffee, run errands, etc., which is a testament to how not-spoiled the staff is (to us)! Rather, we get spoiled with treats in the office and exposure to charity: water projects, campaigns and events.

And your favorite NYC restaurant or coffee shop is…

Jacques Torres. Amazing chocolatiere a block away, whom all of us interns love for desserts!

Your favorite thing about working at charity: water so far?

charity: water’s corporate philanthropy. Yesterday, someone on staff joked about me working at a charity, with my water bottle living on Wall Street (bearing the Goldman logo). charity: water does an amazing job bridging the two; it’s fantastic how we can tie the developed world to the developing world.

So many of the world’s issues are interrelated, and solutions can be designed as such… I wish we could take on “charity: education” too, and reinvent charity in that sector, at some point down the line.

As a charity: water insider, what’s something you wish more people knew about the org?

(1) We really do ensure 100% public donations go to water projects. And (2), almost everything about charity: water loops in more than one department, so anything and everything results from a lot of cross-departmental efforts. Counterintuitive to that, each individual staff member bears sole responsibilities. So insight to their background reflects a lot of how they deliver to the organization.

Do you wish charity: water could take on anything else that we don’t yet do?

I wish we could take on “charity: education” too, and reinvent charity in that sector, at some point down the line. Not as an implementing partner, but as another branch with which our programs could work in cohesion. So many of the world’s issues are interrelated, and solutions can be designed and implemented as such. For starters, we already fund special water projects at schools.

Where do you wish charity: water would expand work?

Nepal — and we’re already working there! When Eric Stowe of A Child’s Right came to our office to present the urban water problem and “clean vs. clear” water programs, it was incredibly captivating. The filtration programs are addressing an issue beyond the scope of the conventional image of the water sector drilling new wells. So I hope charity: water furthers work in Nepal with filtration systems.

Alicia Kim

about Alicia:

Where are you from and why’d you come to NYC?

Cupertino, CA (the home of Apple). I’m a senior at NYU, studying Media, Culture and Communication (the same department that Scott Harrison was in).

And your favorite NYC restaurant or coffee shop is…

Jivamutkea Café (part of the Jivamukti Yoga studio) in Union Square. They have great organic, vegetarian and vegan options and have a relaxing vibe.

Your role at charity: water includes…

working with Merry and Paull to support our amazing fundraisers on mycharity: water. I also help come up with ideas on expanding charity: water’s individual campaign outreach and improving the fundraising experience.

When you’re not working at charity: water (those few precious hours), you…

Also intern at Food Network in the Ad Sales and Marketing department and I’m the “Food for Thought” explorations floor Resident Assistant for an NYU Residence Hall — food is my other passion. I also try to catch a yoga class whenever I have some free time or read in Madison Square Park (when it is not freezing outside).

Your fave thing about working at charity: water so far…

I love hearing all the amazing fundraising stories. One of my favorite things is opening an email that updates me on how a current campaign is coming along. It’s wonderful to hear how responsive people are in donating to charity: water.

What’s something you’ve learned as a charity: water insider that you wish more people knew about us?

I wish more people knew how sustainable charity: water’s projects are — the specific country’s partners and local communities are heavily involved in the process of not only implementing but also maintaining the water project so that it will last for future generations.

If you could pick one country for charity: water to expand work to, what would it be?

Nicaragua — I volunteered there for eight weeks when I was in high school. My host community and family did not have any running water but heavily depended on water since their main income came from their farms.

Nazia Salam

about Nazia:

Where are you from, how is that a part of you and why’d you come to NYC?

I’m from Weston (in South Florida) and my family’s originally from India. My last name means peace in Arabic and that’s a virtue I always carry with me. After stalking charity: water for this opportunity, I made the decision to move to the city basically overnight. It just so happens that my two best friends already lived here so it worked out quite well, I’d say.

And your favorite NYC restaurant is…

Thunder Jackson’s. After two months exploring almost every New York borough, I pick the place practically underneath my apartment. Great veggie burger and dirty fries.

Your role at charity: water includes…

Working in the development team with Erica and Emily. A large part of what I do is communicate with donors who are a part of our monthly giving program.

When you’re not working at charity: water (those few precious hours), you…

Since I’m brand new to NYC, I explore as much as I can. It’s been a little difficult in the frigid weather but I’ve managed to have some pretty great times playing in the city (i.e. making a snowman for the first time in Central Park).

Your fave moment so far at charity: water was…

I loved getting texts from friends and family when President Obama mentioned charity: water. Or, when I told my roommate that charity: water was mentioned on her favorite talk show (Ellen)!

What’s something you’ve learned as a charity: water insider that you wish more people knew about us?

Fluidity and transparency are really important to the staff. You can see this in the group dynamic and then see its effect in the positive outcome of charity: water’s projects.

Fluidity and transparency are really important to the staff.
You can see this in the group dynamic.

If you could pick any other non-profit for charity: water to work with, it’d be…

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). I’ve always had a strong global health background and passion. I really admire the people who are apart of this organization and the work they do.

Where do you wish charity: water would expand work to?

Sudan. I know it’s a difficult place to offer aid but nothing’s unreachable for charity: water. No country should have that many crises and I think as this organization and others like it grow and develop, we can definitely work on a larger level for change.

Wendy Liu

about Wendy:

Where are you from? And tell us the story about your name…

Connecticut. When I moved to the US from Taiwan, I needed a new English name. At that time, my favorite Disney movie was Peter Pan because I wanted to fly and stay young forever like the characters! And that’s how I ended up with my name.

What brought you to NYC?

I’m also a senior at NYU studying finance and international business.

And your favorite NYC food is…

Red Mango.

Your role at charity: water includes…

I’m interning for the Water Programs Department, along with Trisha and Stephen. We work on a variety of different projects, mostly to keep charity: water up on donor reporting and data management.

What do you like about working at charity: water so far?

The people here are really sincere and very nice. They have a great sense of humor.

When you’re not working at charity: water, you…

Love playing ice hockey and Xbox Kinect.

Want to intern for charity: water, too? Keep on eye out — we bring interns on year-round. Follow us on Twitter and keep an eye on available intern spots here >

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