Through Summer Internships, ELI Students Get Down To Business
Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, it was still a busy summer for many at Hollins. The university’s Entrepreneurial Learning Institute (ELI) completed its first-ever summer internship program, which offered four Hollins students unique opportunities to work with local Roanoke businesses and startups, nationally respected entrepreneurs, and even a Hollins alumna.
Zahin Mahbuba ’23 interned with a new startup called Learning Pods that, in response to COVID’s impact on educational institutions, provides safe and high-quality learning spaces for small groups (or “pods”) of elementary-level children at home or in the backyard. During this internship, Mahbuba collaborated with Stacey Seltzer, a respected New York entrepreneur and one of Learning Pods’ advisors. Seltzer is also co-founder of the Hudson Lab School, which was featured in The New York Times this summer for its own learning pod offerings. “I met Stacey through the Entrepreneurship class (BUS 330) at Hollins,” recalled Mahbuba. “The people that I had the opportunity to work with were such an inspiration. They made me feel so welcome and valued all of my ideas and contributions. I think what I loved the most was how they trusted me with the work and let me produce results.”
Even though her internship was entirely online, Mahbuba said that she learned a lot from her work: contacting families, scheduling times for them to meet with Learning Pod, and building teachers’ profiles for new teaching positions. “I got to experience what it takes to build an educational system during unprecedented times,” said Mahbuba. “This [internship] helped better my professionalism as I got to work with high caliber individuals who are global innovators and entrepreneurs.”
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