Jumping Right In

Juliano Estrada Donatelli ’21 is passionate about writing, community, and education. He’s spending his summer leveraging all three as the operations intern at Degrees of Change.

Founded by Puget Sound alumnus Timothy Herron ’94, M.A.T ’95, Degrees of Change is a Tacoma-based nonprofit that provides university scholarships and support to underrepresented students who aspire to become leaders in their home communities. As a first-generation college student who benefitted from his participation in the Department of Education’s Upward Bound Math and Science program, Juliano was drawn to Degrees of Change’s mission and the opportunity to help students in the Tacoma area access educational resources.

Juliano was connected with Degrees of Change through Puget Sound’s Summer Fellowship Internship (SFI) program. Led by the university’s experiential learning team, the SFI program supports students who have a passion for nonprofit or public sector work and want to gain experience in the field.

Like many SFI students, this internship marks Juliano’s first time working in a professional, off-campus office setting. Leading up to his first day, he remembers being nervous about the new space and about how he might be treated as a summer intern.

“I knew that, as an intern, you usually do work that no one wants to do,” he says. “But it's quickly grown to be more than that. I have connected with the people that I'm working with and am really enjoying the work I’m doing.”

“I have a great supervisor,” Juliano continues. “I was surprised at how nice and open she was, wanting me to really get connected with the people around, in the office.”

Juliano’s supervisor is Program Operations Manager Francis Chau. She says Juliano has quickly made a positive impact at the organization. “He dove right into our fast-paced environment and has found his niche,” Francis says. “Not only has he provided quality work, but he is someone that I can depend on.”

Back on campus, much of Juliano’s involvement is built around his passion for writing. He’s a reporter for the student newspaper and a writing advisor at the Center for Writing, Learning, and Teaching. That’s why Juliano, a Spanish major who transferred to Puget Sound from University of Pittsburgh, has gravitated toward projects at Degrees of Change that utilize his skills as a writer and editor.

“One of his tasks has been to help develop a new curriculum with one our program directors, as well as write out his observations into a facilitation guide,” says Francis. “He was given the freedom to run with this project however he would have liked and, by gosh, did he! It has exceeded expectations, and we could not be more pleased with how he has owned this project.”

Juliano’s experiences on campus have helped prepare him for success. “Working at the newspaper helped me to edit myself and learn how to look for certain mistakes,” he says. “Even though I have a long way to go, that experience definitely made me feel a little bit more relaxed when, at my internship, they ask if I can do things like edit and organize an entire email campaign.”

When Juliano’s internship concludes at the end of the summer he will depart Degrees of Change with new skills, new professional experiences, and a new cohort of local nonprofit leaders in his fan club.

“It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Juliano,” says Francis. “He is a fantastic asset to any team and, wherever his passion takes him, he will make a difference.”

 

By Zach Powers
Photo by Sy Bean
Published July 25, 2019