Improving Professional Skills in High School

Emani Brooks, a High School Internship Program alum, shares how she improved her creativity and other professional skills during her internship


Emani Brooks is an Urban Alliance alumnus from the Greater DC Region. She was also named the 2022 Intern of the Year for her region. Emani interned with Power To Decide, gaining professional skills, and stepping outside of her comfort zone to find out what she really likes. Emani attends Bowie State University, in Maryland, where she studies Business Administration.

The following is an excerpt from our conversation with Emani about her internship experience. 

Emani Brooks on campus at Bowie State University
Emani Brooks on campus at Bowie State University

What are you passionate about?

I am very passionate about a lot of things, but family and giving back are two things I value every chance I get. I look forward to spending time with my family and doing things that can bring us together. Giving back is something that I’m also passionate about because you never know what someone may be going through, and you could be helping someone or even saving their life by just giving back. I think it is important for everyone to give back and spend time with their family because you never know what could happen, and you never know what blessings may come your way because you have decided to help someone else. 

What did you learn during your internship?

My internship really helped instill organization, effective time management, and creative ideas that I can use in the future for any job or internship. 

Some key strengths and skills I can bring to my next work experience are organizational skills, effective time management, and creative ideas. Throughout my internship, I always spoke up about any ideas I had and came up with solutions to fix any problems that we may have faced. I also never found myself being behind or late for projects that needed to be completed by certain deadlines. I was always able to make sure any work I completed was neat and kept in organized files that were easy to find for myself and my mentors. 

Tell us about a situation where you had to go above and beyond?

During the internship [Power To Decide] I began to write a blog for our website. My mentor’s boss wanted to publish my piece in Teen Vogue. The process was like no other. I had to really learn how to express myself in a respectful way. My mentor, her boss and I spent weeks working on my blog so that I could feel like it sounded like my voice. Even though the blog was not published, I was very proud of myself for presenting the idea. I worked very hard and many late nights to complete a piece of work that I am passionate about, that I still hope gets published one day. 

I really commended myself because I never really spoke up about things until I started my internship with Urban Alliance. I really think I learned a different level of professionalism that day. 

Emani Brooks speaking at the 2023 National Mentoring Summit hosted by MENTOR.
Emani Brooks speaking at the 2023 National Mentoring Summit hosted by MENTOR.

In your opinion, why is Urban Alliance important?

Urban Alliance is important to me because they’ve taught me things that I need to know to help me be successful in the real world. There are things that I still would not know about if it were not for Urban Alliance. For example, learning about debt, student loans, and financial planning has helped me figure out what I want to do now so that I won’t have to struggle later.  

Urban Alliance is extremely important to my community because many opportunities don’t come to people who look like me or live in my area. I can tell that Urban Alliance really cares and wants the best for each and every one of us, no matter where we come from. Once a part of Urban Alliance, it feels more like family. 

What have you learned about yourself during the internship?

I did not know that I actually like to write. When I first met with my mentor, and she told me that I had to write blogs that were going to get published, I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it. When I started to write my second blog, something felt different, and I grew excited to write more. My mentor also gave me total creative control on what I wanted to write, so everything I wrote about was something that I could enjoy writing about. 

I also learned I’m very good at communicating, especially during my internship. I would communicate directly with my mentors who were very understanding if I couldn’t make it to work or would be late to a meeting. I really think communication is a vital aspect at any job.  

I am glad that I gained this skill so that I can say with confidence that I am good at communication.