This summer we were very happy to be joined by eight wonderful interns who made an invaluable contribution to our research and development teams. Before they head into the next academic year they shared with us their favorite parks of working at NY4P, and how they're planning to use it in the next stage of their academic path.
Ashley is from Katonah, New York but lives and attends school at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She a rising junior studying Environment and Health. For Ashley, the most exciting part of working at NY4P is discovering new parts of New York City and meeting new people all while advocating for equal access to urban green and open spaces. Since Ashley hopes to go into the health and sustainability of cities, this internship is giving her a new perspective on the topic. In Ashley’s hometown she enjoys hiking and exploring the parks around her, and prior to this internship she was a county park employee and educator. Ashley’s Dream Park would be filled with community art projects, colorful flowers and large community gardens as well as hammocks hanging from all the trees so people can take naps and relax.
Ebelin Garcia, a Bushwick, Brooklyn native, is currently a sophomore at the City College of New York. Although undeclared, she is strongly considering majoring in sociology with a concentration in urban issues, politics and, policy. As a field survey intern, Ebelin utilizes lot maps and park reflection forms to survey her main study area: Bushwick, its parks, open spaces, vacant lots and communities. She finds that the most exciting aspect about her work at NY4P is the ability to explore her neighborhood more in its entirety and learning more about her community. Ebelin’s fieldwork at NY4P is extending her knowledge about the city’s neighborhoods and communities and their constant changing state, helping her towards future goals of providing more affordable housing to low-income communities in the city. Her dream park is a park with a view, a pier walking distance from her home to spare a subway ride, where there’s always fun activities and programs for anyone to participate in.
Gilmand Miruku is a lifelong resident of Staten Island, and a sophomore at City College of New York. As NY4P's development intern he is responsible for researching prospective donors, foundations, and corporations. Working for NY4P allows Gilmand to achieve his goal of setting up a foundation of social service. He likes long walks at Clove Lakes Park in Staten Island. His dream park would have lots of trees and greenery with one basketball court in the middle of it.
Originally from St. Paul, Minnesota, Jessica currently resides in Morningside Heights in Manhattan. She is a current second year graduate student at Columbia, getting her Masters of Public Health in Environmental Health Sciences with a certificate in Climate Health. At New Yorkers for Parks she assists in leading our field team of interns on their open space surveys. This summer she is helping complete surveys of the Bay Street Corridor, Bushwick, and Long Island City. Jessica finds the most exciting part of her position to be being able to explore new neighborhoods in New York City and be in parks every day. In the future she plans to bring the lessons learned about advocacy and leadership from this internship into her career. Jessica frequently runs through Riverside Park, mostly for the Pomeranian sightings. Her dream park is actually her home park in St. Paul, which is along the Mississippi river. The park has a running trail as well as cliffs that give the best view of the sunset.
Justin Helmkamp is a Maplewood, NJ native currently living in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Justin recently graduated from New York University with a degree in Sociology and Metropolitan Studies, and is planning to pursue a graduate degree in Urban Planning at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service in the coming year. As a Field Survey Intern, Justin is responsible for visiting specific neighborhoods, observing the elements that make up the streets and parks, and studying the way in which spaces are used by locals and residents. Justin is excited about his research at New Yorkers for Parks for the opportunity to explore different New York City neighborhoods, to participate in advocacy and civic engagement, and to collect information that will be used to improve NYC parks. Justin’s work at NY4P provides exposure to NYC neighborhoods and field research, and will aid him towards his goal of working as an urban planner with a focus on open spaces and pedestrian-friendly streetscape designs. In his free-time Justin enjoys skateboarding and exploring the city. As an avid skateboarder Justin’s dream park would contain a skateboard park with obstacles designed for people of all ages and skill levels.
Lauren Jimenez is a New York native currently residing in Glendale, Queens entering her final semester as a senior at the City College of New York. She is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Urban Sociology and a minor in Cultural Anthropology. Wanting to acquire necessary experience to supplement what she’s learned in her courses as well as satiate her desire for venturing all over New York, she joined the NY4P team as an intern. Joining the NY4P team has helped Lauren hone her skills in community engagement, advocacy and finding her way around a map. One of her favorite activities to do in parks is to take her two dogs to Forest Hills Park and take pictures of the beautiful scenery. Lauren’s dream park would have a massive botanical garden as well as an area for kayaking.
Wilfrido Batista was born and raised in Hamilton Heights, Harlem. He currently is going into his sophomore year at Pitzer College intending to major in Molecular Biology. Wilfrido is surveying Long Island City, Queens to calculate the amount of open and accessible spaces in the neighborhood that is currently being rezoned by the city. The most exciting part of the work for Wilfrido is discovering beautiful new green spaces where he can read and bookshops in a neighborhood he never explored before. Wilfrido passion lies in utilizing/making tools to give to marginalized communities so they can better the quality of life of their environment. Wilfrido religiously bikes the Hudson River trail while enjoying the beautiful view. His dream park would be, “a park by the waterfront like Riverbank Park but a vast forest with Legend of Zelda theme. Where you can venture off as the Hero of Time yourself.”