Summer Superstars!

Published by Program Manager on

Summer Superstars!

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It’s summer in central Texas:  hot, humid, sunny one minute, rainy the next. The crepe myrtles are blooming gloriously, the mosquitoes are buzzing, and the grass keeps growing so fast it’s hard to keep up with it.  After a long period of pandemic-related restrictions (including no spring break for folks at Texas A&M), everyone who can steal away for a few hours, a few days or even longer seems to have left town or to be planning to do so soon. 

But life at BIIN goes on, thanks in no small part to a crew of devoted interns, volunteers and part-time staff, who are working through the summer to keep various parts of the BIIN-o-sphere spinning!  While we are still operating remotely, the presence and engagement of these talented individuals has brought renewed energy to the BIIN programs and initiatives that they support. As a way of recognizing these folks, we wanted to pull back the curtain on the valuable work they are doing, with these brief portraits of “BIIN’s summer superstars!”  We hope you’ll enjoy connecting faces to names, hearing about their work and discoveries, and appreciate their tips on making the most of the Texas summer!

Cate Stackhouse

Summer Intern (for volunteer management, grants and fundraising)

Working remotely from Brenham, Texas (but originally from Tacoma, Washington)
Enjoys cooking, baking, reading, learning to grill

Notes and quotes from Cate:

A lot of the work I’ve been doing so far is volunteer management focused. I’ve worked on various job descriptions and manuals, and I’ve recruited volunteers for specific programs and positions. I’ve also spent a lot of time researching and learning about donor, grant, volunteer, and client management systems that BIIN might use moving forward. I’ve worked on several fundraising campaigns and plans, which has given me the chance to collaborate with other interns and volunteers.

I’ve also done a lot of grant research and planning, such as creating an annual grant writing plan and a grant templates document, which has been challenging, yet rewarding. Currently, I am working on a few grants for BIIN that will be submitted later in July. These are the first grants that I’ve ever worked on, so it’s been a rewarding learning experience so far, and my fingers are crossed for BIIN to win the grants!

I was surprised by the number of volunteers BIIN has, and the extent that programs are volunteer-led and managed. It’s incredible how strong of a volunteer base BIIN has built over the years. It truly shows how important the work is that BIIN is doing for the local immigrant community, and that community members respect that work and want to be a part of it. 

I’ve really enjoyed my experience with BIIN so far. I’ve loved learning about all of BIIN’s programs, and working with BIIN’s volunteers, committees, and staff. 

At summer’s end, I’ll be starting my second year as a Master of International Affairs candidate at the Bush School at Texas A&M within the international development and economic policy track.

Yovanka Gonzalez

Summer Intern (for marketing)

Working remotely from New Caney, Texas

Enjoys hanging out with family and friends, watching movies, playing video games

Notes and quotes from Yovanka:

So far, I have been mostly working on “immigrant stories” and other posts for Instagram and Facebook, and the Fourth of July fundraiser, which is raising money for citizenship and English classes. It has been really fun to create social media posts, while working for such great causes.

I have been really impressed by the immense dedication that all of the staff, volunteers and interns have for local immigrants.  It makes me feel full of joy to see people be so passionate about helping others. 

When summer ends, I will be starting my senior year at TAMU studying Business Management Consulting

Please show your love and support to BIIN’s amazing staff and volunteers who dedicate their time to make our country a better place and to everyone who aids those who make our communities beautiful and diverse

Mollie Collins-Fitzpatrick

Marketing Volunteer

Working remotely from College Station, Texas

Creative director by day for a portfolio of e-commerce brands

Enjoys being outside at the pool, beating her husband at board games, writing and reading, eating really good food, and traveling as much as possible

Notes and quotes from Mollie:

I absolutely love working with our marketing interns to tell the stories of BIIN clients on our social channels. It’s been challenging this past year to create content and share stories with remote classes, but our awesome team has stepped up to the challenge and taken photos during Zoom classes, and even conducted remote interviews. I’m super proud to get to learn more about the non-profit side of marketing with an amazing group of people! 

I’m very excited to help plan the marketing around some *GULP* inperson events this upcoming fall!  I’m also really looking forward to spending time in person with everyone in the office as we collaborate together! 

I was surprised during the pandemic just how few COVID resources there were available in Spanish for our neighbors. That was what first drew me to BIIN and made me want to volunteer — seeing how BIIN saw a gap and stepped right in to provide the most accurate and relevant resources to our community, not just for some but for all!

I am so proud to get to be a part of the work that goes on at BIIN each and every day. I didn’t know anyone when we moved to College Station in 2020 and the BIIN community is why I feel like this is now a place I can call “home!”

Adriana Carolina Stowe

Website and database manager

Working remotely from Conroe, Texas

Enjoys reading, writing (fictional stories, poetry), spending time with her husband and their three dogs, and going to the beach when she can

Notes and quotes from Adriana:

On top of communicating with our donors and keeping the website up to date, I have been put in charge of checking the office phone remotely and calling clients back. I am also coordinating IRA cases and making sure they get assigned to appropriate volunteers.

So far, I have loved coordinating IRA cases. I love connecting with the community, and this is one way in which I can do so from home. It has been rewarding to direct callers to people or other resources that will help them. I get to hear the relief in their voice when I tell them I am passing the case over to an IRA volunteer or when I give them some initial guidance on what they can do about their particular situation. I also loved helping create a digital IRA intake form (thanks to volunteer Darci Kole!). As someone who started with BIIN when the organization had an outdated website, seeing our technology progress for the benefit of the community, especially during this pandemic, has been amazing. 

I am currently working on updating the IRA resource referral list. It had not been fully updated since August of 2019, so it is interesting to see how much has changed in two years around the community. 

I am impressed by the teamwork and responsiveness that characterizes BIIN. For example, when the pandemic hit, BIIN responded right away, focusing on the community’s needs.  During this time, I have been able to post many responses, updates and changes to the website, format and send out newsletters, and work with others to plan better ways to serve the community. Everyone in this organization shows a clear passion for serving the community, and it is inspiring to see. 

To learn more about our other team of “summer superstars,” the interns and volunteers who are working with the Conversational English program, click here.  

Superstar Tips for making the most of a Texas summer:

Categories: Faces of BIIN