Student Spotlight: Kimberly O'Keeffe, 3rd Year, Urban and Environmental Planning Major, Architectural History Minor

Career Administrator


This was my first internship and I was a teaching assistant and residential adviser for the High School Summer Program and Columbia University. It was a lot of diverse work with great people which was an amazing way to spend a summer. We were RAs 24/7 and worked specific jobs during the day. For the first session I was a teaching assistant and for the second session I worked in the office. It was great to TA for a class in my major and to meet with urban studies educators in New York City. We lead trips for our kids and got to explore a lot of the city while doing so. All of the interns were a community of college students so spending a summer around other motivated students my age made my first internship/job less daunting.

How did you find out about the Columbia University summer program?

I knew I wanted to work with kids this summer but wanted a change from the basic summer camp job I was working previously. I applied for similar programs at schools around the country and decided to go to Columbia because I've always wanted to spend a summer in the city. It was a great balance because I did get to work with kids as I had amazing residents but I also had the chance to TA for a class in my major, making this position the best of both worlds.

What was the interview process like?

It was a two step process. The first step was filling out the application on the programs website. After that if you moved onto the next round you would be contacted for an interview. Since I was at school during this time my interview was on Skype but other more local applicants were able to go to Columbia's campus and interview in person.

What are your future internship plans? 

This summer I am returning back to Columbia part time which means I will only be an RA during the evening. This gives me the chance to have an internship during the day and a place to live in the City at night. It's going to be a lot of work having two jobs but I'm really looking forward to gaining more experience in my field of study, what ever that will end up being!