My first week – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

My first week

Hi everyone, this is Chen writing under the big double rainbow (cr. to Caitlin who first spotted it)! I am planning to work in urban planning and policy, so Detroit definitely provides an opportunity to engage with these topics in a real-world context. I am working with ProsperUs, a micro-lending organization, this summer. They are in the process of updating lending data and assessing the impact of their lending and training services provided to local entrepreneurs. I am glad it allows me to use my training in data analytics and storytelling to advance the organization’s goals. So far, I am most impressed by the organization culture and the interconnected nature in community economic development. Many of my supervisors have very different career goals while they were in college and diverse work experiences (corporate or non-profit), but they were drawn together by the common passion for community service. Some of them are also practicing their own business ideas outside their full-time work here, which offers them another channel to engage with the community and better empathize with their clients. I am also excited to see how community orgs are pollinating each other, not only through the horizontal flow of staffers but also the collaboration spirit. Our office is a great example: ProsperUs shares the workspace with many other like-minded groups and they organize routine community events to learn from each other and the midtown neighborhood. While my suitemate (buraq) and my orgs serve and specialize in very different areas, they are still partnering with each other to maximize their impacts. Community economic development entails many subfields, including housing, entrepreneurship, social services and etc. I hope at the end of this internship, I could really get exposed to as many of them as possible and learn more about entrepreneurship as a non-Ross student.

2 thoughts on “My first week”

  1. Wow, Chen! I’m super excited to hear how you see such potential for you within your site. It’s also cool to hear how you want to diversify your future possibilities by gaining entrepreneurial expertise from those around you who are expanding their business outreach in various ways. While business definitely isn’t for me, I hope you get to see first-hand how these operations are developed and managed (at least from the data perspective). Good luck with everything in the upcoming weeks!

  2. Hi Chen!
    I really liked your discussion about the way organizations are influenced by each other, both by collaboration, and by having people who are members of more than one group. I’ve gotten to see some of that already. My site is one nonprofit in a big web of organizations. It is the spin-off project of other projects, and it has child projects of its own. It’s led to the meeting of people and ideas far more expansive than what anyone expected. It’s cool to see that that’s happening in other places, too. I hope you’re able to learn a lot this summer!

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