Motivated by Creative Thinking: An Interview with Caitlin Smith


From October through December 2019, Caitlin Smith interned at CIANA in our Development department. She helped with our fundraising campaigns and political outreach, and also helped develop connections within the broader community. Caitlin spoke with our VISTA, Micah Dicker, about her time at CIANA.

Micah Dicker: How did you decide to intern here at CIANA?

Caitlin Smith: Being out of college and thinking about what’s next, I guess I was considering how I want to utilize my education. And my education was a basis on immigration, global connections, and writing.

MD: What kinds of things did you do in regards to immigration in college?

CS: Not a lot of actual activity was done, but it was a lot of education that I found useful.

MD: How did you find CIANA?

CS: A lot of Internet searching. Everything is done on the Internet.

MD: What about CIANA’s mission drew you to it?

CS: I think I appreciated the better euphemisms when referring to immigrants as “new Americans” rather than immigrants, because there’s so much propaganda revolving around the conversation nowadays, especially with false news and false information, and just prejudice existing. I like the term “new American” and building the bridges better. We don’t really have a great immigration system, as many people in this world know. It’s atrocious; based on where you’re from, you’re already in legal prejudice on the timeline you have to get into this country legally. It’s ridiculous.

MD: Why did you want to be involved with development?

CS: I think because I have a pretty active mind. When I used to study for tests, I would make things with the information, because that’s how I learned. I wasn’t verbal, I wasn’t oral; I needed to use the information. And I think by using the information we have available here and making something that could be useful to other people and that could help other people, that’s really where I’m best suited.

MD: What kind of an impact would you like to leave on CIANA and also on the immigrant communities we serve? CS: I don’t know what impact I will leave on the immigrant communities, but at CIANA I would like to leave some sort of useful information, something I’ve learned or something I’ve been able to create that helps the organization or the community at large.

MD: What has been your favorite activity/project/assignment that you’ve worked on during your time at CIANA?

CS: I think the Resources page has been the most interesting. We’re going to add, at some point, a Resources page to the [CIANA] website, so it will have all these lists, based on your area, so people can find what they need closer to them if they can’t make it all the way to Queens, so they can find it in the Bronx or Brooklyn, and they can find food pantries, job hunts, other organizations with legal aid.

MD: Since your time here at CIANA is winding down, what are some of your long-term aspirations after you leave?

CS: My long-term aspirations? I’m still figuring it out as I go!

We’d like to thank Caitlin for all the hard work she has done for CIANA, and we wish her luck in all her future endeavors.

#volunteer #career