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Growing Community Since 2002: The Nikkei Community Internship Program - Class 11 - Summer 2012


Elena Inamine - The J. Morey Company - Southern California

Who are you?
My name is Elena Inamine. I'm a fourth-generation Japanese American from the Santa Clarita Valley. I currently attend the University of Southern California and have so much Trojan pride running through my veins, it's kind of ridiculous. I have a passion for people and community and enjoy engaging with others who are passionate and enthusiastic.

Where you interning at?
I'm interning at The J. Morey Company in LA's Little Tokyo.

Who are your supervisors?
My supervisors are J.(osh) Morey and Kevin Fukuyama, who are the Account Executive and Account Manager at the LA branch [in Little Tokyo].

What have you been working on over the past few weeks at the J. Morey Company?
The first half of my internship focused on the Japanese American National Museum's Young Professional Network. I developed a Facebook page and website for the program and started contacting local university's Nikkei Student Unions to increase active membership of recent college graduates.

The second half of my internship has been focused more on completing tasks to help out Kevin and Josh and the J. Morey Company. I've done some research on pesticides and other fun stuff like that for their clientele and Yelp'd restaurants in the Southern California area. Throughout my internship, I have also read through and presented on "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" and completed the Strengths Finders 2.0.

Any memorable experiences during your time with J. Morey specifically, or the NCI program in general?
It's hard to pick just a few specific memorable events to elaborate on. I guess one of the more memorably traumatizing experiences happened in a parking garage. Josh was going to swipe his card to let me out of the garage, but I didn't realize he was going to come back to swipe me out after he drove through it. So, after he swiped it the first time and drove through, I decided to rush under the arm at the exit to try to fit two cars through. Luckily I made it without getting hit, but I've definitely learned my lesson.

Intern-wise, my favorite memories were made at that one public school on the West Side [UCLA] during one of our intern days. Though I don't enjoy being surrounded by people who support baby bears [bruins] as a mascot, I really enjoyed exploring the campus with my fellow interns, scavenging the grounds for coffee, and taking pictures in front of libraries.

Thoughts on the NCI program as a whole? Don't hold back.
Oh man, NCI provided me with one of the best summers of my life. I've loved being surrounded by these peers who have passion and inspire me to be passionate as well. Intern days were definitely my favorite days of the week. Even though they were painfully early, painfully long, and sometimes painfully painful, spending those hours and hours with the other interns somehow made them so much more enjoyable. I so cherish the friendships I made with each of the interns and look forward to seeing them around the LT and JA and API community for years to come.

Any advice for future NCI interns?
First and foremost, sit back and realize what a blessing it is to have this opportunity to be an NCI intern. You will meet people who care about things that you didn't even know existed and people who have the drive to make their dreams come true. Be open to everything you hear. Ask questions at site visits. Get to know the other interns. Sacrifice time and resources for them--help them out when they need volunteers or just support. Be willing to just stand in a parking lot with the interns until 10:30pm on a workday to just talk about life and internships and love. Participate in workshops and outrageous ice breakers. Don't assume you know everything just because you're a JA or because you've been in every youth leadership program in LT. You don't know the definition of race. Take pictures. Take videos. Document everything--even inanimate objects, e.g., cracked eggs. Hang out after intern days. Get dinner. Spend all $2,000 of your educational [scholarship] on dinner or intern lunch days or bowling. But most importantly, enjoy every minute. Get to know and love everyone you're with and your experience will be exponentially more enjoyable. Oh, and have a night where you all tell stories from high school.

Based on this original

Elena Inamine
uploaded by llan
Elena Inamine. Photo taken August 6, 2012. Photo courtesy of Lucy Truong. More »

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