Katalina Mendoza spent most of her summer getting a taste of the working world. The senior worked two summer internships simultaneously, met San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and began preparing to become the first in her family to attend college.
“This summer showed me that hard work pays off and I was doing these internships at the same time - I’m very thankful for these opportunities,” she said. “The most important is knowing that I'm capable of working in any environment - I worked in corporate and in retail which are different but they’re much the same. Knowing how to communicate is crucial and establishing good relationships is so important and having a good network.”
Much of those similarities at the different roles involved listening and helping other. Working at the Stewart Foundation - which provides grants to organizations helping youth and foster care - and Banana Republic, Katalina was busy “finding my way on my journey.” Katalina hosted a youth focus group which was a discussion-based seminar where students across the Bay Area shared their educational experiences.
“That was a great experience and talking about education and realizing that we need more funding for the arts which is a great way to express yourself,” Katalina said. “I learned that everyone has such a different experience in their path."
At Banana Republic, much of Katalina’s job was “learning how to talk with your manager and interact with fellow employees.” At the end of the internship, she was selected to meet San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and heard him speak about his early years working on a farm and in the restaurant industry.
“It was inspirational to see how far someone has come in their live,” she said. “Now I can say I met the mayor of San Francisco - that’s not something everyone gets to do.”
Katalina credits her years at Mercy for preparing her to apply and then be accepted to the internships. Traveling from Pacifica each day to get to school, Katalina also shares a common Mercy bond with her mother, who graduated in 1981.
“I’m really glad I come to Mercy. I’ve learned how to act and take care of myself and I feel like I got back with my roots and learned so much about my own culture,” she said. “Sharing that with my mom is so special. As long as you have purpose in life, whatever form it might be, everything is going to be good. Always know who you are and be true to it - Mercy helped me with that.”
Katalina is already looking to apply her new skills and knowledge from the summer - project management, interviewing, and resume and cover letter writing - toward college acceptance. She hopes to study business, real estate or investment but is “really open to anything - I want to do it all.”
Her choice schools in California are Dominican University, Pepperdine University, and Santa Clara University. But she truly hopes to study on the East Coast at Hofstra, St. John’s University, University of Miami, or Barry University.
“I want to go away because after Mercy I love change, I’m comfortable and confident that I can embrace change and go away and experience something different and be a knowledgeable and a well-rounded human being,” she said. “Mercy has taught me that it’s about learning what’s going on and applying it to your world and your work.”