The End of an Internship Was Just the Beginning

Belen Cosme grew up assuming she would clean houses for a living. It was what her mother had always done and what was familiar to her. At that time, she didn’t know a single person who had been to college or who worked in a professional office environment. It wasn’t until her first internship with Kinder Morgan during her senior year of high school that she abandoned that idea and began to consider new possibilities. Through Genesys Works, she realized that her career options were far broader than she had assumed.

Mentorship Matters: Belen Cosme 1Belen attended Austin High School in Houston’s East End community. During that time, she and her family experienced significant hardships that gave little room to think about grades or the future. “There were times we didn’t have enough food,” she said. “We even went without running water for months a time.” It was also during this time that she first learned of Genesys Works. “I couldn’t apply yet because I was a freshman, but for some reason the program always stayed in the back of my mind.” When Belen’s family moved neighborhoods, she knew she would be zoned to a different school. “I insisted on going back to Austin High School for my junior year just so that I could apply to Genesys Works,” Belen said

Genesys Works doesn’t accept or reject students based on grades. Instead, the program focuses on students in “the quiet middle,” motivated individuals who just need a little push in the right direction in order to achieve career success. Belen had demonstrated that motivation, she just needed an opportunity.

Belen successfully completed Genesys Works’ 8-week skills training and earned an internship with Kinder Morgan. “On my first day, I was more terrified than I was excited,” Belen said. Though she felt extremely intimidated in this unfamiliar environment, she was determined to leave her comfort zone and embrace the new experience. But Belen did more than embrace the experience, she excelled in it.

“My supervisor at Kinder Morgan was the best mentor. He allowed me to ask questions and shadow other team members,” Belen said. “I compare everyone to him now.” That supervisor was Jimmy Frith-Brown, Manager of IT Purchasing & Mobility. “I’ll never forget that he allowed me to work on a project outside of our group, testing our phishing vulnerabilities with the cybersecurity group,” Belen said. “After that, I knew that this was the type of IT work that I wanted to do, and it was all because of Jimmy.”

The feelings of respect and gratitude were mutual. In a letter of recommendation Jimmy wrote for Belen, he said “Belen is a conscientious worker who can handle both difficult, detailed tasks as well as the repetitive mundane duties, which are frequently assigned to interns, with equal aplomb.  She is an outgoing and positive person willing to embrace any challenge presented to her.  I believe she is the only intern to have met the company’s Chairman of the Board, the CEO, and the CFO; as well as developing a mentor relationship with our CIO.”

Over the course of the internship, Belen and Jimmy built an incredible bond that helped shaped Belen’s career aspirations. “I left my internship there knowing exactly what I wanted to do and got straight to work,” Belen said. And that’s what she did.

Belen entertained several internships offers during college. “As soon as recruiters noticed I had a yearlong internship with a Fortune 500 company, the conversation flowed and more doors were opened.” In December 2019, she graduated early with a degree in management information systems from the University of Houston. Around the same time, she and her husband closed on their first home together. “I’m 21 years old and though I have accomplished a lot, I am not done,” Belen said.

In January, Belen accepted a full-time offer with alliantgroup. When she updated her LinkedIn profile with her new role, Jimmy was one of the first people to congratulate her.

“No amount of hard work could have given me the opportunities that I’ve had through Genesys Works,” Belen said.

If you’re ready to set up a meeting to learn more about hosting a Genesys Works intern and becoming a mentor, email us at corporatepartnerships@genesysworks.org. You can also check out our video library here. 

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