Step Up internships in radio broadcasting, video editing, computer technology and catering helped South High School senior Zihaam Nor get a head start on planning her future – and discover her interest in a management information system career at an early age!
The daughter of immigrant parents, Zihaam describes herself as a proud, Somali Muslim woman who strives to take advantage of all the opportunities that come her way. Her first two Step Up internships at Pillsbury United Communities introduced her to broadcasting at KRSM FM radio and video editing at the Brian Coyle Center's Best Buy Teen Tech Center. A U.S. Bank internship taught new skills in driving website traffic and improving access to information. And at Chef Jeff Catering, she learned a wide menu of responsibilities: writing catering proposals, managing invoices, creating a training guide for employees and transcribing hand-written recipes for computer documents.
“My Step Up internships were all cool experiences,” she says. “With each internship I learned what jobs and tasks I like and dislike. I enjoyed working at a radio station and editing videos, but I realized this wasn’t my passion. Chef Jeff Catering helped me realize that I’m good at figuring things out – and I’m no longer scared of numbers! At U.S. Bank, I learned that I like computer technology and coding – and I like solving problems, too!”
Zihaam has received additional career guidance through our Achieve Career & College Center (CCC) at South, where she works with our coordinators Katie Hanson and Kelsey Massey. “Through Step Up, I learned that I want to use a computer and maybe work in technology. I also like learning about business, so I’m thinking about combining business and technology. Then through my conversations with Katie and Kelsey, I've discovered my interest in management information systems. They're working with me to find the right college to pursue for that career field and are also recommending scholarships that are a good fit."
Zihaam also learned important professional and personal life skills through Step Up. “My projects helped improve my time management, communication, problem-solving and organizational and leadership skills. I learned how to be financially independent, how to manage a paycheck and save money. My supervisors and mentors also helped me feel comfortable asking questions and advocating for myself, which improved my overall confidence in my work. They helped me get comfortable with being uncomfortable!"
At Step Up's summer celebration in August, Zihaam was honored as a 2022 Step Up intern of the year. In her nomination for Zihaam, Chef Jeff supervisor Sarah Biddix cited Zihaam's great skills as well as her adaptability during the company's move to another location over the summer. "If we knew our summer was going to go this way, we would not have requested a Step Up intern, but Zihaam has handled it amazingly. She has been flexible, adaptable, independent and sweet throughout the entire process. I don't think any other intern her age could have handled it with as much grace and joy as she did!”
Zihaam says Step Up and the Career & College Center have been there for her throughout her years at South High. “They’ve cheered me on the whole way, got me into different jobs and connected me with so many people I can network with. I’m so thankful for their support!
Good luck, Zihaam - we can't wait to see where you go!