Shirli Beker, a rising college junior, has two passions: numbers and learning new things. That’s what made the Finance and Data Internship at Avodah the perfect fit for her this summer as she pursues a degree in finance and a double minor in marketing and communications at CUNY Baruch College.
Initially, what drew Shirli to Avodah was the feeling of being able to lend a hand to a community in need. On a daily basis, Shirli can be found reviewing, inputting, and comparing data on Excel, as well as researching trends, such as airplane policies, to help navigate the safest forms of travel for Avodah’s participants as they end their service year. Taking on these tasks has given her real-world experience in number-crunching and research-outlining. She has also impressed her five supervisors with her public speaking skills.
While Shirli is used to living and working across the globe – experience from her years living in both Israel and her current home in Brooklyn, NY, this summer is her first time working remotely from home, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The unprecedented circumstances haven’t deterred her from learning the ropes of the Jewish social justice nonprofit world though; it just means she watches the magic happen from a computer screen, she said.
“Two passions of mine are numbers and learning new things. Both of them together got me very interested in the finance and data position because it included the use of numbers and learning about the different departments at Avodah and the skills they may require. Every day that I am working on a project I am learning something new; whether it is navigating Salesforce or a new formula on Excel,” she said.
Knowing that she is helping an organization devoted to social justice and service, whether it be through Avodah’s Jewish Service Corps program or the summer internship program, gives her the determination to thrive in the field, Shirli said. She added that Avodah’s work culture and being surrounded by so many amazing supervisors have also been strong motivators.
Working from home is a big change from Shirli’s previous internship experience, which she sometimes spent on the streets of New York City as an intern for a tour bus company. There, her responsibilities included creating reports on revenues, expenses, and profits/losses, and conducting research. “That internship also helped me see how much I thrive off of numbers because I would spend a lot of time working on revenue/expenses and yet it would feel like only five minutes had passed.” The best task? Going on the tours themselves! “I would outline the tour route and see what could be improved/what worked well.”
You may still spot Shirli rolling through New York City’s streets – but this time on roller skates, one of her favorite hobbies.
Although she is undecided on her ultimate career path, Shirli hopes to pursue a job in the investment banking or media industries, particularly in television, which her double-minors are helping her to prepare for. Shirli is halfway through her summer internship with Avodah and is excited to take on new challenges and experiences to come her way.