York 'Dreamer' Wide Awake to Opportunities

Gianni Gustave, a French Studies and Business Administration major at York College, CUNY secured a competitive Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities National Internship Program (HNIP) internship this past summer.

Gustave completed the paid internship as a salesforce intern at American Students' Assistance (ASA), in Boston, Massachusetts.

A graduating senior, Gustave was mentored by Andrew Marley, as he worked on ASA's Salesforce databse, taking part in focus groups and doing presentations to senior executives of the company. He also attended professional development workshops.

Ever the go-getter, Gustave stood out from the 15 other interns by arriving at least one hour before his supervisor, learning the names of everyone on his floor, and engaging co-workers in conversation. As a result, he was invited to return for a second internship session in 2017. Several ASA interns who have completed one to one and a half years with the organization, have been offered full-time positions.

And one internship led to another as Gustave came home to another opportunity, this one at eMarketer in New York City.

"My succesful experience with HNIP shows that there are plenty of opportunities outside the bubble I live in," said Gustave. "I was willing to take the risk by venturing out to a new state, I showcased my skills and did my assignments diligently, as a result, I was rewarded by my peers and the company."

In Addition to French, Gustave, "a proud Haitian son," is fluent in Spanish and is "a strong believer in multi-culturalism. He is one of York's DREAMers (not eligible for financial aid due to limited legal documentation), and was sent by his parents to study in the United States. He has not seen his mom in five years but is taking full advantage of the opportunity they sacrificed to pursue.

Since his internship at ASA, Gustave has received a full scholarship, to attend the 29th Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas in October 2016. He says he believes that his extracurricular involvements at York contributed to his selection for the internships and scholarship offers.

He is a former vice president for Community Affairs for CUNY DREAMers, and is a member of the Haitian Students Association.

After graduaing from York in December, Gustave plans to work for several months then begin graduate school to study investment banking by fall 2017.