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SPAA Internship Spotlight: Matthew Alejandro Rodriguez – Housing Authority of Bergen County

Matthew Alejandro Rodriguez

Name: Matthew Alejandro Rodriguez
SPAA Degree: BA in Public and Nonprofit Administration
Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2023
Name of Organization: Housing Authority of Bergen County (HABC)
Location: Hackensack, NJ
Title: Housing Assistant Intern
Date of Internship: Fall 2022

Summary of Responsibilities:
During my time as a Housing Assistant Intern at the HABC, I took on assignments given to me by my immediate supervisor or other departments in the organization that needed assistance. I had a few training sessions on the overall operations of the organization, what it does to help the community, and how it functions, giving me the opportunity to help funnel applicants as a runner and greeter for an event that was held for application clearance among Housing Choice Voucher holders.

Favorite Part(s) of the Internship:
The part I enjoyed the most about the internship was the work atmosphere among the different departments; they all saw me as someone that could be of genuine help to them if they needed it. On top of that, the work I did (filing, Word documentation, Excel work, etc.) felt extremely centering and kept me level-headed and prepared me for working in an atmosphere such as that. The work balance of keeping up with deadlines and ensuring that I made the most out of the day I was there was very intriguing to me and helped me realize the skill I have at accomplishing objectives that have a clear structure and a set of guidelines to follow. I really excelled at accomplishing a majority of my tasks as they were clear-cut and did not require me to pull from outside sources to find an answer, resulting in me finishing a majority of my assignments the day I was given them. This reinforced to me that office and computer work is something that I want to work in.

How did the Service-learning Internship course at SPAA help you navigate your internship responsibilities?
The Service-learning Internship course helped guide me to use the resources available and find other internships that the college could provide. It helped me to realize that I should put my full focus into college and completing my courses, versus having no time on the weekends to complete any of my college work because of my retail job.

What skills did you learn during this internship?
Some skills I learned focused on the social aspect of how to present myself and interact with co-workers as well as HCV holders. Things like not being afraid to seek out help from other workers that might know something that I am confused about or checking in with someone who gave me the assignment to make sure that what I did was correct. 

Career Goals:
My career goal as it stands now is to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in public and nonprofit administration and find work similar to the work I did at the Housing Authority or at a nonprofit and establish something good for the community.