Look at Morgan!

Look at Morgan!

Name: Morgan Takae Smith
Age:  17
Occupation:  Intern at Audible
Hometown:  Newark, NJ
School:  Science Park High School
Grade:  12th grade

If someone would have told Morgan Takae Smith as a child that she would be one of the faces of a major technology company, she wouldn’t have believed them. A girl once bullied over her acne, Smith is now an intern at Audible and is featured in their local ad campaign.

Newark-based Audible is a subsidiary of Amazon and is the largest audiobook producer in the country. Smith is one of 70 Newark high school students who participate in the company’s year-round internship program.

The internship has gotten Smith model-ready and exposed her to corporate life. Prior to beginning her internship, Smith was set on a career as a makeup artist.

“Audible exposed me to things I wasn’t exposed to before in business,” she said. “I always thought business was super boring and wasn’t anything enjoyable.” But through her internship, Smith was able to see what goes on behind the scenes with large projects and the hard work that goes into them. She has assisted with projects like Audible’s website, Audible Range, and others.

Smith grew up in the Ivy Hill section of Newark. After graduating high school in 2019, she hopes to attend Howard University and major in marketing.

Fencing Led Student to NJIT

Fencing Led Student to NJIT

Name: Julia Garcia
Age: 21
Hometown: Madrid, Spain
School: NJIT
Major: Finance
Graduation Date: May 2018
Favorite Local Spot: Intrinsic coffee shop
Post-graduation Plans: To work for Goldman Sachs in Salt Lake City, Utah

Julia Garcia moved across an ocean when she was 17 years old. A senior at NJIT, Julia hails from Madrid, Spain. She wasn’t afraid of the move because she knew that something wonderful was waiting for her on the other side: the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Out of several U.S. schools, Julia picked NJIT for two very specific reasons.

From Spain to Newark

I REALLY LIKED FENCING. I figured, at some point, I was going to decide to pursue my athletic career and study, both at the same time. And the place where I had the most possibility was the U.S.,” she says.

At the time that Julia was applying to universities, NJIT had just introduced a fencing program to give its students the opportunity to compete in the combat sport. Based on old-fashioned sword play, the competitions are fierce and many  students train for years to rise through the fencing community, both in Europe and in the U.S.

MY COACH WAS AMAZING AND I made so many friends,” Julia says. “I was never really scared or intimidated.”

Between her sport and a tough major in finance, Julia spent most of her time on NJIT’s campus—in the new financial lab in particular. Outside of fencing, Julia was the president of the student group that manages NJIT’s Investment Fund. With her finance major and a minor in information systems, she was able to line up a job at Goldman Sachs’ Salt Lake City location. She moved there after graduating in May.

“I’m not going to be focusing on ­fencing anymore,” she says. “I have to grow up sometime, right? But I will miss the people. The people here are just ­really welcoming. And since I came here, I feel like it was my second home.”

What else will Julia miss about Newark? “The coffee shop Intrinsic,” she says. “It’s just the best coffee shop, ever.”

Newark: The Millennial Perspective

Newark: The Millennial Perspective

Name: Shakira McKnight

Age: 24

Hometown: Newark, NJ

Favorite Local Spot: Salaam Ice Cream Parlor in the South Ward

Life Goal: To eventually run a hospital in Newark and change several healthcare policies

In a conversation with Shakira McKnight you quickly realize that, despite her youth, she’s an actively involved citizen with a passion for Newark and an unerring optimism for its future. She recently sat down with Destination Newark and shared some of her thoughts about the future of Newark.

On Economic Development

“I like to go back to history all the time and I learned that Newark was an industrial city in the beginning. And, being that it was an industrial city, a lot of people talk about what Newark is not. But they’re not looking at how industry has started to come back into the city. 

Factories and different places like Mars, Inc. are coming back and, hopefully, Amazon, too. And we want to make sure that [Newarkers] get these jobs, because it will help the poverty. It will help those around us not want to commit crimes because they’ll have a job and won’t have to go out into the streets.”

On Safety

“I see a major change in the city’s safety. I see police officers walking the beat, which I haven’t seen in a long time. And my friends see it, too. I’m talking about people from the community, friends who I talk to about being engaged with and having conversations with people in the community. Through talking to them, I realize that I’m not the only one who sees the transformation.

There’s a commercial I hear on the radio all the time about how cops should be involved with and talking to the people in the community. All Stars has a program in Newark where cops talk to the young people so they can build a relationship with them and be more involved in the concerns of the citizens.

More cops have been hired since the mayor’s been in office. If you look up Clinton Avenue, you can see the major development going on. And the beautiful murals, the art around the city, gives the children something to reflect on when they step outside of their houses. All of that has had a positive impact on the community because [crime and safety are affected] by the environment as well.”

On Amazon Coming to Newark

“Newark is a progressing city, we have a history of ­being an industrial city, and I believe that Amazon should come here just like any other company. We have major opportunities here, we have a beautiful community of people, and I believe that the jobs will help the city with different issues in the community. Coming back to Newark would be a good thing!”

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