From Parent Coordinating to Internship Coordinating: Harvey Blumm
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Internship Coordinator Harvey Blumm has been a vital part of the Stuyvesant community for many years. He started out as a Parent Coordinator, but his role has evolved into an Internship Coordinator who specializes in connecting students to different internship opportunities.
Blumm was just retiring from his previous job as a mailman when a new Parent Coordinator position opened up at Stuyvesant. “I started in the summer of 2003. Leading into the 2003-2004 school year, Mayor Bloomberg created this new position, which was called Parent Coordinator,” he shared. “I thought it was a great idea that parents who didn’t know who to talk to, didn’t know who to send that question to, didn’t know how to handle a problem, [would] hear in meetings online and e-mails, letters home, ‘Hey, there’s this new person at Stuyvesant. [...] His only job is to help you help your student and help you with any problems or questions you had.’”
With all three of his children having graduated from Stuyvesant, Blumm’s experience as a parent and active member of the parent association was valuable for the position. “I thought I saw Stuyvesant from a lot of different perspectives. I knew it well, and I loved it. So I thought this would be a great job.”
As Parent Coordinator, Blumm sent out weekly newsletters to help answer any questions parents had regarding their child’s education, extracurricular activities, and more. “The focus of the newsletter was, if a student won an award, a Stuyvesant team went to championships, there was a new program coming along, or whatever good information that we wanted to get out to the cyberspace community, we would use my newsletter to do this,” he shared.
Though the newsletter was general at first, it began to morph into something more similar to the opportunity bulletin many students are familiar with today, because he felt it was important for the school to provide quicker access to outside opportunities. “I started putting a section in my weekly newsletter about different opportunities, and over time, that grew and grew and grew until it was bigger than the rest of the news.”
After speaking with the principal, Blumm soon transitioned from his role as Parent Coordinator to his current role as Internship Coordinator, specializing in connecting students to opportunities through his weekly Student Opportunity Bulletin. Though this switch marked yet another career change, Blumm thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of it. “I really get a lot of pleasure and satisfaction [from] helping connect students to good opportunities that help them grow,” he said.
Blumm believes that internship opportunities allow for what he calls a “three-fold benefit.” One benefit is that regardless of whether students enjoyed the internship, they can have a better understanding of the career path they are currently interested in and if it could be something they truly want to pursue. “They’re getting experience learning about a field and deciding whether they want to continue,” he explained.
The second benefit is that these opportunities allow students to expand their networking skills. “They are building a network of adults and potential mentors when they do something in the real world and get this real-world experience, who can help them down the road, provide recommendations, help them with internships, and be sort of an advisor to them,” he shared.
The last of this three-fold aspect is to show colleges that students have a large variety of experiences and initiatives outside of the classroom. “It could be at Stuyvesant, or it could be outside Stuyvesant, but they can’t just be a great student—they have to have other things outside the classroom,” said Blumm.
At the same time, he emphasizes maintaining a balance in one’s life to avoid burning out. “I know how tough it can be, so the ideal thing is to get a good balance. You have your homework, your schoolwork, things to do in Stuyvesant, social life, and getting enough sleep,” he said. “If you could fit in doing an internship or an outside opportunity, do it. But don't put too much on yourself, because then you can end up crashing and burning.”
One of the biggest challenges that come with Blumm’s job is reaching as many students as possible. “There’s the newsletter, individual meetings with students, class visits, and presentations to parents,” he said. Blumm also shares information about different opportunities in PTA meetings. “Every December, I give a presentation to the parents about what I do [with] different opportunities,” Blumm explained.
Blumm considers the most rewarding experience of his job to be when students pursue the opportunities he shares with them and make a great social impact. One opportunity, the Innocence Project, is a nonprofit organization where people volunteer and analyze DNA to exonerate those who have been wrongly convicted of a crime. “A number of Stuyvesant students who were interested in law are [also] interested in biology and DNA. I’ve referred them to that organization, and they would work [during] the summer. That was gratifying to me because that was a very good cause,” he explained.
Throughout the past several years, Blumm has been an integral part of Stuyvesant’s community. Blumm looks forward to seeing Stuyvesant students grow and being a part of their journeys. “Bottom line is, I really like you guys. Stuy kids are great and they’re very nice and focused. Of course, the teenagers drive adults crazy, a lot like my kids did to me, but they’re very, very hardworking.”