Summer Student Profile: Meet Sherina Harris

Ever wondered what it would be like to be a Communications Assistant at Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga who enjoys blogging and loves cats? Well you’re about get an exclusive inside scoop.

Sherina Harris is a journalism student who has a great personality and a full-on passion for kitty cats. But that’s not all there is to this smart, young and independent aspiring writer. Sherina currently attends Ryerson University in Toronto, ON, studying journalism for the next three to four years.

In connection to Sherina being an aspiring writer, she mentioned in her fun and meaningful interview that when she was in high school her favourite subject was English. “It gave me the opportunity to be creative and practice writing for different audiences and I also got to read books which inspired me to be a better writer,” Sherina said. As it is probably already clear, Sherina is extremely interested in journalism as a future career. She said she doesn’t know where her passion for journalism will bring her, but she’s optimistic about the future.

Sherina has a summer job at Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga, working in the Marketing and Communications department where she did her high-school co-op two years ago. Her job at Habitat includes writing blogs, articles and stories that correlate with Habitat news and events.

“Communications Assistant is not just writing. Communications Assistant is helping with writing tweets, it’s helping with taking photos, it’s writing emails, scripts, blog posts and articles; so much more than just sitting at a computer and writing all day. It’s going out to events, getting in touch with the media. I love that there’s all these different aspects to it. But at the end of the day I’m still focusing on writing, which is what I love to do.”

Sherina’s previous volunteer work was located at a local retirement home where she would actively assist the elderly, talk with them, walk them and even run events! Sherina did this from grade six to grade twelve. Let’s just say she made major contributions. And those contributions of hers still remain as big and amazing with Habitat as they did when she was younger at the retirement home.

Sherina said in her interview that since she lives close to Habitat she would always pass by it, but never knew she would actually be working there in her near future. “I knew what Habitat did in a very general sense. When I was preparing for my co-op interview in grade 11, my teacher said ‘What does Habitat do?’ and I said ‘I think they build houses for humanity’ and my teacher said ‘Yeah but what else?’ So that’s kind of the first time I heard about Habitat,” she explained.

Being in Marketing and Communications, Sherina does her work every day in a little room called the Oakville Room. There, she works with other summer students like herself. I asked her co-workers in the Marketing and Communications department what they would say about her.

“She brings a lot of experience and creativity (to the table) and she’s an outside of the box thinker but she doesn’t just think outside the box she actually gets it done,” Sarah Golan, Marketing and Communications Manager, said.

“(Sherina’s) always willing to make the workplace a fun (and) inviting experience,” Nicole Fratesi, Digital Marketing Assistant, said.

“Her best quality is her passion for journalism. She’s really into what she does and I think it’s great when people are really into something they love,” Ryan Gaynor, Videographer, said.

Sherina also shared her favourite thing about Habitat. “We are all doing work that we believe in and at the end of the day we’re not just working to make money, we’re working to make a real difference for families,” Sherina said. “There are huge affordable housing crises in the GTA, in our community, and we don’t always see poverty or a need for affordable housing but that doesn’t mean that it’s not there. And so to be able to work for an organization that is bringing this really important issue to light and is actually doing real work to help families is really incredible.”

“When I go home I know I’m helping to make a difference, and that makes me really happy.”

Since Sherina’s time with Habitat is coming to an end in August (the fault of being a summer student) I asked what she will take with her. She said she will never forget the practical skills she’s developed. Sherina said, “I’ll also just take on with me the knowledge that I have accomplished a lot here and hopefully made a difference and hopefully as I’m going through my next year of journalism I will think back to my experiences here and say, ‘I know I can write this article because I wrote all those articles about families in the summer’ or ‘I know I can do this photography assignment because I was going out and taking pictures in the summer.’”

“I think just being able to build on skills from journalism here is gonna help me in terms of my career and I think just the knowledge that I’m making a difference for people is just gonna help me personally feel like I’m doing something good in the world.”