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The Northwood Howler

The Student News Site of Northwood High School

The Northwood Howler

Diya Mehta’s externship with PepsiCo was soda(lightful)

Ashley Wang
PEP-SEE YOU CAN DEW ANYTHING: Mehta gains confidence through a summer externship with PepsiCo.

When senior Diya Mehta envisioned the workforce, she always pictured a mundane office job. Clock in, clock out. Then, when she joined Girls Inc. of Orange County’s career readiness Girls Meet the Workforce program, she was paired with PepsiCo and discovered a positive work culture.

With the Girls Meet the Workforce program, Mehta attended monthly development days, a training week from January to June and learned skills for the workforce, including building a resume and writing a professional email.

The program provided an experience to use these skills by assigning students to a company for a month-long externship through July this summer.

“One of the things I learned during my externship is that it’s possible to have a culture in the company where you feel supported,” Mehta said.

Through her externship, she was paired with a mentor Stacy Lopez, a Pepsi Foodservice Beverage Manager. Mehta also conducted informational interviews, participated in group networking sessions and toured one of PepsiCo’s largest manufacturing units.

“Diya’s remarkable ability to actively listen and ask all the right questions has clearly showcased her impressive growth,” Lopez said. “I was truly impressed by the level of persistence she demonstrated in her follow-ups.”

After many conversations with professionals, she learned about Pepsi’s resource groups, like Women of Color, that support women in the company through female mentorship.

Mehta spent many days shadowing her mentor and visiting various businesses, learning the importance of confidence as she witnessed her mentor speak with customers to get more business for Pepsi.

“She only has a minute or two to grab the person’s attention,” Mehta said. “She speaks with confidence; she knows what she’s doing and she doesn’t waste her time on unnecessary details.”

When Mehta finished her externship, her program educators reached out with good news: Out of the 225 program participants, she was selected to speak in a panel of four people at the program’s reception and speak about her experience in front of all the professional mentors and her peers.

“I was terrified, but I thought, ‘if you’re scared of something, that’s why you should do it,’ which I learned from my mentor and others,” Mehta said. “That’s why I did the panel.”

Mehta faced mental blocks of feeling out of place while networking with the professionals at Pepsi and when she first found out she would speak at the panel. However, when she sat at the panel, she started to feel more confident.

“I still remember the moment where the girl next to me was speaking, and I thought, ‘I want to talk, I want to answer this question,’” Mehta said. “I would never think that way before this entire experience.”

Her externship helped solidify an interest in finance and marketing, while also motivating her to pursue her life-long dream of starting her own business. She connected with a professional at Pepsi who created a small business and gave Mehta advice.

“Creating my own business is interesting because it can also be very scary, and I like that combination of excitement plus scary,” Mehta said. “It’s something new that you’re stepping into which can have a lot of risks, but also a chance for a lot of success.”

With this support, Mehta plans on combining her interests in creativity and business by making her own products. Mehta will use the confidence she gained to chase her dreams, however intimidating they may seem, as she enters her senior year and the workforce.

For students who also want a fulfilling summer, Mehta’s advice is to seek out activities that excite you.

“Being productive can be fun if you enjoy what you’re doing, so it’s key to find what you like and what you’re good at,” Mehta said. “Then combine the two to have fun while learning new things during the summer!”

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About the Contributors
Kaylie Wang
Kaylie Wang, Accent Editor
Kaylie Wang is this year's Accent Editor. She is a senior and has succeeded at winning the top prizes from spinning wheels three times. Some of her hobbies include making pottery, laughing at The Good Place or being infuriated by Gilmore Girls. Her favorite articles to write are feature stories.
Ashley Wang
Ashley Wang, Photographer
Ashley Wang is a photographer for The Howler. They enjoy poetry and watching Luca Guadagnino films at midnight. They have blue hair and pronouns.

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