When Daniel Brynes ’09 accepted an internship with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) over the summer, he may not have expected to walk away with both valuable work experience and community service experience. Yet that is exactly what he got after spending six days of his two-month internship volunteering in Belize City, Belize, with 100 fellow college interns and 21 PwC employees.
Byrnes, an accounting major and economics minor from Bridgewater, NJ, was selected to intern with the big four accounting firm following an externship and a series of interviews. He interned in the health service insurance department at PwC under the client Merck Pharmaceuticals.
Byrnes was selected to participate in the six-day service project in Belize after he wrote essays on his volunteer experience as an Eagle Scout and what he hoped to do to help in Belize.
“Project Belize” as it was called brought Byrnes and the rest of the PwC participants to the Central American country, where they volunteered at school camps, refurbished four schools, provided academic support to students, and contributed efforts toward the construction of a Leadership Development Center, which will eventually include a new library and computer lab. Byrnes and the other volunteers also taught the students about business and career planning.
Each day ended with a PwC event to discuss the day and offer improvements for the next day. This also provided participants the opportunity to bond with the other PwC employees and interns.
Although this was the first year PwC organized an intern service project, Byrnes is confident that PwC will continue the program after its successful first run.
“It was really well run and I think (with) the success of it, they are going to try to continue it or something like it, maybe in different places,” Byrnes said.
Byrnes said the project, especially the enthusiastic reception the group received from the kids, helped him realize how much an individual can help in a short amount of time. He’s also gained a deeper appreciation for PwC.
“The fact that PwC would spend a lot of time, effort, and money to send that many people down there” shows the company really cares, not just about donating money but about showing up to help, Byrnes said.
“They offered me a great internship experience, a great community service experience,” Byrnes said. “I definitely could see a future at PwC.”