Internship Highlight: Eugene Shen

Internship Highlight: Eugene Shen
Graphic: Intern Eugene ShenInternship Highlight: Eugene Shen 

Upon entering this internship site, you realize this is not a typical work space. Full of light, the space illuminates positivity and authenticity, and the employees match the namesake while embracing its meaning.  

Luminous is where Eugene Shen, an intern from Park Ridge High School, spends his afternoons exploring a possible career. When Eugene first heard he would be placed at a spa, he was a little skeptical. However, after meeting owner Erika Menanteaux, he realized immediately what an opportunity it would be and he couldn’t wait to get started.   
“I had a little doubt going into [internship] because I was a little scared to meet new people,” Eugene said. “At the beginning of [internship], I was really quiet because I didn’t want to do anything bad but the more [Erika and I] talked, the closer we got.”

Student Eugene Shen
Picture:  Intern, Eugene Shen, at work

Luminous is a retail store that provides lash and eyebrow services as well as selling specialty beauty products ranging from makeup, skincare, and body care. The store is located in Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ.

“I work at the front desk, so I greet customers, take their payments, and schedule their next appointment. At first, I wasn't really good at my front desk responsibilities, but then [Erika and the Luminous employees] helped me improve my communication skills so that I can have smooth conversations with clients,” Eugene said. 

During his internship, Erika encourages Eugene to share his artistic point of view by asking for his opinions on aspects such as social media or items that have been shipped to the store. 

“[Eugene] has really been able to level up what we've been doing and bring his aesthetic and his perspective to the table,” Erika said. “It’s been a process of asking Eugene questions like do you think this is dumb, do you think this is boring, do you think this could be cooler, and him bringing his perspective to questions like this has been amazing.”

Intern Eugene Shen
Pictured: Intern, Eugene Chen, taking inventory

Erika has been a part of the Internship Program for two years. Having initially been a high school English teacher before becoming the founder of Luminous, Erika said she looked forward to taking on a high school intern because she enjoys interacting with that age group. 

“I feel like the right before going to college age group is my jam. There's so much potential and there's so much opportunity to provide the right amount of mentorship to [high school students], so it’s really gratifying to me,” Erika said. 

Erika’s previous intern, Kate Errity, also experienced firsthand how Erika is able to connect with students to help them find their passion in life. During her senior year in high school, Kate initially wanted to choose a career field in business. However, as she began interning at Luminous, Kate was given the opportunity to explore her creative side. 

“When I first got [to Luminous], I was so nervous to share my photography because Erika has a very specific style, but every time a new product came in, Erika would be like “Kate test it out and go in there and do whatever you want,”’ Kate said. “It was just so cool because I never had that creative freedom to just do whatever I wanted. Erika gave me the freedom to explore my creative side.” 
During her time at internship, Kate was able to take pictures of new products and help promote them on social media. Although she initially wanted to choose a major in business, Kate said that Erika helped her realize that she wanted to go to art school instead. 

“I was at my internship one day and I was talking to [Erika] about school and she was like “You're not meant to go to business school. You are so creative and I know you’re scared of the outcome but if it's something you're passionate about,  you will become successful in it,”’ Kate said. “Hearing that made me think oh my god, that's so true."

Kate Errity
Pictured:  Former Luminous Intern, Kate Errity

While Kate is no longer an intern at Luminous, she still maintains a good relationship with Erika. When Eugene began his internship, Kate was able to meet Eugene and see how his perspective of Luminous changed overtime. 

“When I first met [Eugene], it seemed like he was a little skeptical [about internship] because I think he was in the same boat as me where he wanted the typical corporate experience,” Kate said. “Once he met Erica you could tell he was getting a little bit more comfortable and he was getting a little bit more excited [about Luminous]. When I went to visit Luminous maybe a month or two into his internship,  the smile on his face and the excitement he had when he was telling me about all the cool things he was doing, made me so happy.” 

Eugene’s other internship responsibilities consist of inventory and assisting Erika with unboxing and organizing new shipments. Eugene was also tasked with learning how to use Booker, an online booking software which allows businesses to schedule clients’ appointments and keep track of which products are in stock at their stores. Eugene said he’s adopted some of Luminous’s organizational skills into his own life. 

“Ever since I saw Booker and [Luminous’] website, I noticed that those sites included using calendars to set up clients and their times. That made me realize I should start using my own calendar, and it made me feel more organized,” Eugene said.  

After high school, Eugene plans on attending Ramapo College of New Jersey where he will be studying business/marketing. Eugene looks forward to using the communication and organizational skills he’s learned and applying them to his future.
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