From Diller Teen Fellows to the Kohn Summer Intern Program: Our Stories

This summer, there are five Kohn interns (myself included) from Cohort 17 of the San Francisco Diller Teen Fellows! We make up just under one-sixth of our Kohn cohort. It is so nice to be back together, especially because we go to colleges and universities all around the country. In one way or another, Diller Teen Fellows has contributed to and influenced all of us to be Kohn interns this summer.

L to R: Moriah Wolfe, Katie Wysong, Claire Murphy, Chelsea Roston, and Sophia Weiss

Moriah Wolfe (far left) is a rising sophomore at UC Santa Cruz and is majoring in psychology. As a Kohn intern, she is interning at Jewish Family and Children’s Services in San Francisco. Moriah has seen the direct results and benefits from being a Diller Teen Fellow in the work she is doing as a Kohn intern this summer. She explains that, “it made me much more confident in my ability to be a leader. Also, since I’m helping with the high school program, I’m able to give feedback and suggestions based on my time in Diller and the skills I learned about planning programs.”

Katie Wysong (second from left) is a rising sophomore at Georgetown University‘s School of Foreign Service. Katie says that “Diller opened my eyes to the wide range of ways to engage with the Jewish community and tikkun olam. Now, as a Kohn intern at Be’chol Lashon, I am learning about the diverse global Jewish community, building on the Diller theme of peoplehood.”

Claire Murphy (center), a rising sophomore at Vassar College, is majoring in psychology with a double major or minor in education. She is a Kohn intern at the JCC of San Francisco in its Early Childhood Development department. When Claire thought about the connection between Diller and Kohn, she explained that, “Participating in Diller helped me feel confident in professional environments. We learned to respect deadlines and work together in small groups. In my internship at the Helen Diller Family Preschool, I’m continuing to learn about professional communication and project organization. I’m so glad I had the scaffolding from my Diller Fellowship to help me through this new internship.”

I am Chelsea Roston (second from right), a rising sophomore at Wellesley College. Though I am currently undeclared, I am strongly considering majoring in psychology and minoring in economics. I am a Kohn intern at the Federation’s Capacity Building department, working with the Pro Bono Consulting Practice. In Diller, I strengthened my Jewish identity and learned to pay close attention to large and small details (‘zooming in’ and ‘zooming out’). Two years later, I am more invested in learning about and giving back to this Jewish community. As an intern here at the Federation, I am working on and completing projects by paying close attention to the smaller details that contribute to the larger picture of the project. Through Diller, I created many connections and had empowering experiences that have directly influenced me to take an active role in my Jewish community at school and here at home.

Sophia Weiss (far right) is a rising sophomore at New York University and is majoring in communication, business, and entertainment. Sophia says, “The Diller program places a large emphasis on leadership and planning both in and out of the Jewish sphere. I gained invaluable experience on organizing an event from conception to execution, an experience that is now a great service to me as a Kohn Event Planning intern at the Federation. Kohn is in many ways a reflection of the focus and ideals of Diller, but in a more mature and pre-professional setting.”

San Francisco Diller Teen Fellows Cohort 17

All five of us are so thankful for our Diller experiences and these experiences have greatly influenced the people we are today. I hope there are more Diller Teen Fellow alumni in future Kohn intern cohorts!

Established in San Francisco in 1998 by the Helen Diller Family Foundation, the Diller Teen Fellows program is San Francisco’s premiere leadership development program for Jewish teens in 11th grade. For more information, contact Katherine Tick.

The Kohn Summer Internship Program, a project of Jewish Vocational Service (JVS), is a unique 8-week program that provides Jewish college undergraduates the opportunity to work for a Jewish nonprofit organization, build professional skills through JVS workshops, be mentored by Jewish community leaders, examine issues facing the Jewish community, and, of course, make lifelong friendships with other interns. For more information, visit the JVS website.

Categories: Teens, Community


August 04, 2016


Chelsea Roston