Angie Ortiz, 18, is a recent graduate of Boston Arts Academy. This summer she worked as Teen Central’s Boston Youth Fund Summer Intern. Here, she reflects on her experience.
What was your role at Teen Central?
As Teen Central’s BYF Summer Intern, I assisted with classes in the digital lab. I really liked to help with animation and iMovie programs and to show teens how to make storybooks for animation or trailers. It was cool for me to see them apply what they learned into something that they enjoyed making. I also assisted with shelving and pulling books, and I blogged about video games. I also helped with expanding our technology and media lounge. For instance, I had teens vote on what games they’d like to see added to our game collection.
I’ve been coming to the Boston Public Library for a long time with my mom.* I’d hang out in the Teen Room before it was renovated. When I got a little older, I stopped coming, but when I heard about the renovations I had to come back to see what it was like. I thought Teen Central was so cool, and I wanted to work there. I was president and founder of my high school’s gamers club, and when I saw all the awesome resources in Teen Central’s Lounge, I brought the club there for our meetings. They really liked it, and a lot of the kids started hanging out in Teen Central on their own.
When you weren’t working, what did you like to do in Teen Central?
I liked to hang out in the Lounge, but I also liked to use the programs in the Lab. I used Photoshop to illustrate, paint, and animate GIFs. I met with friends here, and we played board games and card games. I also checked out books here.
How does this renovation benefit you and other teens?
It’s a friendly, expansive space that is welcoming to teenagers. It’s a safe space. The librarians are very helpful, and always have been. One of my favorite parts of the renovation is the addition of technology. That’s a big deal, as most occupations now require computer knowledge. There are still some teens who don’t know how to use computers, and a library is a great space for them to learn how to do that.
I’ll be attending Lesley University on a full scholarship to study animation in the fall. I want to go into game animation. There’s a huge gap of women in the video game industry, and I want to create more female protagonists and stronger representation for women in games.
What books would you recommend to other teens?
The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan. It’s part of the Heroes of Olympus series, a sequel to the Percy Jackson novels that I read when I was young. The books are about a boy who doesn’t fit in at school but found a place where he belonged and was a hero. I was having a hard time at school, and the Percy Jackson books inspired me to go to Boston Arts Academy, where I founded the gamers club and made a lot of friends. The main characters are funny, regular teens, too.
*Angie’s mom is BPL Board of Trustees Vice Chair Evelyn Arana-Ortiz.