Isabella Marenco - Marketing Intern

California Native, Isabella loves to spend time in the sun, being creative, and serving her community. Recent alumni, found herself looking for an internship that spoke to her career goals and would allow her to help others. With a passion for the arts, problem-solving, and collaborating, she reflects on her work at Charter School Capital and what pathways await her.


How did you meet Charter School Capital?

During the end of my academic career at Portland State University, I was looking into internships that would allow me to expand my knowledge around the business. I applied and became part of the Emerging Leaders Internship Program (ELI). a program that allowed students of unrepresented groups and backgrounds to have access to internships and opportunities in Portland. Through ELI, I was connected to Charter School Capital.

I had only taken one Marketing course at Portland State. I hadn’t even gotten my grade back when I interviewed at Charter School Capital. Still, I remember wanting to dive into the inner workings of Marketing and learn what it had to offer. In the interview, I met Stephanie Ristow (Dr. Marketing) and the rest of the Marketing team, where we instantly clicked. I remember saying, “I haven’t even gotten my grade back from Marketing 101, but I know it’s something that excites me, and if you’re willing to take a chance and teach me, I am ready to fasten my seatbelt and learn”. And here I am – they took a chance on me, and I already feel part of the CSC family.

How would you describe CSC and your position?

Charter School Capital is a finance group that provides working capital and other products and services to charter schools in the United States. Even in the short time I’ve been here, I’ve seen firsthand the difference CSC makes in the charter sphere. Providing not only personalized services but putting time and care into every step they make.

In my position, I help the marketing team achieve their goals and shine a light on not only the work CSC does but the movers and doers behind the scenes.

What brings you joy?

Personally, I love exploring new cities, solving puzzles, and being able to be creative in my daily life. Photography, painting, journaling, live music, dancing, all that jazz, I can do that forever.

Professionally, I love staying true to my word and getting tasks done. I do. That feeling of crossing off something on the to-do list, then stepping back and seeing all your work paying off as it becomes part of a big, beautiful working picture. That’s what keeps me going.

When did you learn about this line of work? What called you to it?

Throughout college, I’ve had numerous jobs related to serving the community, working with the public, and having a thin line of creativity stringing it all together. In a previous internship, I worked for a non-profit organization that ensured food and health-based education/access across the United States. I’ve always been drawn to working in spaces that serve others and have a bigger picture in mind.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

When I grew up, I wanted to be an artist. I wanted to be an artist, a painter, singer, dancer, set designer; you name it.
Now, I feel like I am one. I get to create the visions that people see and connect people.

Over the years, what wisdom have you learned?

Your best self is the authentic self. When I was growing up, I felt embarrassed about my heritage of half Nicaraguan and half Mexican. But as I grew older, I learned to appreciate and have a deep respect for my ancestors and the curly hair, dark skin, and brown eyes they gave me.

From your position, how do you impact charter schools?

In high school, I attended an arts-based charter school, so I feel that I have this unique perspective in most rooms I get invited into. A view that can help in the flow of conversations and movements within the structure of supporting charters.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

I always take things day by day, just seeing what the day will bring, what idea might pop into my head, what song might come on the radio, and what conversations may come. Outside of CSC, I am a mentor for the Portland State Freshman Inquiry program, so meeting with the students, helping them figure out college and their entry into adulthood keeps me going most days as well.

What’s something about you that might be surprising?

I have a pet pig! Her name is Frenchie, she’s a potbelly pig, and she’s always up to something. We call her a “Traviesa,” which means naughty in Spanish. She’s super funny and wickedly smart!

If you could create a New Class Subject, What would it be?

Street Smarts, or How to Read a Room. When I was younger, I was timid and struggled with being socially aware, but over time I learned how to read a room. It’s one of those unspoken skills that can help make connections, make friends, and feel comfortable in a social setting.

What piece of advice would you give to recent graduates?

As a recent graduate, I would tell myself that things will work out. I think as long as you follow your values, passions, and what feels right to you, things will work out.

In your view, what does the world need more of? Less of?

We need more people recognizing others as human. We all have faults and pitfalls, but we should celebrate one another.
We need less ego. We all have an ego, but if there was a bit less altogether, we could see each other as equal and mend divisiveness.

What do you hope to see for the Future of Charter Schools?

As a charter school student, I hope to see charter schools more widely recognized for their positive impact. My school helped me and allowed me to dive into my passion for the arts at such a young age. I can’t imagine where I would be without my school helping me. So, I would love to see more charter school options offered across the United States and potentially internationally.

What do you hope to see for the Future of CSC?

In my short time here, I have grown a love for Charter School Capital and its purpose. It is my hope to see this company continue expanding its teams, offering more programs, and helping more and more schools.

Want to share?
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Since the company’s inception in 2006, Charter School Capital has been committed to the success of charter schools. We help schools access, leverage, and sustain the resources charter schools need to thrive, allowing them to focus on what matters most – educating students. Our depth of experience working with charter school leaders and our knowledge of how to address charter school financial and operational needs have allowed us to provide over $1.8 billion in support of 600 charter schools that have educated over 1,027,000 students across the country. For more information on how we can support your charter school, contact us. We’d love to work with you!

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