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Ellen Mehling, Business & Career Center
October 23, 2020

In our latest in the “Interview with the Entrepreneur” series we are speaking with Yong Yan (Crystal) Liang and Cynthia Lei, seniors at Staten Island Technical High School, who founded OpportuniTeens, a for-teens-by-teens database of internships, volunteering events and other programs compiled by high school students in the United States. It focuses on several career fields such as STEM, Healthcare, and Civil Services. 

When did you start OpportuniTeens?

The idea of OpportuniTeens was created in December 2019 on a trip to Upstate New York. 

What made you decide to start the site?

We both wanted to do something meaningful for our community, so we settled on starting an initiative that would help promote internships and volunteering opportunities. Through OpportuniTeens, we wanted to increase student awareness in college and career readiness programs. 

What do you do in addition to this?

In addition to our website platform, we also created social media accounts on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and even LinkedIn! We are also in the process of hosting workshops and classes with topics in STEM, career readiness, and many more. 

Is it just the two of you doing the work for the site, or are there others working on it?

In the beginning, it was just the two of us! Currently we are expanding our team and have an additional web developer that helps us maintain and update the website.

About how many hours a week do you devote to the site?

It varies from week to week but the general range would be 2 - 12 hours, depending if we have any major software updates that we’re working on. 

How do you market OpportuniTeens and spread the word about it? 

We started posting content on our Instagram and Facebook in July to build our momentum and audience to drive traffic to our site. 

What has been the biggest challenge so far?

One of our biggest challenges during this time was having to collaborate and reach out to others virtually. 

What is the best part of running OpportuniTeens?

The best part of running OpportuniTeens is having people tell us that our posts and information helped them find an internship or volunteer opportunity. 

What advice do you have for others running (or starting) a site or business or similar venture now, with the pandemic going on and all that goes with it? 

Our main advice is to go for it! If you can, join an online community of like-minded individuals that will support your journey every step of the way!

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