ONA Intern Feature: Matilda Cretens

How did you learn about ONA and why you decided to get involved?

I originally learned about ONA from a friend that went to college with Susan. I was looking to volunteer my time and gain some writing experience with a non-profit. I have a bachelor’s degree in Radio-TV-Film and a minor in Public Relations from UW-Oshkosh, so this seemed like a great opportunity. 

What role are you filling with ONA?

I am the intern grant writer for Operation Not Alone. I hope to be able to use my writing skills to write compelling grant applications to win funds for ONA’s various projects. I also work on other video or writing projects. 

What is your “real” job? Why did you decide to start working at the VA?

I have started a new position at the Milwaukee Veteran’s hospital at the end of April. I am a Medical Support Assistant and help veterans schedule appointments, get them assistance while they stay in the hospital and a variety of other administrative tasks. I began working at the VA as a Food and Nutrition Services worker. I would deliver the patients their meals. I enjoy working at the VA because I like being able to provide care for veterans. They deserve the best possible care, and it is fulfilling to do my best to serve them!

What are your hobbies?

RIP concerts because of COVID, but before the pandemic I saw about 10 shows a year. I like to watch movies and go on walks/hikes. If I could swim everyday, I would. I’m working on my cooking skills — (I recently made some really tasty chicken teriyaki). I also help judge high school forensics. I used to do it in high school and it is fun for me to see others perform and provide feedback. 

What is your favorite book, podcast, and/or TV show and why?

Favorite book: I’ve read Harry Potter my fair share of times, but I really like to read a variety of different books. My three favorite genres are historical fiction, self-help, and young adult fiction. The best book that I recently read was The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. It’s a love story with greek mythology involved. 

Podcast: I’m not a huge listener of podcasts because I’d rather be listening to music! I am a huge Taylor Swift fan and have a stan Twitter account to keep up with her. I also like a lot of oldies music because that’s what I was raised on. I could talk about music all day and if I had my own podcast, it would be about music. 

Movie: Legally Blonde! I will never get sick of this movie. I love it’s blend of comedy with female empowerment. Plus, the “bend and snap” is LEGENDARY.

TV Show: Currently, it is Degrassi. I’m binge watching it on Tubi (love free streaming services!) The show takes place in the early 2000s at a Canadian middle/high school. The show is very progressive for its time, and it’s nostalgic for me because I watched a lot of episodes when I was younger. The ensemble cast offers many relatable characters and I’m a sucker for young adult drama. 

What inspires and motivates you?

I am motivated by the fact that each day is a new chance. If one day you make a mistake, you have the power to choose to do better the next day. I think my ability to not let the past hold me back has helped me to experience and achieve goals in my life. 

I am inspired by strong leaders, like Susan, who have a vision and work to execute their dreams. I think that determination is one of the most important factors to being successful. Women like Susan don’t let anything stand in their way. 

What do you want to be when you grow up? / What is your dream job?

I’m still figuring it out. There are so many opportunities in the world, and I wish that I could take advantage of them all. I hope to find a job where I can use my writing skills and creativity to make an impact for the organization that I work with. I think it would be really cool to work with NPR as an interview host/coordinator. 

Allison Foster

Director of Communications and Care Packages

Matilda Cretens

ONA Intern

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