Summer Internship Series: Community Engagement and Service

Alena Lassen ’18

OhioGuidestone, Cleveland, Ohio

My name is Alena Lassen, and I am a senior pursuing a double major in Anthropology/Sociology and Women and Gender Studies. This summer I was given the honor of interning at OhioGuidestone. I was a clinical intern able to learn from social workers and psychologists about research and working with clients struggling with mental illness and substance abuse.

OhioGuidestone is a non-profit based in Cleveland, Ohio that offers a range of services to low-income clients who are struggling with a dual diagnosis of substance abuse and mental illness. Guidestone offers a variety of different programs and services meant to give their clients the support and guidance they require in order to live with mental illness. Through programs such as residential treatment, its charter school called Stepstone, and individual and group therapy, OhioGuidestone is known as an organization that will take on and work with any and all clients even if they have turned away by similar organizations.

I, and my fellow clinical interns, worked closely with both OhioGuidestone’s research department and charter school, as well as with a variety of social workers and psychologists conducting both group and individual therapy. I helped work on an ongoing research initiative examining the extent to which joy promotes resiliency to toxic stress in children, and also helped run a parent group at the Stepstone Academy (Guidestone’s charter school). Additionally, I was able to shadow my supervisor Yami Napoles, as she worked with individual clients, as well as other therapists as they conducted group sessions. Specifically, I was able to regularly attend an IOP group that OhioGuidestone offered. This is a support group designed to help individuals struggling with substance abuse by putting them in contact with other recovering addicts, as well as a trained therapist.

I learned an incredible amount at OhioGuidestone about what it means to engage with a variety of different clients as they are in the midst of incredibly complex struggles. By observing therapists working with both groups and individual clients, I was able to get a sense of the sorts of skills that are important for conducting therapy. Additionally I learned quite a lot about the demands that social workers and psychologists face in terms of confusing, irregular schedules and emotionally challenging jobs. My supervisor, as well as everyone else I have the privilege of working with, gave me incredible advice about ways to organize one’s time in order to be a helpful resource and confidant for future clients. Therefore my experience at OhioGuidestone definitely prepared me for my future career as a social worker.

I am so incredibly grateful for all the opportunities and learning that both Denison and OhioGuidestone offered me this summer through my internship experience. I would especially like to thank my director supervisor, Yami Napoles, as well as Rebecca Bernstein who is in charge of Guidestone’s summer internship experience, Robert Dick who ran the IOP group I shadowed, Brittany Pope from Guidestone’s research department, and everyone at Stepstone Academy for helping to enrichment my internship experience and offering me such incredible learning experiences this summer. Finally, I would like to thank Denison for its excellent advice regarding summer internships, and the donor who made it financially possible for me to consider taking this internship at all, Mr. Wallace Burke, Sherman Fairchild Foundation

Summer Internship Series: Shoes and Clothes for Kids

Gena Banta-Long ’18

Shoes and Clothes for Kids, Cleveland, Ohio

My name is Gena and I’m a senior PPE major. This past summer I lived and worked in Cleveland as a Summer on the Cuyahoga intern with Shoes and Clothes for Kids. For the past 50 years, this nonprofit has been dedicated with providing free school uniforms and supplies to kids in need in the Cleveland area. It recently acquired another nonprofit that focuses on school supplies and helping out Cleveland teachers As a strong proponent of education, I was glad to have the opportunity to work with an amazing nonprofit.

Every day of my internship was different. Most days I directed and worked with volunteer groups, collaborated with others to reorganize our space to be more efficient, or participated in the organization’s special projects. I worked with volunteer groups to maximize our output as we had to a quota of uniforms to pack a day. I was able to polish my communication, organization and problem solving skills throughout my eight weeks.

My supervisor Monica was super funny, willing to work with me and helped me to succeed as an intern. I really appreciated her willingness to get to know me, hear me out when I was frustrated and worked with me to resolve the problems. She was a major part in making this internship manageable. I also had an amazing coworker, Kim, whose friendships and understanding really helped me to get through the summer.

After this summer, I realized that I won’t go into nonprofit work until later in my career. I do very greatly appreciate SOTC, especially Jean Koehler, and the Denison alumni network in supporting me throughout the summer.

Summer Internship Series: A Summer at Shriners Hospital

Thiele Schroeder ’18

Shriners Hospitals for Children, Boston, Massachusetts 

My name is Thiele Schroeder and I am a senior Communication major and Psychology minor. This past summer, I worked at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Boston in the Development Department.

Shriners Hospitals are non-profit organizations. Each hospital specializes in specific pediatric treatments. They pay for every patient’s medical care regardless of the family’s ability to pay. As a result, the Development Department is extremely important in order to fund the expensive medical procedures that come with treating severe medical conditions. The Boston location treats mostly burn patients.

Throughout the summer I was helping plan the organizations 50th Anniversary events. I utilized my corporate event planning skills that I learned during the summer of 2016 and learned new skills pertaining to fundraising and creating relationships with corporations through grant writing. I was in charge of finding venues for the 50th Anniversary Gala, accompanying the Director of Development on site visits, creating mailing lists of possible donors, and developing pre-event material for donors and corporations in the area.

I was the only intern in the office and consequently was assigned major projects and built a strong relationship with my mentor. While I was working mainly for the Director of Development, I worked in a small office so I worked collaboratively and completed projects for the other two permanent positions in the office, as well. All three women in the office genuinely wanted me to learn skills that would be applicable through my career path. Without their desire for me to learn, I would not have been challenged to attempt projects that I had no previous experience in. Although I was encouraged to step outside of my comfort zone more than I expected to be, those instances of discomfort made me produce my best work and enforced skills that I will utilize across my future professions. It was an invaluable summer.

After this internship, I have adjusted my aspirations for my career path. Although I would still love to end up coordinating and planning corporate events, I realized that I have a strong passion for non-profits with a mission that aligns with my personal values. Because of this, I realized that I would love to work to improve communication between corporations and non-profits in their respective area in order to enhance community relations and outreach.

I would like to thank everyone in the Development Office at Shriners Hospital – Boston for an incredible summer and for allowing me to experience a new field of work.

Summer Internship Series: Big Apple, Little Al

Allison Schacht ’18
God’s Love We Deliver, SoHo, New YorkLogo for god's love we deliver - an image of a hand white over red heart

My name is Allison Schacht and I am a senior Psychology major, with a Queer Studies concentration. This summer I interned at a non-profit called God’s Love We Deliver, located in SoHo, New York. God’s Love essentially works with clients who suffer from a range of diagnoses (a list of over 200) that prohibit them from being able to cook or grocery shop for themselves. The organization cooks, prepares and delivers thousands of meals every day to individuals free of charge.

I have always been involved in various non-profit organization throughout my life, but I wanted to actually spend a significant amount of time working “behind the scenes” to see how things actually run. I was a research intern for the COO and did a variety projects such as how to broaden the volunteer base of certain sections of the organization and completing a video promo for their website. I was also able to complete client paperwork and understand how much work goes into a non-profit every single day in order to keep things running smoothly.

Since this was my first time working in this type of an office setting, I developed confidence and skills regarding how I behaved and interacted in a work setting. Throughout the summer, I was able to complete a volunteer shift with each additional section of the organization: kitchen, packaging, and delivery. Helping deliver the food was definitely the most impactful because I was able to meet the clients and get a true sense of how much they relied on this organization.

Working for God’s Love We Deliver was a great experience for me, motivating me to continue my involvement with non-profit organizations after graduation.   

Summer Internship Series: My Summer at a Non-Profit Organization

Delaney Nollman ’19
Finance & Operations intern, Leukemia &Lymphoma SocietyLeukemia &lymphoma society: fighting blood cancers logo

Hi! My name is Delaney and I am an Economics major at Denison. I am going into my Junior year of college and spent the last summer interning as a Finance & Operations intern at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

This summer, I learned how to work and interact professionally, which is something I value tremendously. I learned how to conduct myself in an office setting, work with others, and contribute as an individual team member.
I helped collected roughly $30,000 of funds for LLS. This was a great accomplishment that I am able to advertise on my resume now. It has been very rewarding to see hard work translate onto paper. Every day, I worked to collect funds for the organization. A lot of this collection was done by processing wired funds or matching gifts that had been made on behalf of the organization. This work required a lot of analytical thinking. I almost felt like a detective trying to piece together where certain funds were etc.

I really enjoyed working alongside my supervisor. She was extremely supportive and helpful. She would always leave me detailed notes at the beginning of the day, usually presenting me with tasks for the day and how to complete them. Her attention to detail prevented me from having to ask her a million questions a day, which was something I found to be extremely helpful.

Although I enjoyed my time working in for an NPO, the internship highlighted the difficulties of the industry. Ideally, I would like to take the finance related skills that I learned during my internship, and apply them to a career in a financial services firm. For my first career, I do not think I will pursue working for a Non-Profit. Instead, I will try to incorporate philanthropy in my life in alternative ways.

Summer Internship Series: Internships in the Golden State

Celena Gilmore ’18
Gallery Intern, Jack Rutberg Fine Arts, Los Angeles, California
Developments Intern, 18th Street Arts Center, Los Angeles, CaliforniaJack rutberg fine arts gallery

My name is Celena Gilmore and I am a senior member of the BFA program with a minor in education. This summer I completed two internships in Los Angeles. I always love to challenge myself by entering new environments and putting myself in complex but ultimately rewarding situations. This summer was a prime example as I, a small town girl from rural Ohio, headed to Los Angeles, California to experience the west coast for the first time in my life.

With the help of Melanie Murphy and the resources of the Knowlton Center, I was able to find two amazing internship opportunities. One was with Jack Rutberg Fine Arts as a Gallery Intern. I had already obtained experience in art galleries, but I knew from experience that each gallery has new information to offer about their methods. What was amazing about this experience is that I was able to work alongside the entrepreneur himself. Jack guided me through their categorization system along with other staff. I was responsible for entering new works, keeping track of works that were being loaned out to other venues or exhibits, and sold works. When works were being sold or loaned, I was responsible for keeping track of all pieces that were being taken, and ensuring their safe arrival/return. My overall responsibility was to assist in all facets of gallery work.

Summer internship series: internships in the golden state - 18th-street-arts-gallery-celena-gilmore.jpg image #1The second internship I had was with one of the largest artist residency programs in California, 18th Street Arts Center. I was a Developments Intern, and to be honest, I was not entirely sure what this meant when I accepted the position. However, I wanted experience with nonprofit arts organizations. I was lucky to have such an amazing supervisor, Joy Kliewer. She is a freelance development director who was commissioned by 18th Street. She was always excited about showing me all that goes into making this organization function, especially in regards to making asks and applying for grants. My role was to help research donors and create profiles that will be used for making asks. Every donor was treated equally no matter the amount that they gave. For each donation, i was then responsible for creating thank you letters, distributing donor gifts and matching gifts, and keeping a steady and open correspondence with all contacts. I also contributed to the grant writing process by creating templates and beginning the process of the grant applications. I would research information about the organization, specific artists in residence, and upcoming projects in order to ensure that I was putting the most relevant information into the applications. No matter the project, Joy made sure that I was involved so that I would have the fullest and most holistic experience possible.

Through these internships, I have not only learned many diverse and highly applicable skills, but I have also made valuable and meaningful connections with individuals both in the gallery management and nonprofit fields.

Summer Internship Series: My Human Rights Summer

Ivanna Salgado ’18

Immigration Organizer Intern, Chicago Religious Leadership Network, Chicago, Illinois   

My name is Ivanna Salgado and I am currently a senior at Denison University. I am double majoring in Women’s and Gender Studies and English Literature. This past summer, I interned with the Chicago Religious Leadership Network as an immigration organizer.

When I first received the McMahon recognition, I mentioned that I was involved with the Denison community through the activism in campus and outside of campus. I had done a lot of the organizing in campus through Amnesty International. My goal for this summer was to learn grassroots organizing so I could come back and teach it to my team and to organize with outside communities.As an immigration organizer intern, I was able to build stronger relationships with over 20 congregations, which were relationships that could never be replaced. These congregations had interest in creating a more inclusive community by teaching its members about social justice movement through training. I also wrote blogs about them. For example, for the University Church, I wrote an article about their Sanctuary Café, which was very exciting and worthy.

One of my favorite experiences was learning about the sanctuary city in Chicago, which actually inspired my senior thesis. Chicago is known to be a sanctuary city under the Welcoming City Ordinance; however, it still violates the 4th amendment rights of those who are undocumented and documented. For example, the Chicago police have been working with ICE by passing along information to deport immigrants who don’t have any criminal records other than crossing the border without documents. Another example is that the Chicago police has been arresting children that lead them to having bad criminal record. Most of the people that are affected are people of color and low-income communities.

Although in the past I had only focused on undocumented immigrants, this internship taught me about expanding sanctuary. This topic is about expanding sanctuary not only to undocumented immigrants but also offer sanctuary beyond the physical mortar walls to people who are often discriminated and are documented.

For my senior thesis, I will be exploring this topic through theory by redefining citizenship in the United States. I will be writing an essay and turning it into a project throughout my senior year. Half of it is field research, which I am personally excited. I hope with the right guidance, I will able to get my message across and build stronger relationships with those who believe we get handed everything. Working with the campaign, personally, gave a me a broader perspective of what non-profits do and pushed me to accomplish my future dream as a lawyer and as a social entrepreneur

This internship taught me to be flexible from working remotely, to going to protests, to going to speak to alderman, going to congregations, and working in the office. I definitely recommend students who want to learn about human rights and grassroots organizing to apply. Cinthya Rodiguez, my supervisor, was amazing and great young woman who has a lot of passion for the work that she conducts as an organizer. She has built a great reputation amongst many organizations in Chicago. This was an amazing opportunity.

If you have any questions about my experience, please feel free to contact me. I would be more than happy to talk with you!

Summer Internship Series: Helping Students Prepare for College

Mike Angelo ’19
Summer Completion Coach, College Forward, Austin, Texas

My name is Mike Angelo, I am a junior Environmental Studies major with an Educational Studies minor.  This summer I had the privilege of serving as a Summer Completion Coach at College Forward in Austin, TX.

College Forward is a non-profit college access organization that serves students across Texas in an access program and across the country in a persistence program. The primary focus of College Forward is to equip low-income and first generation college students with the tools and support to graduate with a college degree. Among other things, College Forward mentors, teaches, and empowers their students beginning junior year of high school. This summer I worked in a summer bridge program designed to assist students preparing to enter their first year of college. The cohort of interns I worked with did some typical intern activities, filing and organizing to mention some, but we were also given ample opportunities to participate in committee work and projects.

My principal responsibility was contacting students in my caseload. This was an intimidating responsibility–calling students who were only two years younger than me sounded like an awkward task. And I’ll admit, it was! However, College Forward was such a conducive environment for me to develop and enhance the necessary skills and before I knew it, I was comfortably calling students left and right.

My supervisor, Melissa Aleman, was phenomenal, to say the least. With every meeting, it became more and more evident that Melissa cared about my growth professionally. She was extremely helpful with guiding me on setting personal goals throughout the summer, and she was sure to help me get the most of my experience with the company. She also helped me translate my many ideas into action items around the office, which really made me feel like I was making a contribution to the company. Ultimately, I think the most important thing I learned from Melissa is that a supervisor isn’t someone to fear or be intimidated by, they are someone who really is there for you.

This summer I had the opportunity of interviewing candidates for the full year position. This was as daunting as it sounds. After a couple training sessions with HR, I was ready to sit in on an interview. Due to timing, I was only able to participate in one interview, but there was an extremely unexpected learning opportunity from this. Being on the interviewer side taught me that interviewers are just normal people who are looking to have a conversation with you. This experience was the single best professional development opportunity I received this summer, and I believe that it will really help me in the future relieve the stress of an interview.

I also had many opportunities to take leadership on projects this summer. One highlight was creating a resource guide for the full-time employees to learn and relay information about beneficial programs in the area to their students. I volunteered to lead this project to gain experience leading a project in an office setting. I was able to learn how to lead productive meetings and effective ways of communicating with my team. This was also my first experience setting deadlines and preliminary deadlines in a professional setting. At the end of this project, I felt a sense of accomplishment among the other interns on the team as we presented our final resource guide to our supervisor.

My summer at College Forward has helped me guide my professional goals and give me an insight into my future career. I know now more than ever that I want to work in an environment where I can help students and my experiences at College Forward have helped solidify that decision.

I would like to thank Melissa Aleman and her fellow Program Managers, Rachel Van Middlesworth and Ashley An along with everybody at College Forward for an enriching experience this summer.