Elizabeth Kessler '10 is Intern at Non-Profit Family Partnership Center

Elizabeth Kessler '10 finds that helping people can be a full-time job. For her internship this summer, Kessler is working at the Family Partnership Center (FPC) in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. She helps the president of the center to coordinate initiatives and facilitate collaboration between the 23 organizations in the building, in order enrich relationships within the center and improve its services. "If these organizations do not reach out to each other, the FPC becomes just one more regular old office building," she says.

As it stands, the center is anything but a regular office building. The FPC houses a multitude of organizations offering services from food pantry facilities, legal mediation, and health care to job training and theater and arts programs. "It's the most comprehensive human service facility I have ever encountered," says Kessler. "The FPC plays an integral part in providing Poughkeepsie residents with big and small services alike."

Kessler was looking for an internship this summer that would allow her to be close to her home of Pleasant Valley, N.Y. She became interested when she heard about this position, which would give her exposure to a wide array of people and service agencies. Of her job, Kessler says that one of the greatest advantages is that she can get to know people she might not usually meet. A wide spectrum of individuals passes through the center, and she finds it fascinating to work with such a varied group. Another advantage, she says, is to work with 20 other concerned students who are also interning at the FPC.

This is Kessler's first internship, and she says that it has provided her with valuable experience, exposing her to "the ups and downs of working for non-profit agencies." She is undecided whether or not to continue in the non-profit sector for a career, but says that experience in the field is giving her an understanding of people that she finds universally relevant.

A resident advisor at Bundy West last year, Kessler already has considerable experience working with other people. She coordinates Study Buddies, a group on campus that tutors inner-city middle school students, and she took an active role in presenting the college administration with a new green energy proposal, which she hopes will pass this year as part of the budget.

Kessler is one of 14 students who have received summer stipends from the Joseph F. Anderson Internship Fund, established in honor of a 1944 Hamilton graduate who served the College for 18 years as vice president for communications and development. The fund was established by fellow alumni in recognition of his long-standing association and commitment to Hamilton. It provides individual stipends to support full-time internships for students wishing to expand their educational horizons in preparation for potential careers after graduation. 

-- by Laura Bramley
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