“Apply all that you learn in school to the real world” was the advice one panelist gave fellow students at a recent “How I Got My Internship panel. Four students shared their non-profit internship experiences at the Career Center event. The panel was a great opportunity for underclassmen currently searching for internship opportunities to learn from those who have already gone through the process.
Elizabeth Foot ’20, a government major, took her interests in nutrition and children and applied them to her work with Project Peanut Butter, a nonprofit that seeks to treat children who are malnourished in sub-Saharan Africa. Foot located the opportunity through a Hamilton web resource that maps out the locations of students currently working or studying abroad. She found another student who worked with Project Peanut Butter, spoke to her and eventually landed the internship for the next summer. Foot’s interest in and dedication to the organization allowed her to obtain the internship as a rising junior, even though Project Peanut Butter is primarily a program for graduate students.
As a public policy major, Caitlin Berreitter ’20 knew that she wanted an internship that focused on democracy when she participated in Hamilton’s Washington D.C. program last semester. After countless hours of research, she reached out to the staff at Common Cause, a non-partisan, grassroots organization invested in maintaining democracy, and soon found herself working actively with the organization during the midterm election season—even on weekends.
Berreitter noted that this was her first internship experience, and it was exciting to see her impact on such a meaningful and important election. Further, it helped her to determine where in the NGO-world she hopes to work in the future (and the sectors in which she does not want to work as well).
Hamilton offers numerous options for internships, including summer internship funding sources, that provide important ways to explore careers. College funding allows students to take internships in which they otherwise might not be able to afford to participate.
Though he thought he would be interested in NGO-work and not educational non-profits, public policy major William Kaback ’20 described the transformative experience he had when he worked in an outdoor learning and leadership summer camp this past summer. As a counselor Kaback helped campers ages 8-16 develop their leadership and confidence skills; but, he also says that the job helped him learn about responsibility, professionalism, loyalty, and perseverance. “I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything else,” he remarked when describing the summer’s rewarding lessons.
Harry Dubke ’19, a world politics and Hispanic studies double major, worked for the International Republican Institute this past summer, an invaluable internship because of all the responsibilities and opportunities he had. He used lessons from both of his concentrations in his work—he remarked that an internship should allow one to “apply all that you learn in school to the real world.” Nevertheless, he suggests that it is not necessary to make your internship align with your focuses in school—instead, focus on your personal connections to and interests in the organization’s missions.