Hometown: Cary, North Carolina
Academics: Leadership studies major; Latin American and Iberian studies and law and the liberal arts minor
Career aspiration: International nonprofit organization, event planning
Internship: Pencils of Promise, a nonprofit organization

You are working as an intern with Pencils of Promise, a nonprofit organization that focuses on global education. What made you decide to intern with the organization?

My interest in nonprofit organizations started during my Justice and Civil Society course where we were required to complete 30 community service hours. I decided to become a mentor at the Youth Life Foundation Center and I realized the importance of a quality education that I always took for granted. After spending six months studying abroad and traveling in South America, Europe and Africa, I realized that education is not accessible everywhere and the cycle of poverty prevents many children from having the opportunity to learn. I became determined to find an internship where I could work toward a mission I believe in and could see the positive results of my hard work.

How did you find and land the internship?

During my internship search over winter break, a family friend told me about Pencils of Promise, a nonprofit organization that builds schools in developing countries and trains young leaders to take action at home and abroad. The Community Engagement internship offered at Pencils of Promise encompassed everything I was looking for and after the phone interview in March, I knew it was the perfect place to complete my internship. The director I interviewed with asked several questions to test my creativity and ability to work well in the upbeat atmosphere. One week later, I received confirmation that I would be starting in May.

What kind of projects are you working on, and do you have a favorite?

The Community Engagement team is broken up into several smaller teams. I am assigned to Special Projects, meaning my tasks vary depending on the campaigns we are running or upcoming events. My favorite project was directing a show that we live-streamed for the thousands of participants in our latest campaign, Schools 4 All. We had the event to celebrate that we raised enough money to build 14 schools in less than three months. The campaign involved students throughout the U.S. and Canada fundraising to win a visit from Justin Bieber and Pencils of Promise founder, Adam Braun, at their school. My next project entails helping organize the free leadership and social entrepreneurship seminars we are offering to local high school students this summer.

How are you applying what you’ve learned in your leadership studies classes?

I am applying lessons learned in my Critical Thinking and Research Methods classes. Since the organization is just shy of three years old, it is still in the development stages and research is necessary to see what is most effective for expanding the organization. We conduct surveys and analyze the data to ensure we are meeting the needs and wants of the directors, interns and supporters. The large range of skills we learn through the Jepson School are enhanced through constant communication and the ability to lead your own project.

Is this the kind of job you see yourself doing in the future?

I would love to work at Pencils of Promise in the future, but I know the availability of paid jobs is often limited in nonprofit organizations. Now that I have experienced such a positive and inspiring work atmosphere, I can’t see myself happy working in an office lacking these qualities. I also love having the opportunity to work with so many different projects here because the work never gets old.