When Danielle Taylor, ’13, a double major in leadership studies and chemistry, was offered an internship with one of the world’s leading financial management and advisory companies, she saw it as an opportunity to learn about global markets, gain corporate experience and invest in her future.

Thanks to the internship, she was able to invest in others’ futures as well.

“One of the financial advising teams at the company wanted to start a nonprofit organization to help children in foster care,” says Taylor. “The company encourages employees to follow their goals, so they were looking for an intern to do research and ultimately write a business plan.”

Taylor was given a budget of $250,000. After eight weeks, she had written a business plan for a new 501(c)(3), or nonprofit organization.

The company is still finalizing some of the details but plans to execute Taylor’s plan.

“They provided me with a mission statement, a list of contacts, a deadline and said ‘good luck,’” says Taylor. “The rest was up to me. I made phone calls, set up interviews and conference calls, researched budgets, tax codes and human resources for small businesses, and worked to figure out the problems they might face.”

The knowledge she gained from her leadership studies classes proved to be invaluable during the process and helped her communicate effectively to create social change, she says.

“In my Critical Thinking class with Dr. Terry Price, I also learned not to take everything at face value and to look at problems from multiple perspectives. This was helpful because the government and nonprofit organizations have different views on the foster care system.”

Taylor is making every effort to get the most out of her undergraduate experience to prepare for a career in health care law and reform. The internship, which is required for leadership studies majors, was another step in that direction.

She is also pursuing a minor in law and the liberal arts and spending the second half of the summer participating in study abroad through the Jepson at Cambridge program.  

By the time she graduates, her diverse academic portfolio will include spending a summer in a chemistry research lab, taking classes in Comparative Public Law and Legal History of the Common Law System at Cambridge, writing a business plan for a nonprofit organization and being part of the Richmond Debate Team.

Studying abroad and completing an internship in the same summer was challenging but rewarding, she says.

“Juggling schedules is something you have to learn to accomplish in today’s fast-paced world. I learned a lot from both experiences.”