After a three-day cross-country road trip I found myself in the land of seafood and Starbucks. I had made it to scenic Seattle — where city, mountains, and sea collide — to find myself spending my summer in a rather large mass of cubicles.
Over the last few years of serving with Anderson University Campus Ministries, I became more exposed to the world of nonprofits. Through these experiences and my courses in public relations I had gained a fair amount of experience working with smaller organizations. But I wanted to see how a larger nonprofit organization functions.
My internship search led me to the World Vision headquarters in Seattle, Wash. The organization’s website notes that, “World Vision is a Christian relief, development, and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families, and communities to overcome poverty and injustice.”
I was one of 40 interns at the headquarters this summer. I worked as a Communications/PR intern with their 30 Hour Famine team. 30 Hour Famine is an engagement program that teaches youth about global poverty, hunger and how they can respond. I worked with a very energetic and fast-paced team that allowed me to get hands-on experience in a wide variety of areas.
My projects included an array of different tasks such as loyalty marketing research, analyzing surveys, brainstorm meetings, and painting signs for upcoming conferences. I enjoyed getting a behind-the-scenes look at brainstorming, planning, and setting up conferences. I was also given the opportunity to lead training and team building for a group of teenagers who were given the opportunity to serve as ambassadors for the Famine.
World Vision provided us with opportunities to meet with people from across the organization, including World Vision U.S. President Richard Stearns. These sessions provided us with information and guidance about the organization, individual life stories, tips for entering careers, and how to determine whether to work at a for-profit or nonprofit organization.
Before I ever set foot in the headquarters, I knew that I would walk away with an amazing career experience over the course of this 12-week internship. However, I walked away with so much more than résumé skills.
Every person I came in contact with at World Vision was passionate about the work they were doing, whether it was answering calls, analyzing spreadsheets, or doing emergency relief around the world. They were all willing to tell their stories of how they got to World Vision and the impact it has had on their lives.
Working with such a large organization not only allowed me to see the many facets of the nonprofit world, but also gave me the opportunity to meet people from around the world and gain more awareness and a greater understanding of global issues.
In what was the quickest 12 weeks of my life, I learned more than I ever imagined about nonprofits, as well as myself. Through the culmination of my experiences both at AU and at World Vision, I now have a greater understanding of how I can use my skills and talents to impact the world, and I have gained more direction as I wrap up my final year at AU.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2011, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the eighth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.