Before going off to college, I had always heard that internships and opportunities that one was presented with while in school would help them land their future career. Little did I know how true this would be for me when beginning my journey at Butler University.
Before my first-year began, I decided to declare my major in Organizational Communication and Leadership in the College of Communication. After much research, I determined that this seemed like the best fit for the combination of my primary interests; planning events and nonprofit organizations. Along the way, I picked up a double major in Critical Communication and Media Studies. The two majors coincided well and provided me with a solid foundation in my professional development as well as communication skills.
My sophomore year of college was when I realized how applicable my major was going to be in the real world. I landed my first internship with Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). My primary task was to help with the silent auction at JDRF Indiana’s Promise Gala. Working on the silent auction, I helped secure over 300 auction items that we then bundled together to sell in larger packages the night of the event. By the end of Gala, the silent auction had brought in over $70,000.
When my internship with JDRF concluded, I knew that I wanted my next opportunity to be with another nonprofit organization doing similar work. October of my junior year, I received my second internship with Riley Children’s Foundation. In this internship, my energy was focused on helping with a variety of third party events as well as miscellaneous office duties. Each day presented a new set of tasks ranging from drafting letters to families treated at Riley Hospital for Children all the way to organizing and attending fundraisers which benefitted the hospital.
Before my senior year began, I heard that JDRF was looking for summer help. I applied for and accepted the open internship and was excited to be back at JDRF. This internship was centered around helping plan the Indianapolis One Walk that would take place in October. Not far into the summer, JDRF was looking to hire a full-time Development Coordinator that required 35+ hours of work each week and provided the opportunity to have a large play in the logistics and fundraising aspects of the fundraisers that JDRF would hold throughout the state of Indiana. I knew this was a career that I’d be interested in post-graduation and decided to apply for the opening; despite having one year left of college. Just a few days before my senior year started, I was offered the position.
With the guidance and support of Professor Scott Bridge, Internship Director for the Butler University College of Communication, I was able to manage a full-time schedule with JDRF and remain in a full course load at Butler. Through the internships and internship program that I had been a part of my first three years of schooling, I was able to gain a skillset which an employer saw value in prior to me receiving my diploma. While the real world might’ve started a year earlier than I had anticipated, it was a great opportunity that I had because of the successful internship program at Butler University. Today, I am still working with a focus in special events and fundraising at JDRF and love every day. My passion for planning events and helping others has continued to blossom into a career field that I hope to be in for years to come.