The College of Humanities and Social Sciences encourages students to participate in internships that help them explore career options and acquire real-world experiences. In this Q & A, a student shares how her work with Stop Hunger Now, an international hunger relief agency started in 1998, intersects with knowledge she gained in the classroom.
Selena Amatya is a senior who is majoring in International Studies with a minor in Nonprofit Studies.
How did you locate this internship?
I found it through a faculty member - Dr. James Kiwanuka-Tondo in the Communication Department. I was considering different options for my summer and he encouraged me to reach out to Stop Hunger Now. Even though they didn't have a formalized internship, they worked with me and we were able to put together an internship that fit.
Briefly describe the internship.
My main responsibility was to complete the research needed for Stop Hunger Now's business plan for their expansion project in India. Day to day activities included international travel planning, reimbursements, responding to international volunteer requests, and other administrative duties.
How did your internship relate to your major, minor, career goals and personal interests?
This internship definitely has provided me with real-life, applicable knowledge: being hands-on and learning what goes into a business plan and expanding to other countries. Also, attending meetings with development discussions and staff meetings with the CEO was a huge advantage. My understanding of international cultures and thinking as a global citizen allowed me to contribute as well as ask meaningful questions. As a nonprofit minor, I was able to understand how a nonprofit worked and how all departments provide essential contributions to the success of an organization.
What are some things you learned?
I learned how many different parts to an organization there are. We often overlook the tasks that are necessary to keep an organization running smoothly. There are so many components that work together to maintain the functionality. I learned specifically how all organizations are also experiencing constant change. While Stop Hunger Now is growing and doing very well, they are always trying to learn how to do things better.
What were some of the challenges?
Well, I've never really had a full-time job like this. It was a big taste of the real world where you are given a task and just expected to complete it along with the other day to day things that come up. Additionally, going to work every day and being in a professional setting was a learning curve for me.
What were some of the rewards?
There were so many rewards it is hard to condense it. The biggest reward was being able to build incredible relationships with the people I worked with, including my supervisors. Their ability to guide me, encourage me, and really help me develop my skills was incredible. It was such a hands-on experience, where I knew that everything I was doing had a direct impact. I am proud to know that I was part of expanding an organization and had a hand in seeing the growth of an organization that is doing wonderful things.
Interview conducted by Dara Leeder.