Lizy Garcia Ramirez was one of the first students to participate in the Internship Program having participated in Spring 2015 with Safe Passage. She also interned with Barb Food Mart in the Fall of 2015. She graduated from NIU in May 2016 with a major is Nonprofit and NGO Studies before going on to complete her Master of Public Administration in 2018.
Q: What was the biggest benefit and/or the coolest part of your internship experience?
Lizy: The coolest part was seeing how nonprofits in DeKalb County work in action. One thing is being taught theories during class, but another is being able to observe and experience different issues firsthand. An example is how these organizations function with short amount of staff and the complications that may come from this, but the amazing change they still create for the people they serve regardless of the circumstances. The biggest benefit was networking, and getting to know how things worked in DeKalb County. I still have friendships/mentors from this internship experience and I’m very grateful for them!
Q: In your opinion, why should students pursue internship opportunities?
Lizy: Students should pursue internship opportunities because it gives you a different perspective from class. In class, you can be told that fundraising is a huge part of nonprofits and it’s important to have diverse revenues. This makes sense and sounds easy, HOWEVER, when your interning you get a ‘behind the scenes’ look at how it is not easy at all and how different nonprofits have their unique fundraising style. It’s real-life, real-time lessons you learn that you cannot learn in a classroom or from a book.
Q: What are you up to now?
Lizy: I graduated with my MPA in December. I am currently working at the Illinois Student Assistance Commission helping students with the college-going process/post-secondary education opportunities. I live in Sycamore with my husband and I’m looking forward to where my nonprofit journey continues to take me. 🙂
Q: Please share any additional comments you have about your internship experience.
Lizy: Thank you to the Roberts Family Foundation for your support! This internship gave me the opportunity to pay for my school while also learning and growing in the area that I love. Also growing up in this area, it is so amazing to know that my community cares about others’ education and the need to empower one another. From the bottom of my heart, thank you very much for this experience!