Intern Spotlight – Grace Searles

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Intern Spotlight – Grace Searles

Grace Searls is a Psychology major with a minor in Nonprofit and NGO Studies. Grace serves as an intern with CASA DeKalb County this fall as part of the Internship Program.

Q: What project(s) are you working on as an intern?

Grace: I am the Social Media & Marketing Intern, so I am mainly using Canva as a tool to create visual content that aligns with the information that is being shared on the various social media platforms. I am also involved in recruitment and event marketing doing tasks like creating media and notifying public event bulletins to promote them. I have also learned a bit about gift processing and tracking donor information. I have also been involved in creating content for volunteer recruitment, which is always a central goal at CASA DeKalb County.

Q: What is the biggest benefit and/or the best part of your internship experience?

Grace: Personally, I very much enjoy working with the members of CASA. I feel very lucky to have been paired with them as an organization. It has been a wonderful gift in feeling so welcomed to listen and learn from their operational responsibilities as well as being given the freedom to ask questions and offer any applicable insight. I especially have an added benefit being at CASA DeKalb County because of my mentors, Jessica Sandlund and Emma Warner, who were both NIU/NGO interns themselves in the program and have offered such valuable insight and guidance. I am very grateful to be working with them and the Executive Director, Jill Olson, who has participated in this internship program for many years and has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share.

Q: In your opinion, why should students pursue internship opportunities?

Grace: The obvious answer is that it is a very rewarding experience, but I really think that the structure of an internship does allow students to explore their personal goals and professional identity in a relatively “low-stakes” environment which allows them to gain valuable experience in a less stressful way. It offers a period of time in which you can freely embrace being a beginner, which in itself offers valuable lessons while investigating potential future positions that you maybe hadn’t been aware of or interested in prior to having the opportunity to try it.

Q: Please share any additional comments you have about your internship experience. 

Grace: Thank you so much to the Roberts Family Foundation for your generosity in supporting the developing professionals in the nonprofit world. The impact of this internship opportunity — I know for me, my fellow classmates, and the others before us — has long-lasting and compounded positive effects. This provides an opportunity to begin building new kinds of work experience, professional relationships, and knowledge that simply wouldn’t be possible without this partnership. My deepest gratitude to Doug and Lynn Roberts for establishing this Foundation and starting this legacy of opportunity.

The Internship Program is a collaboration between the DeKalb County Nonprofit Partnership, the Center for Nonprofit Studies, and Career Services at Northern Illinois University, supported by the Douglas C. and Lynn M. Roberts Family Foundation.

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