Danielle participated in the Internship Program during the spring semester of 2017. She majored in Nonprofit & NGO Studies with a minor in Communications at Northern Illinois University.
Q: What was the biggest benefit and/or the best part of your internship experience?
Danielle: The greatest benefits from participating in the Internship Program were the professional development opportunities that were offered through DCNP and being able to practice my networking/soft skills. As a college student, I struggled with self-confidence and trusting my own knowledge. Being able to network helped me find my voice and gain confidence navigating uncomfortable situations. Of course learning the programmatic and development aspects of running an organization was great exposure as well, especially with mentors like Jill Olson and Jessica Sandlund, who were truly dedicated to my growth within the organization. My internship also lead me to my first full time job post-graduation.
Q: In your opinion, why should students pursue internship opportunities?
Danielle: One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned as I’ve grown in my career is this: We learn more from our mistakes, than from our successes. An internship offers a low risk introduction to your field. During my internship I learned to ask A LOT of questions and that messing up is ok – as long as you take accountability and offer a solution. What helped me thrive in my internship was being able to reflect and having a mentor that I could go to when I needed support. The DCNP internship is a great way to dip your toes in the water, figure out what your likes and dislikes are, and how to transition from college student to young professional.
Q: What are you up to now?
Danielle: I am currently working for Jane Addams Resource Corporation in Chicago as Director of Development, Data and Communications. My organization specializes in workforce development for careers within the manufacturing sector. I love what I do and the people I work with. I am also in the final stages of my Masters program. I am working towards an MS in Educational Research and Evaluation, and recently I joined the Board of Directors for Foster Progress (another Chicago based nonprofit). I have discovered I am very interested in data and how organizations measure their outcomes as well as how they communicate client stories. I have worked and volunteered for numerous organizations, and what I love most is hearing how an organization has changed someone’s life for the better.
Q: Please share any additional comments you have about your internship experience.
Danielle: Thank you to the Roberts Family Foundation for supporting such an instrumental program.
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.