Coming into the Futures in Advancement Internship Program, I knew that I would be given the opportunity to learn and grow both personally and professionally. What I did not realize was how far this program has come in developing advancement professionals. My cohort is the fourth class in this program which started back in the summer of 2016. We recently had the privilege of meeting alumni from the previous cohorts, during one of the sessions planned for us. To me, this was the most insightful days so far, as I was able to discuss my feelings towards the internship thus far, my concerns, and my aspirations; in return, I learned what the program meant for the alumni and how their professional paths developed because of their participation in the Futures in Advancement internship.
During our time with the former Futures Interns, the conversation was a back and forth dialogue of information that drew on some very powerful lessons. I learned that many of the past interns had returned to the foundation in varying professional capacities. For example, Sean Howard returned part-time after ending the first program, and a year later became the special projects coordinator for the Talent Management Team. Another alumnus currently works at the Douglas Residential College as an advancement assistant, and another former Futures intern works in development events. I also learned that the Futures in Advancement internship allowed them to find direction in their careers, as they were not sure where they wanted to go professionally before the program. The foundation has provided countless opportunities to past Futures interns and is currently giving us the same opportunity.
Through the rest of the day, we continued discussing their experience with the internship and asking questions. Tahsin Alam, Associate Vice President for Talent Management and Organizational Development, joined the group to discuss career planning. This discussion was particularly insightful as we were able to ask questions not only to him but to the Futures Alumni as well. I learned that keeping in contact with not only Tahsin but each other, the Foundation, and alumni would allow us to build a well-rounded professional network when applying for jobs. As a result of this internship, many of the graduated alumni found professional opportunities, while those who were still in school gained resume-building experiences. Tahsin provided advice on applying for jobs and what we might expect from our first job search. For me, this was useful as I had taken a year off after I received my undergraduate degree. I was able to see what I needed to change and how to better leverage my skills this time around. Overall, I felt more professionally empowered.
After alumni day, I can honestly say that I know I made the right choice in accepting the offer to join the Futures in Advancement internship. I learned that the advancement profession can give professionals a unique skill set that can be applied in many different careers both in and out of the profession. I learned that I am capable in any career that I choose, and being a part of this program has proven this fact all along. There have been many people that have come through this program; each with a unique skill set, background, and personality. Advancement is about building relationships, engagement, and development for the future. This program has already given me the opportunity to build those connections, and I realized how important that is for many industries. I hope that throughout the next 7 weeks, I continue to grow into the professional I know that I am. Alumni Day was an extremely valuable day, where I was able to see how this internship experience will impact my future.
Elizabeth Hunt is a Futures in Advancement intern with the Alumni Engagement Team