From Futures Intern to Full-Time Leadership Gift Officer

Catherine Emery

The Futures in Advancement Program is a ten-week summer internship at the Rutgers University Foundation, the fundraising arm of Rutgers.  Over the 10 weeks, interns are given a professional workplace experience and an education on the many facets of development. I participated in the program this past summer and, this fall I applied and was accepted into a full-time position as a Leadership Giving Officer with the RBHS team. I truly enjoy speaking about what my experience was like because the internship has had lasting impacts on my career!

An important takeaway from the Futures in Advancement program is the great emphasis on professional growth. The Rutgers University Foundation supports the fundraising efforts of the University, and the Futures program are exposes participants to front line fundraising, data analytics, strategy and planning, revenue processing, communications, and so much more. The internship takes you through these several occupational possibilities by tasking interns with meaningful individual placements, group assignments, professional development workshops, and valuable networking opportunities. A highlight of the program is that the cohort gets to present their group project to the entire foundation at the conclusion of the summer. If you find interest in development, or in another field, the Rutgers Foundation wants to help you find success throughout your professional path.

Photo by John O’Boyle

In my experience, I was still in the process of figuring out where I wanted to begin my career and this was something that I was open about from the beginning of the program and something that was welcomed by those I worked with at the Foundation. I had received my MSW because listening to others was something that I enjoyed and valued. I wanted to make a career out of building relationships but didn’t know exactly how to break into that; I also had an interest in fundraising but was unsure if I had the skills needed to be successful in it. While working with the Principal Gifts team, I rotated through diverse fundraising departments, which allowed me to interact with crucial support teams at the Foundation. With the help of the Talent Management team, I was able to make an informed decision about my career that was based on my skillsets and interests—finding a path that would both challenge and excite me. Because of my experience, I walked away from the program ready to move into fundraising!

When I transitioned into my full-time position, I felt a unique preparation that I would not have felt if I did not have the internship experience. This isn’t just because I was familiar with the Rutgers University Foundation; it was because I learned how to present myself as a professional and navigate a workplace. I felt excitement to begin because I was no longer afraid of facing professional challenges. I had confidence in my skills. I would tell anyone to pursue the Futures in Advancement Program! The program welcomes students of all majors and creates an experience that will help them grow within their interests. This is evident among the success of the past four cohorts. Futures in Advancement is a one-of-a-kind program and I am so lucky to have been a part of it!

Futures in Advancement. 5/29/19. Photo by John O’Boyle

One thought on “From Futures Intern to Full-Time Leadership Gift Officer

  1. Hailey Lemasters

    So proud of you, Catherine! It was a pleasure working with you over the summer. I’m wishing you lots of success and happiness in this new role. Hopefully I’ll see you around the office 🙂


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