The View from a Future

Rutgers Futures in Advancement.  6/28/17 Photo by John O’Boyle

After a short moment of silence at the first meeting of the SIDAR interns and the Futures interns, bursts of laughter ensued. Over the past weeks, the current interns have heard nothing but high praises about the inaugural cohort, and we were able to experience why. Hearing stories from our units about how the past interns went above and beyond their duties made the inaugural cohort seem like celebrities, which is probably why the Futures cohort was so quiet when meeting them—we were star struck! We spent time getting to know and learn from our program’s veterans. We heard great insight on how to work together as a cohort and the Futures interns were able to see the deep friendships that resulted from this internship. After hours of giving and receiving great advice on how to make the most of this internship, and more importantly, where to get the best pies; both cohorts ended the day with cheery smiles.

When sitting in a conference room surrounded by the inspiring SIDAR cohort, I realized how unique each intern is, and how each contribute to an overall standard of excellence in the foundation. Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” A habit of excellence was certainly established with the inaugural cohort of interns. They excelled during their ten weeks and were amazing predecessors for the following Futures to have. Every intern who has been selected exudes excellence in how they present themselves and the Rutgers University Foundation. With almost all of the former interns either employed, or pursuing a master’s degree, it is clear that this excellent, ambitious, and entrepreneurial spirit is noticed by many people.

When thinking about an internship, most imagine the quintessential meaning of the word—making copies, getting coffee, or doing tedious work that was passed onto you because no one else wanted to do it. Futures in Advancement is unlike a “quintessential” internship. The goal of this program is to provide interns with real-life work experience and first-hand knowledge about a growing career field in development. The program planners place the interns in departments where they can truly contribute to the best of their abilities. Every department sees the potential of the interns and makes sure to utilize their creative and hard-working spirit. The Futures are not assigned tasks just to keep them busy, but rather given assignments that challenge their intellect and academic abilities. Every day, we are learning something new and expanding our knowledge of working in a professional environment. I am confident that when my time with this internship is completed, I will have gained the tools and experience needed to excel in my professional career. Within the past few weeks, time has flown by so quickly and I’ve learned so much. There is no greater experience than feeling that your work is appreciated, and your thoughts and input are valued. The foundation has given me the tools to excel myself and expand my professional knowledge. This internship has been one of the best ways I’ve spent my summer and I’ve been fortunate enough to spend it with such an amazing group of people.

Rutgers Futures in Advancement
Rutgers Futures in Advancement. 6/5/17 Photo by John O’Boyle


Mannela Iparraguirre is a Futures intern with Donor Relations

On the Other Side of the Table


It’s funny, sometimes, when I think about how much has changed since mid-May of 2016 when I announced to the world (aka Facebook) that I’d be taking an internship at the Rutgers University Foundation in the Summer Internship in Development and Alumni Relations (SIDAR) program. Through SIDAR, I have realized a passion that I did not recognize before: I love philanthropy. From the nuts and bolts of researching to the concept of strategic planning where the Foundation will be headed, I fell in love with development and advancement. As many say, “falling” is a trend in this field, and I’ve fallen hard. Fast forward to May of 2017, and I’ve graduated Rutgers University-Newark and have begun my role as Special Projects Coordinator in the Department of Talent Management at the Rutgers University Foundation, full time. This May, instead of nervously walking up the stairs of the illustrious Winants Hall, I was running up and down them to get us ready to welcome 10 new interns into the newly branded Futures in Advancement program. What a difference a year can make, huh?

At times it is hard to see how much has changed in that year, as I’ve taken on the role of behind the scenes of the program rather than an intern myself, I lose track of all the amazing things going on sometimes. That was refocused recently, when I saw a few of my colleagues from the inaugural year of the program. The Futures Alumni Day bought together my cohort of interns with this year’s cohort, and gave us an opportunity to trade stories and network. Futures has attracted 10 of the brightest Rutgers students I could imagine getting to know, and now I get to see them do what we did as a group last year. The Futures program is poised to continue making an impact on the Rutgers University community, and each of the interns selected. Knowing this, I couldn’t have been happier sitting around the table together.

As an alumni of the inaugural year of the program, I will of course have an affinity for the bond my cohort shared; but to see a new bond be formed around the conference room table with the new cohort, I am reminded of why this program exists. This program is designed to give people like myself, who didn’t even know they loved philanthropy, the chance to fall in love with it. As I look around at my (now) colleagues, I am reminded of the breadth of their talent and their commitment to affecting positive change at the University I love and continue to call home. I know this program has more to go and grow, it is not close to being at its apex. Yet, I sat around the table yesterday listening to both cohorts talking, and I realized that there is no greater bond to be formed than the bond among people with a shared passion and vision; that is what pushed me off the edge and into non-profit work.

So did I fall into advancement? Yeah, I would say so. Would I have it any other way? Definitely not.

Rutgers Futures in Advancement

Sean P. Howard is a graduate of Rutgers University-Newark and a proud alumni of the Futures program. Sean is currently the Special Projects Coordinator at the Rutgers University Foundation in the Department of Talent Management.

A Front Row View

Sitting front row in the Honors College at the first Futures in Advancement Speaker Session was an experience, to say the least.  I admit there was some trepidation, when I first walked into the room and it began to dawn on me that I was now in the midst of professionals that were at the top of their respective fields and they were here to tell me how I could do the same, and as a student half way through her undergraduate degree, being able to speak with and learn from them was an experience I am not likely to forget soon.

During this week’s session, we had the honor of hearing from Art Certosimo, one of the Foundation’s  most successful and loyal donors. Art currently serves as the Chair of the Board of Overseers. In the afternoon we had the pleasure of hearing from Cathryn Potter, who is currently serving as the Dean for the School of Social Work. Both of these people have experienced their fair share of trials and successes and were kind enough to share the wealth of knowledge they have garnered in their lives to the room of earnest listeners.

The lessons they shared with us were not only applicable to our professional lives, but personal ones as well. Mr. Certosimo started his career as a football coach, to later find himself as a mogul on Wall Street; and if you are anything like me, you will be trying to do the calculations in your head about how those to careers could possibly relate to each other. He, on the other hand, chose to find the similarities in both of them and chose to approach his new career in the same way as his old one and found this to be an exceptionally effective mode of action. To me, the most important thing he told us in his session is to reward people for what they do well and to not hold it against them for what they do wrong because instead of spending their time trying to guess the right way to accomplish a task, they will actually learn how to do it properly. I also believe that this reinforces trust and communication channels between a leader and their team.

Dean Potter spoke to us about how she applies her training as a social worker to her new role as a Dean. She explained that the key was to listen; to be able to bring forth work that everyone is supporting 100%, it is imperative that everyone is on the same page and in agreement with what is being put forth.

I think the Futures in Advancement internship program is so important for Rutgers students because it exposes them very quickly to the world that is waiting for them after college as well as the importance of giving back. After interning for only two weeks, I am already motivated to give back to the University I currently call home. The act of giving back has an effect that lasts well beyond the gift being given; after hearing the stories from Foundation leaders about how donor gifts affected them, I have come to understand that just because as a student I don’t always see how giving back to the University effects change, it does have an impact in someone’s life. This is why the Futures program is so important, it not only gives me the opportunity to gain work experience, but it also exposes me to the endless work of the University’s Foundation.


Ivha Enike-Ekhelar is a Futures intern with Foundation and Alumni Communications

Rutgers Futures in Advancement.  6/5/17 Photo by John O’Boyle
Rutgers Futures in Advancement. 6/5/17 Photo by John O’Boyle

Helping the Helpers: Fundraising from a Social Worker’s Perspective

Rutgers Futures in Advancement.  6/14/17 Photo by John O’BoyleAfter almost 10 years in development, I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say “I fell into it” when asked how they entered the field. We talk about the field as a second act or say that it happened seemingly by accident.

I’m no exception.

While an undergraduate student here at Rutgers, I envisioned a career helping people through clinical social work practice. I was passionate about being of service to others. But then I started clinical work and I hated it. (Takeaway point: you can love learning about something but not actually enjoy doing it.)

I eventually found development while working in the nonprofit sector. It was there that I “fell into” development and connected philanthropy with my passion for helping people. I still remember my excitement to finally find a home for my social work education. It was electric!

Fast forward to 2016, I was given the opportunity to return to Rutgers School of Social Work not as a student but as a professional fundraiser. Much had changed since I graduated in 2005: the School had grown significantly as did my understanding of what it means to be a social worker.

I see many parallels between social work and development, one of which being that social workers effect change by assessing need, working in between systems, and providing resources. Development professionals do the same: we assess donors’ needs, work in between donors and institutions, and secure resources to have a targeted impact.

The skills I learned as a social worker—working across disciplines, managing relationships, thinking strategically, and being goal-oriented—have served me well in this profession. Yet, I envy the opportunity you each have to learn about development intentionally and with structure, not accidentally and haphazardly as so many of us have.

This is why Dean Cathy Potter and I chose to participate in the fireside chat last week and discuss the nuances of fundraising with academic leaders, which is essential in today’s higher education funding landscape. Our goal was to illuminate the good that is accomplished when a development professional truly understands an academic leader’s vision, believes in it, and transfers that same passion to donors.

I’ve mentioned passion several times in this blog because it’s that important. Wherever your path leads, be passionate. It makes all the difference. I am passionate about Rutgers School of Social Work because I see how it advances social justice through education, research, and training. I am passionate about Rutgers because it grew me, because it elevates the only state I’ve ever called home, and because it offers the hope of a brighter tomorrow. I am passionate about the Futures program and being of service to each of you because I know that, whatever field you ultimately decide to pursue, this program will give you indelible skills that you will use to do the work you are passionate about.

Don’t “fall into” development. Fall in love with it.


Erin Capone is a Director of Development for the Rutgers University School of Social Work. Erin holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from New York University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Rutgers University. 

The Future of Advancement has Arrived

In an organization over 230 members strong, there are unique characteristics, experiences and mindsets you work with every day. The Futures in Advancement internship program was designed to immerse Rutgers students in the work of the Foundation, and as we welcome our second cohort this week we are reminded why it is we invest in the future. Last summer, interns heard from team member after team member who “ended up” in development as a profession. Looking at the landscape ahead of us, we here at the Rutgers University Foundation understand that this is not a sustainable model. For every one qualified professional in the field, there are seven open jobs for them. How can we address this talent gap while strengthening our organization? We believe the answer is by training and developing the next generation of talented industry professionals, while concurrently encouraging them to grow their own passion and affinity for Rutgers.

The Futures program places our interns directly into the working world of higher education advancement, and we’re proud to say many of our 2016 interns found a home in this field. Several alumni have returned to the University or Foundation in a full-time role, others have strengthened their bond with their alumni association and all former interns expressed feelings of personal and professional growth. The interns of our inaugural year expanded their professional networks participating in a program such as this – programs being modeled across the country – we know our Futures interns are poised for bright futures.

We ask that you again open your doors to our interns. They are bright, curious and ready to be challenged. I know this program will unlock more opportunity and talent for our organization, our University and for each of the ten interns selected for this year’s class. Wherever they may go after these ten weeks, I know that the Futures program and the professionals they will engage with will leave a lasting impression throughout their careers.

I look forward to seeing our 2017 cohort work diligently and professionally to advance the mission of Rutgers University. Thank you for helping them along the way.



Tahsin Alam is the Director of Talent Management at the Rutgers University Foundation

My SIDAR Experience

When asking a 5 year old what they want to be when they grow up, it is easy to get an ambitious and excited response like “Doctor!” or “Astronaut!” or even “Princess!”, but it is highly unlikely that the response to this question would be “to work in Development and Alumni Relations at a Higher Education Institution”. Yet, fast forward years later, and this is the dream of many people, including those at Rutgers University.

During our ten week SIDAR internship, we were fortunate enough to meet a variety of people working among different departments of the foundation, and had the chance to ask them questions about their career and current work. When asked about their path to development, most responded by saying that they, “fell into” this type of work. They noted that this career was never their first intention or their ultimate dream, especially when asked as a child, but that somehow life’s twists and turns lead them to a path at the foundation. Along with that answer, they also responded by saying that they could not be happier that they did find their way there.

In the months leading up to May of 2016, I began to become a very anxious Senior who had yet to find a job. While friends of mine were signing contracts and getting signing bonuses I was left to debate if I truly had worked hard enough in my undergraduate career and was deserving of a full time position. I decided to take one last leap of faith, and attend the Rutgers University Spring 2016 Career Fair, in hopes that some company would like me enough to pick me up and offer me a job so that my anxiety and future worries would disappear. I discovered that the Rutgers Foundation would be attending the event, researched more about the work that they do, and decided to take a stroll by their booth. This is when my falling began.

I fell into a conversation with a man who seemed so entranced by the work I had done in my undergraduate years, my prior internships, and my extracurricular that I knew right away there was a professional connection between us. He told me that I needed to apply for this new summer internship in development and alumni relations as I would love the work being done, and that the SIDAR program could help me grow in my career. While I was skeptical about taking an internship out of college and not a full time job, with the support of my parents and mentors, after interviewing, I fell into the position as a SIDAR Intern from June until August.

When the internship began, I continued to fall. I fell into the Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences Department, not the first on my list, but one that I wanted to embrace with my whole heart once I was assigned to this area. I fell into being a part of some of the most important work that I could have ever imagined, learning more about healthcare, the medical schools, the Cancer Institute, and all the good that the department is able to do for the world with the support of its benefactors. I fell into having the most wonderful, supportive, and kind unit host, who was able to teach me so many things over my time interning. I fell into the most incredible staff, a type of comradery and support one could only dream of having in their first professional environment after graduating college. And I fell into a best friend, my partner Sean in the unit, who has pushed me every day to be the best version of myself, no matter what was handed my way. Over 10 weeks I fell into becoming a stronger, more independent, and driven person, with the help of the wonderful staff at RBHS and the foundation.

Not only within my department did I fall, but with my cohort I continued to fall as well. I fell into a group of nine other amazing students. Undergraduates and graduates who wanted to do all they could to better the world. People who were passionate to come to work every day and make the most of their experience to absorb all of the knowledge they could about the field. I fell into having people that I know I can rely on for a lifetime, no matter what. These people are some of the most incredible people I will ever work with in my life, and I am honored to not only call them peers but also friends. I fell into a lifetime bond, the inaugural group of SIDAR interns, the start of an incredible and giving program, with some of the best and brightest Rutgers students to lead the path.

I am more than excited to say that after this internship and the incredible experience I have had during these ten weeks, I will continue to fall. I will fall into a new role as a Development Associate within the Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences department at the Rutgers Foundation. I will be able to take the skills and life lessons that I have learned from each individual in the foundation, and begin the path for the rest of my life. I will be able to continue to fall into work that I have longed to do, finding ways to benefit others and helping those who need it most.

To me, this ten week program is not an addition to my resume, another networking opportunity, or something I did to pass the time of the summer, it is the start to the rest of my life. Words cannot describe how thankful I am for each day I have had at the Rutgers Foundation. For meeting that man at the Career Fair who saw something in me that I had not yet seen in myself, for making lifetime friends with people who I would have never known without this opportunity, for the foundation of my career and the work I am going to achieve in the future. Now I am not only honored to be a Rutgers Alumnus, but I am honored to be a SIDAR Intern, a title I will carry in my heart forever.

Like many others, I could not be happier to have fallen into development, especially with the SIDAR Program at Rutgers. This experience has given me the ability to observe, learn, and most importantly grow.

So yes, maybe at 5 years old my dream was not to work in development at Rutgers University, but now at 22 it certainly is. Because sometimes, the best thing about falling, is what is there to catch you.

Christine DeSpirito

SIDAR – Athletic Development

My mom always told me to be frugal with my time, and never let anyone else spend it for me. I think this summer I can say I couldn’t have spent it more wisely. And, I know they say time flies when you’re having fun, but what do they say about time when the excitement never runs out and you finally come to grips with gravity? I know, I’m not quite sure either.

Closing in on the finish line to this innovative internship, it would be inaccurate for me to say that I did not learn a lot from this great opportunity. Like many students at Rutgers, I never realized the titanic influence that the Rutgers Foundation has on the whole institution (as well as our state of New Jersey and beyond). They basically help fund a majority of what is going on here at Rutgers, and yet, if you ask 100 kids on campus what the Foundation is and what it does, 90 of them would not even get past the first question. Tragic! Believe me, I was nowhere close to being an expert on what the Foundation actually did either, but by the end of my first day on the third floor of Winants Hall, I knew I was in for an enlightening summer with the Athletic Development team. The walls that became my new element would stretch my knowledge and professionalism to new heights, and I had no choice but to fasten up my seat-belt for the ride.

It took a bit longer than I’m proud to say before I realized that late-nighters and too much sugar in your coffee, was not actually not a clever tactic. Come to find out it actually does the adverse job (fun fact), on top of ruining your health if that wasn’t enough. Fortunately, as I sat in on more meetings and figured I could slip in my valuable comments here and there, I enjoyed even more the thought of leaving my cubicle for great adventures outside of my little abode. Interestingly enough, I also enjoyed the sight of my squishy dog and coffee mug, because I also dealt with some intriguing tasks for my team back there. From assisting with a brand new initiative for passionate alumni called the “Captain’s Program,” to interacting by phone and email with some of our top athletic donors for the 50 Yard Line Dinner event, adapting to this new world was pleasantly easier than I had imagined (you’d be surprised how many voicemails you can leave in one day, but I digress). Although, I must say without such an understanding and close-knit team nurturing my progress, it would’ve been just a tad tougher to develop into the everyday white-collar-and-a-tie-wearing young professional that I am today. I’ve learned that every single thing, no matter how minor, has the effect to change and impact someone’s relationship to Rutgers, so we must be cognizant of this in our every task, and in how we represent ourselves. I think it’s fair to say we have the BEST team in the foundation, no doubts about it. A special shout out to Lucy Cruz and Joe Levine for always including me and my fellow athletic development intern Emma in on most projects they work on, and bearing with us every time we ask questions.
My fellow cohort of interns deserves a shout out too, because they’ve also helped me take more initiatives and responsibility for work-related efforts, and there is definitely no lack of energy and enthusiasm among them. They are all walking philanthropists, looking for a way to help others however they are capable to do so. This was on display Monday July 25th, thanks to Sean and Marina’s brilliant idea. All together with some United Way representatives, every SIDAR went to volunteer at the Jamesburg Elementary School to hand out our personally made kits to a few first graders, and just show them how fun it is to read and be a grown-up. In a way we kind of got the chance to be big kids again, and play childhood games like ‘Crazy 8’s’ and ‘Go Fish’, and it felt good seeing all the kids enjoying themselves in our presence. During how many other internships can you say that you spent half of your day volunteering with kids, and hopefully turning on the light for even just one kid’s journey?

You see, I cannot just recount bits and pieces that make up the parts of this journey, nor give you hand-me-down experiences of our adventures, but I can tell you it wouldn’t be the worst idea to try and write your own story. One day millennial giving will be the new standard of living here at Rutgers, and I’m proud to be the part of the genesis to bring this culture to an eventual realization.

Thanks a lot, RUF.

Yvans Tsague
SIDAR – Athletic Development

R FUND Team Reflection

Not many college students know exactly what occurs in the field of higher education philanthropy. To have the opportunity to introduce such an impactful industry is something that is rewarding in itself. As a host for the Summer Internship in Donor and Alumni Relations, our office has been fortunate enough to provide two Rutgers students the chance to learn and gain firsthand experience in athletic development. Both Emma and Yvans have excelled in understanding what goes into fundraising for a Division I athletics department. From annual giving and premium seating to major gifts and special events, our SIDAR interns have gained a full understanding of all of the activities that must take place to engage, cultivate, and recognize those that support an institution.
With everything they have obtained throughout the time spent with our team, the athletic development staff has also learned a great deal from both Emma and Yvans. The two of them have been engaged in many projects and provided a new perspective for our team to consider. Their feedback has been beneficial on many levels, especially when discussing the engagement of young alumni. Both Emma and Yvans have become vital pieces of “R” team and will be missed when the summer program is completed.

Joe Levine
Associate Director of Athletic Development
Major Gifts and Premium Seating


Being a host for the SIDAR program has not only provided our team with extra hands to execute our busy calendar of solicitations, stewardship, communications, and summer projects, but has also expanded my mind. Through this experience, I’ve learned that every person can bring a different outlook on the fundraising process. Emma, our SIDAR intern who is a former gymnast for Rutgers, lent us a very specific point of view, and became our in-house expert on the student-athlete experience and how to use it to our advantage during fundraising. Yvans, our SIDAR intern who is a Rutgers Future Scholar and involved in a number of organizations on campus, lent us another specific point of view, and became our in-house expert on how the everyday-student interacts with our athletic department—and how we can improve that experience and use it to evolve.

By being engaged in our different projects and actively asking questions, both interns now have a keen understanding as to the amount of work that it takes to connect with people in the right way –in a way that makes them want to support our institution. By participating in the SIDAR process, Emma and Yvans are no longer just two sharply dressed student representatives, but they are young professionals with the tools to be strategic thinkers in fundraising or any field they choose to pursue.

Lucy Cruz
Athletic Development Assistant
Events and Stewardship

Alumni Relations at RUF

It is now week 8 of the SIDAR program and I’m beginning to wonder where the time has gone. It feels like just yesterday I was getting up on my first day of the internship at 6:30 am, picking out the most business professional attire I could find in my closet, and making my way over to College Avenue, where I would impatiently wait for an hour in my car because I clearly woke up and got ready far too early for my own good. As I sat in my car, I began to wonder what the other interns would be like. Would everyone be friendly, would they be just as anxious as I was? Questions and thoughts lingered in my head about this world that has always existed, but that I was never aware of. Upon walking into Winants Hall, I was greeted by our very friendly staff who made the greatest efforts to get to know me and my peers. I felt welcomed instantly, and as the day went on my anxiety began to slip away. I personally met every intern and was able to chat about our interests and majors. I had no doubt that from that moment forward, we would build a close relationship and be able to accomplish great things as a united team.

I was set up with the Alumni Relations department and instantly began speaking to one of the senior staff members. I was intrigued by the amount of efforts my department made in order to keep our alumni content and well educated about the culture of our foundation. My unit host, Tom Hammond, set me up on a rotating schedule for the first two weeks in order for me to get to know each and every person in Alumni Relations. Eager, and with a notepad handy, I participated in every meeting and took as many notes as I could possibly fit in my 5×8 notepad (it’s not very big). I met with the events team, volunteer engagement, student engagement, Alumni Relations-Newark campus, Alumni Relations-Camden campus, Alumni Relations- RBHS, and I even got to sit in on a fascinating meeting in Times Square. I can’t thank my host enough for allowing me to rotate amongst all these talented individuals that have shown me their specific tasks, and have spoken to me about their career paths and what led them into Alumni Relations. Each and every one of you play a significant role in the success of the foundation and you are all truly brilliant in your own ways. Thank you to the Alumni Relations department for teaching me more about myself and what my passions are through your goal-driven mindsets and passion for what you do each and every day.

I know that there are a few weeks remaining  but I must say that each and every person has welcomed me with open arms and allowed me to ask away regardless of how basic or difficult my questions have been. Before this internship opportunity I was unaware of the opportunities that laid ahead within higher education and development. Eight weeks later, I can sincerely say that I can see myself in this line of work upon graduating from Rutgers University. I would like to thank all those involved in this incredible internship program for your time and patience with each and every one of the interns. You have all made our experience as wonderful and life-changing as it could be. May the remaining two weeks be a never-ending adventure with the wonderful people in my department and my amazing cohort group. Thank you to the SIDAR program for giving me this incredible and unforgettable opportunity here at the Rutgers Foundation. I hope you all realize just how much you have truly inspired us this summer.


Marina Costa 

SIDAR, Alumni Relations

Athletic Development at RUF

“As one door closes another door opens.” As I reflect on the past couple of weeks and on my current role as a SIDAR Intern, I can’t help but to think about how my “full-time” job prior to this was to be a student, do what I love and to wear the block R. I was a gymnast for nineteen years—spending upwards of forty hours a week in the gym. Growing up, gymnastics was the only thing that drove me from one day to the next. I was homeschooled from 3rd grade all the way through high school. My hard work and dedication paid off and I earned a full scholarship to attend Rutgers. I spent the past five years as a member of the Rutgers Gymnastics team and a total of nineteen years in the sport of gymnastics. I have to close the door on something that has defined me for so long and open up the door to the working world. Before becoming a part of SIDAR I was completely lost and had no idea what was in store for me.

Every Monday morning I no longer wake up and go to practice, but I do wake up and get to be a part of a team where I can make a difference and help Rutgers Athletics become what I always dreamed it could be. I may not get to learn a new athletic skill and compete on a Big Ten stage, but I get to share my experiences as a student-athlete. I get to be a helping hand to ensure future student-athletes have the tools to thrive on a championship level in their sport, in the classroom, and for the rest of their lives. I have seen and experienced first-hand how far behind Rutgers is in comparison to our fellow Big Ten schools when it comes to resources.  I have the opportunity to share what I have learned and help the development officers change the future of Rutgers Athletics. This is the perfect way to turn my passion for gymnastics and sports into a career.

 SIDAR has given me the opportunity to find a new passion and meet some amazing people. SIDAR is not your ordinary internship. My unit within athletics makes me look forward to work every day and they have done a great job to create a learning environment where I feel comfortable asking as many questions a day as I need, in order to understand why and how we do certain things for our donor constituency. The Athletic Development unit really made us feel like we were a part of the family on our first day. The other SIDAR interns have been great to work with and have become some of my best friends. Every Friday we learn from other departments and even other organizations outside of the Rutgers University Foundation. SIDAR has given me the tools to grow not only in the development field, but in any field I choose to pursue in the future. I feel prepared and excited for this next chapter of my life. SIDAR will always be here for me no matter where I go or what I choose to do. Without SIDAR and all the people involved I would still be a lost graduate with uncertainty about my passion and direction. It is bittersweet that this program is ending soon, but I am forever grateful for this opportunity and I am beyond excited to see what my future holds because of the experience I’ve been equipped with.

Emma Hoffman 

SIDAR, Athletic Development


Time flies! I’m almost half way through my summer internship and I still remember the first day when I met my cohorts at Winants Hall, all of us excited to become members of RUF. This internship has helped me to cultivate learning, nourish thinking, enhance skills, and boost my morale.

For me, the internship would be described as “WOW! SIDAR!” Which means Warm, Opportunity, Wonderful, Supportive, International, Dedicated, Ambitious, and Relationship.

Warm. Rutgers University Foundation is a big family within the Rutgers community. As a loyal Rutgers daughter, I am proud to join the Donor Relations team this summer. My unit colleagues have imparted me with great wisdom from their professional expertise, excellent interpersonal management, incredible efficiency, outstanding communication skills and the most important point – willingness to share and to teach me day-by-day. I feel like I am not an intern, but a member of a warm family.

Opportunity. As a graduate student studying public administration, working at a nonprofit organization has always been my dream. Academic learning in the classroom has stimulated my interest as well as broadened my horizons in both the fundraising fields and foundation operations. And now RUF has made my dream a reality.

Wonderful. In the past 5 weeks, I have actively collaborated with my unit to prepare awesome events like The Spring Reveal 2016 (see pictures below) and The Board of Overseers Meeting. The event turned out to be a great success and our guests spoke highly of it. I knew it was the hard work and well-rounded preparation from my team that made it all possible. I do appreciate such a wonderful opportunity to see an event firsthand, to engage as well as to learn about what my team regarding events.

Spring Reveal, Donor Relations27739301221_7e66a738df_b


Supportive. Every Friday there are SIDAR class sessions and field trips. These Friday workshops help us to gain deeper knowledge and experience in the field and outside of our units. So far, we have visited American Red Cross and United Way of Central Jersey. Each Friday we get the chance to learn more about the industry, and absorb valuable experiences. Moreover, all of our guest speakers are very open with us, and are warm-hearted and willing to answer every tiny question we may have.

International. Working with my cohorts is the best thing, we are young and energetic and are all devoted to RU. As the one and only Asian or Chinese in SIDAR, I enjoy having diverse conversations with my fellows. Although we come from various cultural backgrounds, we love good food (fried avocado and free lunches!), respect each other’s cultural differences, stimulate creative thinking, encourage hard work, and admire international communication. If it wasn’t for this internship, I would never have met these amazing people.

Dedicated. Meanwhile, we have been working on our cohort Millennial Engagement Project, and this is the first time I have been a part of such a large group with 10 fellows. We work closely with each other, and spark ideas for our project. Together, we build our project from a loose structure into a concrete, logical planning circle. We learn from each other, and we devote our passion and enthusiasm in it. As millennials, we provide our insights and approaches to assist RUF in engaging students and alumni of our generation. As a cohort, we want to make positive, everlasting impacts to our university, and the greater Rutgers community.

Ambitious. After taking my baby steps into development and alumni relations, I have found I have a strong passion and ambition for this field. Along with what I have learned in the classroom, the internship has given me a 360 degree opportunity for my further advancement. This industry has been growing in a tremendous way, I am thrilled to grow with it as I begin my developing my career.

Relationship. As much as I look forward to my summer vacation, it is hard for me to say goodbye to RUF, Talent Management, my unit host (Donor Relations), and my beloved SIDAR cohorts. We have built a solid friendship during this tenure, and it has brought us together as a team. We cultivate team spirit and mutual trust as well as an understanding for one another.  Although the internship is coming to an end, the relationship among us will never fade away. Nothing is going to change my love for Rutgers.  I am proud of the contributions I have made to my school, no matter how small.

WOW! This is one of the best internship experiences I could ever ask for. Once again thank you so much for having me. It is my great honor to meet and spend my summer with everybody at the foundation. You all are treasures in my life. I will always have this memory in the bottom of my heart.

Yingxing Huang

SIDAR, Donor Relations