It’s Academic

Before beginning the Futures in Advancement internship program, I was not really aware of the non-profit sector of higher education. I knew students receive scholarships, researchers obtain funding, and buildings are named after people, but I never stopped to think about how these things came to be. After two weeks as a Futures intern and meeting everyone at the RBHS (Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences) unit, I started to find out what advancement in a higher education setting is about. As someone who is pursuing a career in higher education, this connection between advancement and academics piqued my interest, and I wanted to learn more. On June 19th, our first Speaker Series covered how academics and advancement at Rutgers are tied together – perfect timing!

During this session, we first heard from Dean Peter March, the Executive Dean of Arts and Sciences, and Tracy Elliot, Associate Vice President of Development at SAS. Through our discussion with them, I learned about the importance of faculty in advancement work. Dean March described our faculty as unique due to their entrepreneurial spirit and devotion to their students. To make their visions for enhancing students’ education a reality, faculty and the development team work together to get support from alumni and friends of the university. Without the faculty’s passion or the development team’s expertise, these initiatives could not grow and thrive.

Next, we heard from Art Certosimo, Chair of the Board of Overseers, and Nevin Kessler, the Foundation President. Art’s journey from a Rutgers alum who had lost contact with the university to his current position as Chair was inspiring and eye-opening. He stressed the significance of Rutgers alumni connections with each other, with faculty, and with Rutgers itself. I saw how Rutgers students’ relationships with faculty can be so impactful even many years after graduating. This connection and appreciation for faculty can be the tie that brings alumni back to the university. It can also be the motivation for (in Art’s words) an alum’s “joyful responsibility” to give back to Rutgers.

Being able to listen to and talk with these amazing speakers was an honor and a wonderful opportunity to learn more about a side of higher education that I knew very little about. Students, faculty, staff, and alumni all play an important role in advancement. I will keep the wisdom from these speakers with me as I continue on my journey with Futures and fulfill my own joyful responsibility to Rutgers.

Rutgers Futures in Advancement
Rutgers Futures in Advancement. 6/4/18 Photo by John O’Boyle

Janelle Raymundo is a Futures in Advancement Intern in Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences

Alumni Day 2018

On Alumni Day, my cohort of Futures in Advancement Interns had the opportunity to meet with interns from the previous two cohorts. We all enjoyed breakfast and coffee as we got to know one another. Through activities and anecdotes, the alumni were able to offer valuable advice to me and the other interns. This provided us a new perspective while helping us better understand our roles at the Rutgers University Foundation.

The alumni that we got to meet gave us valuable information that will help us throughout the rest of this internship, and in our professional careers. Each alumnus shared advice regarding the program, development as an industry, and life in general. Many of the alumni talked about the value of the final cohort project. The project is not just about delivering a finished product, but learning to work in groups with different people. This process instills a strong work ethic that is important in the professional field. Some other lessons that were shared with us by the alumni was to keep things professional and build your network because you never know when you may need it.  Another alumnus talked about the importance of fundraising and the role it plays in a student’s everyday life. Donors are the inciting force that help push university programs towards excellence. Another alumnus took a different spin on what they learned about development during their time as an intern. She stressed the importance of understanding development, because as interns we are actually given a chance to immerse ourselves in it. Many other students will never learn the complex nature of development, which is so integral to many professional career paths.

The opportunity to hear the stories of past alumni was invaluable and helped me realize the true value of fundraising. Development is about much more than just reaching a dollar amount. It is about fostering relationships, funding ground-breaking research, building scholarship funds that change student lives, engaging people of all age groups, and advancing the future of an organization or institution. Thank you to all the alumni for helping me realize this.

Rutgers Futures in Advancement
Rutgers Futures in Advancement. 6/4/18 Photo by John O’Boyle
Andrew Hanna is a Futures in Advancement Intern in Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences

Red Envelopes Get a Bronze

We are proud to announce that one of our very own, Yingxing Huang, a former Futures in Advancement intern is the Bronze winner of the Circle of Excellence Innovative Alumni Programs award for her proposal for a Rutgers University Branded red envelope to be given to alumni donors to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Yingxing was an intern in the Donor Relations Office during the summer of 2016. She then went on to work as a Part Time Development Assistant for the Rutgers-Newark Advancement team.

The idea for the envelopes came to Yingxing when she was speaking to her mother who was telling Yingxing that she had to go purchase red envelopes to give out for the holiday. As a result of this conversation, Yingxing thought that it would be a great idea to create red envelopes with the Rutgers brand in honor of the Chinese New Year. It is tradition for older generations and married couples to give red envelopes with gold Chinese characters to their children and other unmarried people as a sign of good fortune during the Chinese New Year. She wanted to give these envelopes out to Rutgers Alumni in China as a token of gratitude for their generosity and to remind them that Rutgers will always be with them.

This idea turned into reality, when Nancy Cantor, the Chancellor of Rutgers Newark and Irene O’Brien, the Vice Chancellor for Advancement visited Chinese Alumni in China and handed out these envelopes to the Alumni. The envelopes were passed out in groups of eight, a symbol of good fortune in the Chinese culture, which was appreciated by the recipients. It Is this ingenuity and creativeness within the advancement field that we hope to foster in every intern that goes through the Futures in Advancement internship. Congratulations to Yingxing for her amazing accomplishment.


My Time as a Future

When I applied to the Futures in Advancement internship last summer, I really didn’t understand what the program was all about. I knew that a foundation gave out money to causes and organizations, but that was really the extent of my knowledge. By the end of  my 10-week internship program, however, I learned exactly how important the Rutgers University Foundation is, and found a potential career in Advancement.

During my time as a Futures intern, I was able to meet and connect with professionals who help make scholarships, research initiatives, and community engagement opportunities possible for Rutgers students. From fun networking events, to finding funding for faculty research, an advancement professional was probably the one working behind the scenes. Throughout the internship there were so many opportunities to meet with nonprofit leaders throughout New Jersey, as well as major donors for Rutgers University. There were speaker series, dedicated to introducing us to high profile donors, and advancement professionals from different organizations and states. I was able to start building a professional network that, to this day, has been helping me with career and graduate school opportunities.

The deeper I got into the Futures in Advancement program, the more I started to realize how exciting advancement can be. The Assistant Vice Chancellor of Advancement for Rutgers- Newark, told me stories of her advancement work with the United Nations, art galleries, and other international relief organization. I had always wanted to somehow tie in international work into my career plans, and found her to be an inspiration.

After the program ended, I was offered a position as a student worker-development assistant, and jumped at the opportunity. This position has only furthered my interest. I continue to meet amazing individuals from all walks of life, and am surrounded by powerful role models. Every day is an adventure with Newark’s advancement team! One moment I’ll be helping with a syllabus for the genealogy class, and the next I am working on a letter of interest to help create social justice based work on campus.

I absolutely feel like the Futures in Advancement program has helped me grow as a professional, and I would highly recommend this opportunity to any student at Rutgers looking to make a difference.


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

Sadia Khalid was a Futures intern at Rutgers Newark.


From the November | December of 2017 edition of CASE Currents:

“Pushing the Red Envelope: A Chinese New Year custom becomes a new Rutgers tradition” details the work of former Futures intern Yingxing Huang to present and work on a dynamic initiative with the Office of the Chancellor at Rutgers-Newark.


To read the full article and learn more about advancement work itself, go to:

CASE Currents, November | December 2017

Yingxing Huang



The Little Yellow House on College Ave

Living on campus at Rutgers University, I never paid much attention to the ordinary little yellow house on College Avenue. I passed the house day after day and never thought twice about what might be happening inside. I would have never imagined that the ordinary little yellow house would have an impact on my college career until I started the Futures in Advancement Internship at the Rutgers University Foundation. On my first day at the Foundation, I learned that the little yellow house on College Avenue was home to the School of Arts and Sciences Development Office where I was placed as an intern for 10 weeks.

The School of Arts and Sciences development team quickly welcomed and integrated me into the world of development and the team taught me more than I could have imagined. As part of my work as an intern I was given the opportunity to receive real world experience as I worked on a multitude of projects that exposed me to front-line fundraising and the behind the scenes work that goes into it.

As a rising senior, I’ve always been a bit unsure of my plans for after graduation but the Futures in Advancement Program has opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities. This program allowed me to fully immerse myself in the world of development, it has introduced me to incredible coworkers, development professionals, and donors. Most of all, it has solidified my passion for non-profit work.

While my time as a Future is coming to an end, I’m looking towards my future with grateful optimism for all that I have learned through this program. I am eager for the next group of Futures and I hope that this program can change their life, like it has mine.

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

Emily Calvo is a Futures intern in the School of Arts and Sciences.

Student Today, Scarlet Forever

In the first 5 weeks, I truly have learned the value of what it takes to be a loyal Scarlet Knight. Rutgers is my home away from home, and I am forever grateful for it. The Futures Program has provided me the opportunity to explore my curiosity with guidance from inspiring professionals. This opportunity to engage in speaker sessions, executive meetings, and professional development opportunities has been beyond impactful. Rutgers is a massive entity and without the Futures Program, I would have never known what it takes to keep this great University operating.

Donor gifts and loyal alumni support is a true pillar of Rutgers. I am grateful that I am learning the importance of this now as an undergrad, as fostering a culture of philanthropy is critical to being a Scarlet Knight. One should have pride in their university and understand the magnitude and importance of giving back. I have made gifts on Giving Day, however I truly did not understand how my donation benefits not only myself but also the entire student body. The Futures Program is helping me better engage myself, here at Rutgers, and continues to strengthen my Scarlet Pride.

Student giving is ultimately a sense of empowerment. At Rutgers, when a gift is made, the donor has the choice on where they want to make an impact at Rutgers. As a student, I take it as an honor to be able make an impact so easily. During this summer, the interns are working on a strategic plan on how to increase student philanthropic engagement at Rutgers. The Rutgers University Foundation wants to hear a plan and try to implement a plan that we get to create as a team. The Foundation understands that as students we know what the university community wants and needs and that is what I love about this internship. This program is unlike no other and your voice will always be heard.

Another perk of this program is that there are endless networking opportunities, especially with Rutgers Alumni. All of the stories and unique career paths explorations is a privilege to hear. My favorite part, when talking to alumni, is to compare and contrast my student experience with that of someone who possibly graduated five, ten, twenty even over fifty years ago. It is still crazy to think that there are almost 500,000 Alumni of Rutgers and as my college career is coming close to the end, I am proud to say that I will be a Scarlet Knight forever.

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

Dylan Gonzalez is a Futures intern in Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences.

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.

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

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