Throughout this blog, you will notice references to SIDAR, the original name of Rutgers University Foundation’s summer internship program. As of spring 2017, the program is known as Futures in Advancement.
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.
SIDAR – RBHS
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.
SIDAR – Athletic Development
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.
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.
Athletic Development Assistant
Events and Stewardship
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.
SIDAR, Alumni Relations
“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.
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.
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.
SIDAR, Donor Relations
Introducing Mark Anderson to the processes we live and breathe in the Corporate and Foundation Relations group has been great for all thus far! His inquisitive nature is perfect for development and he is eager to make an impact! He has already worked his way through both the ‘discovery’ and ‘assessment’ processes through which we find where “the money” is and then link it to the relevant part of RU. These two steps have been eye opening for Mark and he’s already begun integrating into his work the ‘network’ step—where potential interesting power connections to the potential funder(s) are identified.
Meanwhile, we are also mixing work and play: he’s introduced me to Tacoria (a favorite of his on Easton Ave) and next week we’ll be introducing him at a discussion with faculty about “Enhancing Science-Based Tools to Foster Community-Based Resilience Efforts.” We will be getting a dose of real time RU ‘brilliance’ from multiple disciplines on a climate change-related topic of local relevance.
Soon on the itinerary: some more introductions and the “outreach” phase, which includes a specific plan of attack to get a few doors opened for a select group of worthy Rutgers initiatives. All is well here with Corporate and Foundation Relations and SIDAR!
Associate Vice President of Corporate and Foundation Relations, Rutgers University Foundation
After my first month in this inaugural program, I find myself constantly wondering, “Why am I just discovering this now?”. From the outside looking in, the field of development seems like it is hidden in shadows for no one to see the true nature of its work. It is a field of work that is a mystery to the common university student, but the individuals that work in this field are the heroes behind the scenes. You are told by family growing up that you need to find your calling by being adventurous and exploring the many opportunities that the world has in store for you. People bounce around from department to department or job to job for years, just looking for the place that they can call home. Luckily for me, I was placed from day one in a department that has done nothing but support and make me appreciate the work that goes into a nonprofit along with enhancing my understanding of development as a whole.
I have been working in Corporate and Foundation Relations for the past month and I could not feel more at home than I do with the CFR team. The directors and other fundraisers that I get to work with on a daily basis have been nothing but supportive so far in answering any one of the 200 questions I seem to have on a daily basis. They all stem from diverse backgrounds and are all approachable, helpful and fun to be around. The project that I have been tasked with involves researching, assessing, finding connections within the Rutgers network and reaching out to New Jersey’s Top 50 Most Wealthy as well as The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s 50 Most Generous Donors in America. My job is to discover new funding sources from these lists for CFR that would ultimately lead to a proposal being sent to these foundations or corporations. The work that I am doing feels impactful and I feel like an important part of a professional team. I am going through a set process with four distinct stages that have me working with two directors within my office per stage that advise me along the way. Having a basic structure to work with while still being allowed some room for unique interpretation is what I value most about this process and gives me a unique view of a post-graduation professional environment. Working with nine other smart and capable interns in other departments really gives me an all-around perspective of the Foundation as a whole and I could not be more satisfied with those that I work with.
The SIDAR Program has completely shattered stereotypes when it comes to typical internship responsibilities. The amount of joy that I feel to be doing actual meaningful work in support of the university is unmeasurable and I am more than satisfied being occupied with projects that directly affect the CFR team and the Foundation positively. I have learned so much in just 4 weeks about just how impactful Rutgers is to not just the New Brunswick and Piscataway communities, but to our country. Rutgers does so much work and I will without a doubt be an advocate for the heroes that work behind the scenes. I look forward to these last few weeks to open me up even more to the concept of working in development and I’m excited about the adventure this internship is taking us on to support the future of the Rutgers community.
SIDAR, Corporate and Foundation Relations
Last Monday for my first week in the SIDAR program I didn’t know if I was more worried about meeting my unit host and seeing if we would have a connection (don’t worry, I have yet to meet someone at the Foundation that I didn’t like), or discovering more about the internship and finding out it actually was not for me (again, don’t worry. I’m starting to really like it here—all the lunch meetings we had last week didn’t hurt…). Or if I was going to figure out the NJ Transit train web and not come into work fumbling and late every day. The train was definitely the most daunting and worrying about it took away most of my beauty sleep the night before our first day.
Now, just a week later, each morning as I begrudgingly roll out of bed I feel like a real adult. A real adult because I can sigh, “Mondays” like the rest of them, but I can get myself up, make my breakfast, stand at the specific spot on the platform where all the super-cool train regulars know the car doors will stop and successfully make it to work on time. Just yesterday, I helped a couple from Oklahoma navigate the North East Corridor Line and find a new degree of patience when one of my fellow passengers is talking too loud on their cell phone. Like the Rutgers bus system and all its hassle, after the first week everyone’s a pro.
For all that, the best part about taking the train is not the grown-up confidence it gives me, but every morning, just before we roll into the New Brunswick station, I catch a glimpse of the Raritan River. And that’s the best part. For 30 seconds each morning, I’m filled with a swelling sense of pride as I can begin to connect my newfound knowledge of Rutgers and the Rutgers University Foundation and translate it into the landmarks sitting on the banks.
Straight down the river I can see High Point Solutions Stadium peak out across the trees and I think of my cohorts Emma and Yvans working in Athletic Development. Next, I can see the Johnson & Johnson Hamilton Street building and my mind now links with our SIDAR Mark in Corporate Foundation Relations. Close to my fold, in the School of Arts and Sciences Major Gifts Department, I can check up on the construction progress of our newest academic buildings that are slated to open this fall. Even the ads at the train station for Robert Wood Johnson make me think of Sean and Christina working in RBHS Development.
Every day, this flash from the train means so much more. I’m beginning to get it. My daily train ritual now serves as the energetic charge-up for my day. It focuses me into what I want to accomplish today: what have I remembered from the day before that I want to expand on, what projects I’ll be assisting in, and what challenges I recognize not just as a member of the SIDAR program, but as a student.
Needless to say I’m excited for what lies ahead this summer. I’m ready to learn, to connect, and to take action in the things I feel passionate about and right now, there’s no better place to be than with the Rutgers University Foundation SIDAR program.
SIDAR, School of Arts and Sciences Major Gifts
As the intern assigned to the Annual Giving department, I have learned a great deal about alumni outreach and student philanthropy. I have examined and updated the scripts used during phone solicitations and given feedback on the mail-in campaign materials. I am also in the process of contacting several other universities to learn more about their fundraising strategies, which will help both the Annual Giving department and the SIDAR interns as the feedback I receive from my research of the other universities will give me valuable insights into the best methods for reaching out to millennials. Later in the summer, I will run a crowdfunding project for a student group from start to finish.
I have already met and worked individually with most members of the Annual Giving team, and they are a wonderful staff. Our guest lecturers on the Friday session have shared a lot of interesting knowledge and personal anecdotes, especially when it comes to gifts given in kind, as these gifts have proven to be both surprising and full of hidden value. My favorite experience thus far has been the trip to the Red Cross on the seventeenth of June, as the staff there was incredibly enthusiastic and knowledgeable, and they were eager to teach us about the management of a non-profit that exists and functions on a national and international level.
I look forward to my next seven weeks with the program.
SIDAR, Annual Giving
After a rigorous interview process and much anticipation of June 6th to arrive, to be finally beginning my first week at the Rutgers University Foundation through the SIDAR program was a daunting task. A mix of nerves and excitement for the day had crept in as I walked towards Winants Hall, and as I ascended the stairs of one of the oldest buildings on our illustrious campus I realized that whatever awaited me on the second floor would be how I’d be spending the next ten weeks of my life.
As I stepped foot on the landing I was greeted quickly by the phenomenal members of the SIDAR team who are piloting the program at the foundation, and I was quickly ushered into a circle of people who I would find out were my SIDAR colleagues. In some ways, my fellow interns and I are guinea pigs for this program. There will be excellent SIDAR cohorts who may come after us, but we are trailblazers here at the Rutgers University Foundation who’ve joined only a select few other prestigious universities in developing a program like this to advance higher education development and fundraising through internships.
Knowing we are all together this summer may be the first common thread amongst our group, but almost instantly we were able to weave together more sophisticated threads that tied each other together and began to make up the tapestry for which Rutgers University proudly flies its flag. Being amongst those phenomenal people I knew that we were capable of great things, and in a week we’ve already built strong relationships with one another. I would be remiss to discuss my first week at the Rutgers University Foundation without mentioning the incredible colleague working with me at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, Christine DeSpirito. Almost instantly that first day on the landing of Winants Hall while discussing our program with our incomparable unit leader, Denise Gavala, we formed a bond that has made our first week so successful. Christine and I have been tasked with a project that requires our constant attention, creativity and ingenuity. To this end, Denise has given us the guidance to set forth on this mission and learn as much as we can in these coming ten weeks.
An internship is only as good as those who prepare the program, those who lead the interns and the interns themselves. To have been selected for this program I know how talented my peers are, and I know how hard we all will work. I am spending my summer working on meaningful projects, surrounded by dedicated members of the Rutgers community, working alongside people that I can already tell I’m going to be friends with for a lifetime. To say all of this after only a week on the job is an indication of how incredible this experience will be the rest of the summer.
SIDAR, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences