Finding a summer internship is a trying process of searching, applying, and writing cover letter after cover letter until you get an interview that leads to a job. So, when my summer plans to participate in one of Maxwell’s global programs was abruptly cancelled due to COVID-19, I really considered calling the summer a wash. However, after a few more applications and offers, I decided to intern with Hopeprint, a local Syracuse non-profit that works to build community and provide resources for refugees and New Americans to prosper in place. Being able to work within a community in which I also lived, felt valuable and purposeful after feeling disconnected by the shift to working from home and self-isolating.
During my internship, I served as the Fund Development Intern Team Leader working with other interns to research private and government funding opportunities and draft grants for Hopeprint’s planned expansion into new cities across America. I particularly worked on researching government-based grants for each of Hopeprint’s locations, looking at every level from federal to city for grant opportunities and public programs in place to assist with community development needs in line with Hopeprint’s mission. At the end of this internship, one of my main deliverables will be a government funding guide on how to locate, apply for, and use government grants and community development programs, as well as which funding opportunities best align with each location’s projects.
While this was all new territory for me, the most important learning aspect was learning how to intern from home. How do I manage distractions, create work-life balance, and feel motivated to get work done when my cat keeps interrupting my Zoom calls? I’m still working on those answers, but I’m taking my summer internship from home experience as practice for the new learning and working environment that lies ahead. Each week during the all-team meeting, everyone shares their “hopeprint” for the week—what kept you going, what inspired you, and what made you remember why you chose non-profit/public service work—and my “hopeprint” for this pandemic summer is Hopeprint.
Sarah Forland is a recent graduate of the Public Diplomacy and Global Communications program from the Maxwell and Newhouse Schools. She formerly interned at the American Security Project and the Global Engagement Center (GEC) at the U.S. Department of State.