Pictured: GrowNYC’s green market in Union Square.
My name is Kyla Stewart, and I am a senior at Seton Hall University majoring in Diplomacy with a minor in Spanish. I worked as the Government Relations Intern at GrowNYC, a not-for-profit organization that focuses on sustainability and food access.
GrowNYC’s programming includes green markets and community gardens as well as school-based initiatives that emphasize school gardens, self-sustaining cafeterias, zero waste, and youth employment for our markets, promoting environmental awareness at a young age. There are over 100 gardens and 50 green markets across the five NYC boroughs. I developed a huge passion for the organization’s mission, and I thoroughly enjoyed every day spent working in the office and out in the field.
I completed a variety of tasks under the development department but drafting and editing contracts were the priority. My work involved processing and writing contract agreements for GrowNYC funding while also seeking out new grants and reporting on progress for each contract. I never thought that processing a 200+ page city council discretionary funding allocation contract could be fun, but I enjoyed it tremendously, and I have gained so much insight as to how non-profits function and fund programs.
I was also regularly involved with the non-profit lobbying arm of the group, which included writing and prepping materials for presentations intent on helping GrowNYC gain more funding for its programming. In this role, I was able to be highly independent and gain plenty of hands-on experience in the field of government relations, and I am so grateful for the opportunities offered by the non-profit and its impactful initiatives.
GrowNYC was more than I ever could have hoped for. The work environment fostered so much of my professional growth, and I gained an incredible amount of knowledge and experience as a result. This internship cemented my interest in the government relations field with a non-profit focus, and I hope to someday get my master’s in diplomacy in the field of sustainable development. GrowNYC’s mission left a huge personal impact on me, and I go forward confident that I have gained the skills I need to be successful.
My name is Carlee Sutera, and I am a Senior Diplomacy and International Relations student at Seton Hall University. Over the summer, I interned at the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Organization (WEDO) in New York City. WEDO is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to educate, empower, celebrate, and support women in business and inspire girls to be leaders in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) so they can create a positive impact in their communities worldwide. I was the International Relations Intern responsible for communicating and coordinating with WEDO global ambassadors for the official celebration of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day on November 19th. Since the event is celebrated in 144 countries, there is a lot to be done year-round, and I was given the opportunity to work intimately with ambassadors from the United States, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
My Diplomacy classes prepared me to interact with people of all different cultures and enhanced my communications and negotiating skills, all of which were essential to my position. The skills gained at my internship have been crucial to my professional development as well, specifically my experience with new communications tools such as WordPress, Canva, and SendGrid. I also had the opportunity to improve my interpersonal skills and networking abilities. When working with many different people on many different, coordinated tasks, there are bound to be communication issues, but I learned to navigate the process and be productive even in high-stress situations.
Some of my favorite assignments included event planning for WEDO-sponsored events, such as our monthly breakfasts with women entrepreneurs discussing their experiences. This was some of the most rewarding work because I was able to see and experience the physical results. Early on, we featured Adi Eckhouse, the creator of the iPhone’s facial recognition technology (called RealFace), from Israel. At another breakfast, we featured Reshma Saujani and Fereshteh Forough, two women pioneers in the coding field with non-profit organizations that encourage closing the gender gap in technology spaces. Listening to women talk about their experiences as entrepreneurs was truly inspiring and further emphasized the importance of what WEDO as an organization is doing. While I have been extremely lucky and privileged with many opportunities in my life, many women around the world do not have the same access. WEDO gives women opportunities that they would not have otherwise, making a real impact on individual lives. Because of this experience, I hope to use my skills to further uplift and support women in my line of professional work. I would recommend this internship to anyone interested in gaining experience with a large and impactful non-profit that also has a significant impact on the lives of women all over the world.
My name is Trevor West, and I am a junior at Seton Hall University majoring in International Relations & Diplomacy, Modern Languages (Japanese/Chinese), and Philosophy. I am currently interning at the Japan Society Language Center in New York City, a non-profit organization founded after World War II.
I have a long-standing interest in the Japanese language and culture, reaching back to my childhood and early exposure to Japanese pop culture through anime, video games, and music. I pursued these interests further and began studying the language in hopes of being able to understand and experience more aspects of the culture. The Japan Society is a great organization that helps individuals to learn Japanese as well as appreciate the vast richness of both ancient and contemporary Japanese history, art, and more.
The essential tasks I complete at the Language Center include a variety of administrative work, such as: communicating with clients, registering students for classes, and managing the student information database by adding and updating information. I also interact with staff and see the living process of a school-system. My internship relates to my international relations curriculum as I am experiencing how a non-profit operates and meets its goals.
This internship has been a first-hand look into a system that, until now, my classes have only focused on in the abstract aspects. The mission statement of the Japan Society, with its goal to deepen “mutual understanding between the United States and Japan in a global context” appears abstract until put into practice. The Language Center’s practice fulfills this deepening of mutual understanding by facilitating classroom experiences, and my responsibility is to ensure that interested individuals receive excellent service. These individuals will learn from the courses and further their understanding of the Japanese language and culture, and the Japan Society will be one step closer to their goal of expanding U.S.-Japan relations.
My internship with Japan Society has been a humbling experience and shown me how amazing NGOs are in practice. It is one thing to learn about organizations, institutions, governments, or any other complex topic in the classroom, but actually working and getting to know the feeling of how an organization functions is different. The internship has given me practical knowledge that the classroom has not precisely because physical experience helps one to grasp the abstract concepts learned in the day-to-day functioning of an organization.
This internship is exciting because it is an opportunity to see the real-life application of what I have learned so far in my classes. While the skills I use daily are relatively basic, interning at the Language Center has given me a way to connect with others who are influential in promoting deeper U.S.-Japan relations and allowed me to give back and participate in the mission. Thus, the best part of this internship is the happy union between what I have learned in class and the tangible functioning of Japan Society as well as the opportunity to further U.S.-Japan relations.
My name is Madison McHugh, and I am a graduate student in the dual degree program at Seton Hall University. I am obtaining a Master of Business Administration as well as a Master of Arts in Diplomacy & International Relations. I interned as the Communications Associate at The Nicholson Foundation, a non-profit organization in Newark, NJ focused on funding projects in health and early childhood across the state.
As a Communications Associate, I worked directly under the Communications Manager and assisted in assignments related to the official branding of all materials for The Nicholson Foundation. These assignments included managing website content, posting for the organization’s official social media, and writing and editing press releases, op-eds, and speeches.
My coursework in the dual MBA/MADIR program prepared me for success in my internship as I utilized skills such as research, writing, and public speaking. Not only do I feel that I honed my writing into specialized capacities, such as those embodied in health and early childhood education, but I am confident that I can fulfill the responsibilities of a communications position in my post-grad prospects.
My internship with The Nicholson Foundation was a unique experience because it offered me vast flexibility in assignments and responsibilities. Moreover, my individual input was highly valued within the organization, and many of my ideas were implemented during my time. I was even able to pitch a unique idea to the Executive Director: I wanted to create and manage his official, professional Twitter page. To this end, I created a PowerPoint and pitched the idea after setting a personal meeting. He was very receptive, and with more discussion on details and management in the weeks to follow, he agreed that I should move forward with my idea.
The freedom that I was given at The Nicholson Foundation was both exhilarating and intimidating. On the one hand, I was able to capitalize many times on my ideas and implement positive changes towards increased efficiency and impact within and without the organization. On the other hand, the Communications Manager offered me a great amount of responsibility during his paternal leave, and I managed the Communications Department in his stead throughout April and May. At the time, while I had been acclimated to the chain of command, it was a new and exciting challenge to manage to both positions as well as the needs of the department as they overlapped with others in the organization.
I would highly recommend this internship to students who want the opportunity to put their innovation, originality, and professional drive to the test. The Nicholson Foundation is a wonderful organization that embraces new ideas and values contributions from youth that perpetuate the organization’s legacy as a health and early childhood funder in New Jersey.