Lilly Family Students Expand Their Horizons — Virtual Internships with The Patterson Foundation

Lilly Family Students Expand Their Horizons — Virtual Internships with The Patterson Foundation

Posted on August 08, 2022 by Avery Crews Prado de Lima, Nonprofit Internship Program

Editor's Note: Through a collaboration with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, The Patterson Foundation's Nonprofit Internship Program connects students at the school with opportunities at nonprofits in the Suncoast region. A successful internship results in students gaining priceless experience and insight into nonprofit work, while a nonprofit gains valuable completed projects from students educated at the world's first and only school of philanthropy.

Internships are a fundamental part of students gaining experience within their field of study because of the opportunity to acquire new skill sets and create valuable connections with established professionals. The classic internship is low paying (if it pays at all), occurs in person, often includes menial tasks to fill the time, and is many young professionals' first experience with a job in their chosen field. In-person internships as a student, while helpful in gaining experience and connections, are often difficult to balance with coursework. The prominence of unpaid internships within the nonprofit sector creates unequal power balances between students in need of paid work and those who are stable enough to pursue internships solely for experience. Remote internships and organizations like The Patterson Foundation are working to remedy these issues.

Over the last two years, I have participated in three remote internships. Each has provided unique opportunities to grow and cultivate skills. While not initially one's first thought for a job, aaa remote internship is the perfect position for a student because it allows you to balance coursework and gain industry experience during the semester. Within my positions, I have run a GivingTuesday Campaign, marketed an online fundraising initiative, developed a volunteer management system, and gained experience with a variety of online tools. Based on my experiences with these organizations and the work I did, there are three specific things that make remote internships worthwhile and, in my opinion, make remote internships the best option for students:

  1. The flexibility to define my own schedule and dedicate time to specific tasks and projects as needed

  2. The ability to cultivate new skills independently while also being supported by skilled supervisors and coworkers

  3. The confidence to ask questions for clarification and be more purposeful in my communication
My experience with remote internships, two of which have been supported by the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy's partnership with The Patterson Foundation, has supported the development of my self-discipline and cultivated new critical thinking skills that would have emerged differently in an in-person workplace. I have worked with people all over the United States on projects that have a global impact which would not have been possible with a traditional internship experience. I encourage all students to pursue remote internship opportunities because of the many benefits they bring to students and the organizations their work will support.

Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest.