Intern Name: Lucy Dornbach
Major: Gender Studies
Minors: Hispanic Studies & Peace Studies
Title/Place of Internship: Student Director/ Sister Nancy Hynes Institute for Women's Leadership at CSB
How did you find out about your internship/fellowship/etc.?
I have been working at the IWL since the spring of my first year at CSB. After learning the ropes and program coordinating for two years, I applied to be the student director for the 2018-2019 school year and was awarded the position. I am currently still working in this role and was able to fulfill my Gender Studies major internship credits through this experience as well.
What were your responsibilities at your internship/fellowship/etc.?
Essentially, I run a small business--I oversee a staff of ten student employees, handle the budget, assist in planning and executing events, book speakers and guests to bring to campus, and constantly look for new and dynamic ways to fulfill the IWL's mission, which states: To empower women to become local and global leaders by engaging in inclusive dialogue, reflective thinking, and values-based leadership that celebrates and recognizes women as shapers of our world.
What was the most beneficial aspect of your experience?
The most beneficial aspect of my experience was being able to reflect on how my Gender Studies coursework has and continues to influence my leadership style. It was also very beneficial to connect the ways in which gender studies and women in leadership coincide. My job as the student director includes facilitating the event planning process and making sure that all programming and events align with the IWL’s mission, vision, and core objectives. During the beginning stages of this process, thanks to the variety of gender studies courses I have taken, I was able to provide suggestions to my staff members about the ways in which women experience leadership opportunities (or lack thereof) based on their intersecting identities, social positioning, cultural factors, and even geographical location. After giving a short presentation about this subject to my staff members, they had a better grasp on which aspects of women’s leadership we tend to leave out. Those aspects include the voices and experiences of trans women and nonbinary leaders, women with differing abilities, and women’s women in different disciplines such as the arts and sciences. I could not have done this presentation confidently without my background in gender studies because the curriculum has given me a variety of pertinent examples and resources to share.
How can you apply what you experienced at your internship/fellowship/etc. in the future?
Not only having the skills that I have learned from all of my roles at the IWL, but especially during this internship experience, will no doubt be useful in any future job or position. Skills such as managing and communicating with a team, managing an office, leading meetings, facilitating dialogue, and following a budget will all be very helpful to me in any field I enter after graduation. Additionally, what I learned in terms of the importance of women in leadership and all the ways that women everywhere are such pillars and leaders in their own ways has not only inspired me, but will support me as I look for steps to begin my career after graduation.
What advice would you offer to future students interested in this experience?
Be willing and open to doing the grunt work! Being able to accomplish tasks and be self-sufficient while leading a team is not easy, but it is an incredibly enriching experience. Even if you do not have all the skills right away, be confident in asking questions, asking for help, and delegating tasks.