Intern name: Niles Lee
Major(s)/Minor(s): Economic and Japanese double major
Title/place of internship/fellowship, etc.: Intern at United Health Partners for Human Services and Global Minnesota
How did you find out about your internship/fellowship/etc.? I found my internship with Global Minnesota from searching the internet looking for NPOs in Minnesota that piqued my interest. I read Global Minnesota's Mission/background and that quickly caught my eye. I thought that having the opportunity to work with an organization that organizes different cultural events would be an amazing opportunity for me, helping me learn more about different cultures while learning some of the ins and outs of a nonprofit organization. My second internship with United Partners for Human Services I found through a family member that once worked for the same organization.
What were your responsibilities at your internship/fellowship/etc.? United Partners for Human Services (UPHS) Tallahassee FL
Due to the limitations of COVID-19 both of my internships were conducted from home.
At UPHS my responsibilities varied day to day which made my internship from home a lot less trivial then it could have been sitting in front of a desk in my living room. Some days I was asked to take on big projects like collecting and organizing information for 130 different organizations that UPHS works with. Usually, clerical work of this nature can be tedious and time-consuming but having the chance to look at all the different organizations that UPHS works with was actually exciting. Looking at the multitude of different organizations taught me not only a lot about all the different nonprofits out there but also it gave me a feel for what kind of community and needs that needed to be filled in the Tallahassee/Leon County area. Other days I made advertisement posters using the program Canva. I also helped organize online events through zoom, most of this work looked like making sure that all the presenters are prepared to give their presentations. This included informing them of things like what they were presenting on, collecting contact information, profile photos, and communicating additional information. I also conducted some research on what barriers are there for blighted communities in Tallahassee.
For Global Minnesota, my tasks mainly focused on clerical work. I worked on one event where Global Minnesota had organizations that have ties to Liberia come and present to the public using Zoom. For this event, I organized information about these organizations which created easy access to my advisor who was the moderator of this event.
What was the most beneficial aspect of your experience? This experience taught me how to be independent when working from home. This is the most beneficial aspect of my experience. The fellowship program leaders had us attend these fantastic events every couple of weeks and a few of them taught us the importance of things like creating your own space when you work from home or having a routine that you stick with every day. Picking up tips from events like these and learning through experience taught me a lot of useful information that I will be using in the near future doing hybrid classes at SJU. also and experience that I found greatly impactful and important was making the connections that I now have with my internship supervisors. My advisors were amazing to work with. They were flexible, hardworking, and enthusiastic leaders, having the chance to learn from them has been invaluable.
What was the most surprising thing you experienced or learned during your internship/fellowship/etc.? The most surprising part of the internship to me was learning that people that have been in their professional careers for a long time are still very unorganized. Seeing this first hand was a very humbling experience for me. It reminded me that people are just humans and nobody's perfect which removed a lot of stress off my shoulders when I was working on projects and reassured me to ask a lot of questions and not be afraid to make mistakes.
How can you apply what you experienced at your internship/fellowship/etc. in the future? I spoke on this a bit earlier, having the opportunity to learn about how I best work in an isolated environment is definitely an experience that I will be using in the near future and I'm sure in the years to come if I do any work from home. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, our learning experience at school will also be quite similar to the experience of working from home. So all of my tips and tricks to staying focused, staying positive and staying productive while not working in an office environment or in a class environment will be very useful to me and a lot of students in the upcoming whole semester.
What advice would you offer to future students interested in this experience? Hopefully, my experience will be very different than yours will be in the future. Having said that my advice would be to do what you have to do to stay focused. There will always be distractions everywhere you look, in a sense, you need to have tunnel vision and make sure that you are giving you all to the task at hand. Lastly, do everything to completion. Do not do the task only 80% of the way done, not 98%, do it 100% every time.