At College for Social Innovation, we know that our first jobs and internships shaped our futures and cultivated our passion for social sector work. These experiences are the reason we are here today! The beginning of summer marks the start of similar experiences for college students everywhere—experiences that will open doors of opportunity and launch inspiring careers. In this blog series, our staff will tell the stories of their own first internships, sharing advice, memories, and appreciation for their earliest professional experiences
Molly O’Shea is our Associate Manager for Marketing and Communications. Molly graduated from the Community Development department at the University of Vermont, where she developed an interest in nonprofit communication and service-learning. This interest was fostered by the mentorship of professors and internship supervisors who provided encouragement for Molly to pursue a career in communications. Here at CFSI Molly has many roles, oversees numerous projects, and runs all of our social media platforms. We are lucky to have her!
What was your first internship/ job experience like?
During my sophomore year of college, I had my first internship experience at my local news station, WCAX, in Burlington, VT. It was fun and I learned a lot. My experience at WCAX helped solidify my passion for visual storytelling!
However, my most memorable internship was at ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Camplain during my senior year of college. I had an amazing mentor who I am still in touch with (Hi Carolyn! Thanks for all you do for everyone! You’re the best!) who really helped me grow professionally and personally. She not only pushed me to produce great work, but helped me see how design, photography, and communications at large connected to the mission of the museum. She gave me a lot of agency over my work, which let me explore and develop new skills.
Working at ECHO sparked my love of informal learning and education spaces. I know it sounds cheesy but interning there shaped me and what I hope to do in my career.
TLDR: mentors make these experiences great, and internships are meaningful and can really change your life!
What made you interested in this type of work (your current job)?
I became interested in nonprofit communication during my time in the Community Development and Applied Economics (CDAE) program at UVM. I loved learning about the ways I can utilize my skillset to strengthen and build a community. I feel lucky to be able to continue to do that here at College for Social Innovation!
I was fortunate to be a part of a program that encouraged experiential learning in their students and had the opportunity to do amazing internships while in college. My internships were very formative for me professionally, so I wanted to work at CFSI to help bring positive, impactful internships like mine to more students.
What is one piece of advice you would give to students in their first internship?
I would tell students in their first internship to never be afraid to ask for more! Take initiative, ask to be a part of meetings you are interested in, volunteer to do more than just tasks assigned to you, and don’t be afraid to try new things. Be open to learning and growing because that is why you’re there!