Through the Student Lens – Internships allow students to gain experience and follow their passions

Wheaton’s Career Services is committed to providing expert career guidance and helping students translate their interests into learning opportunities. How do students take advantage of the numerous available resources and what do they gain through their experiences? Meet one of our internship students and see Wheaton Through the Student Lens.

Anisa Antonio ’21
Major: Hispanic Studies major with a minor in General Education
Hometown: Bay Area, California

What did Wheaton’s Career Services team do to help you prepare for and secure your internship?
Wheaton’s Career Services was a vital part of my ability to secure and complete my internship. They provided resources that helped with the research process of finding an internship and secondly provided tools to strengthen the application components. In addition, they provided assistance with improving my resume, cover letter, and personal statement. Their assistance and support continued after I secured my internship, and in the end, they even provided an opportunity to showcase our internship experiences as a collective.

How many months before you began the internship did you begin your internship search and were there any obstacles you overcame during the search?
I began my internship search and completed it during the pandemic, so that was the main obstacle I had to overcome. Securing an internship during a pandemic when most organizations aren’t seeking interns or receiving regular communication was difficult. During my internship research, which started at least two months prior to my start date, I was looking for organizations that I envisioned myself being a part of beyond just an intern. It meant I was looking for nonprofit organizations that were centered on empowering minority communities either globally or domestically. Secondly, I was looking for an opportunity to learn about all the components, including how such organizations function and are funded.

A unique story is that as a kid I grew up attending a local sewing camp called SewWhat Camp in Berkeley, CA. Later, I learned that the woman who founded the camp was now the CEO of a nonprofit organization called the BayGanda Foundation and the sewing camps that helped shape who I am today were now functioning on a global scale to create an even greater impact. Therefore, when I learned the organization was providing an internship opportunity, I jumped at it because it directly aligned with my interests. My interests included addressing accessibility issues in the education sector, gender-based violence, gender gap in the access to education and the uplifting of native languages culture, and history in the education system.

What advice would you give to students looking for internships in the nonprofit field?
The advice that I would give to students seeking internships in the nonprofit field would be to brainstorm the necessary skills needed to fulfill a position. I would suggest narrowing down what type of work you want and how you can effectively contribute to the organization. It is important to establish personal learning objectives for the internship. Also, ensure that you find an organization that aligns with both your personal and professional goals. Lastly, always ask questions about internship expectations, company values, and future opportunities.

Now that you have completed your internship, how will you utilize that experience in conjunction with the Career Center to acquire a full-time job after Wheaton?

I had the opportunity to intern for the BayGanda Foundation based in the Bay Area, California, and Kampala, Uganda. It allowed me to gain experience in the nonprofit and NGO job sector where the mission is to empower girls by promoting self-sustainability through creative arts and education. This internship prepared me to function in a social and enterprising work environment. During my time interning, I gained operational experience, grant writing research experience, and aided in the collaboration with a fellow nonprofit based in Uganda.

In addition, it was a research-based experience where I learned to take the initiative to prepare outside research relating to my assigned tasks and other information pertaining to Ugandan history and politics that are relevant to the organization. I gained skills in project management, public speaking, fundraising, and grant writing. Now that I have completed my internship, I will utilize the skills learned in the job field in processes such as interviews, group projects, individual assignments, research, etc. More specifically, I can apply the grant writing and fundraising skills I developed to acquire a full-time job after Wheaton.

Given that I am a senior, the Career Center will be a key resource for myself and others. The search engines they provide with instructions and tips such as Handshake and are very useful. In addition, the staff in the Career Center make themselves available to all students, so I look forward to utilizing their services for interview practice or resume assistance.

Read more about Anisa’s internship experience at the Bayganda Foundation.

Through the Student Lens

Anisa is just one of the many engaging students here at Wheaton. As parents, you are an integral part of our community. Through the Student Lens brings the campus to you, as seen through the eyes of our students, the many roles they play and experiences they gain during the time here at Wheaton.