Intern Profile: Leah Chamberlin at the Senior Services of Albany

Leah Chamberlin1Leah Chamberlin spent her Spring 2014 internship with the Senior Services of Albany. This is her account.

I interned in the Development and Marketing department at Senior Services of Albany. This organization is a county-funded, not-for-profit organization geared toward providing various services to senior citizens in the Capital District. Some of these services include such activities as grocery shopping assistance programs, senior day programs, activities that help engage seniors’ minds and bodies, and transportation. Senior Services also runs one of the state’s largest Meals on Wheels programs. In order to keep all of these programs running, Senior Services holds three major fundraising events each year.

A portion of my work as an intern was helping to promote two of these events: Travers Wine Tasting and The Third Age Achievement Awards. In order to help prepare for these events, I created web pages for the Senior Services of Albany website using WordPress to advertise the events and made and edited multiple excel spreadsheets to use in a mail merge for letters for both events. I also helped to edit letters and stuff envelopes, and I compiled information and wrote and edited biographies of award recipients for the emcee to read at the Third Age Achievement Awards.

I benefited greatly from this experience. I was fortunate to be able to share an office with my supervisor and, one some days, another employee in the marketing department. From this, I gained a first-hand look at the various tasks and situations that were done in the office. It was beneficial for me to be able to communicate with her in both a formal and informal way. I gained insight into many of the inner workings of the organization and what is done behind the scenes. My supervisor was able to verbally communicate about what it’s like to work in her position and I was also able to more easily ask questions because I shared a space. I learned about the benefits and drawbacks of working at a non-profit company, and I enjoyed getting to work with different types of people in a small office space.

One memorable moment from my internship was during a trip to Newgate Adult Services, a day program for seniors. While there, I spoke to the woman who runs the program and received information about how the program is run. This was helpful to me because I needed to make the brochure, but I also gained insight into how some of the major programs that Senior Services offers are put together. Also, I was able to meet with some of the seniors while they were doing a craft activity. One of the seniors was from a foreign country and claimed to be able to speak seven languages. She sang us a folk song from her home country and lit up the room with her voice and energy. I felt lucky to be able to be a small part of the process to get seniors to these programs.

This internship helped me to use my skills as an English major is many ways. Firstly, being a good writer is a great skill to have for any job, especially ones in marketing and development. My editing, compiling, and writing skills helped me with many of my tasks. My internship taught me to work more slowly and meticulously when need be; not everything needs to be rushed. However, in order to meet deadlines, it is important to learn how to manage my time and to use my judgment to decide what needs more time and attention.

Companies such as newspapers and news channels that work with non-profits often require that advertisements and mailings be free of error and sent out by a specific date. This is something that I was able to see my supervisor and other employees struggle with and I believe that being an English major equipped me with the skills to do this type of task more efficiently.

After college, I want to work for a non-profit organization. One reason for this is because it is my ultimate goal to help people. I also plan to go to graduate school. My advice for any student who is taking this class and doing an internship is to always act professionally and put your best foot forward.

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