Internship Success Story: Tivanna

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 | Anonymous
Tivana Stepney

I used to feel intimidated while job and internship searching because of the amount of resources I would have to sort through. As a transfer student, my first semester at UMD was full of scavenger hunts and mind games of how to navigate adulthood and the campus. I transferred as a junior and immediately thought I was behind at planning and internship searching. After what seemed like my one hundred and  fifth attempt at finding a spring internship, I walked into the University Career Center and Ms. Erica Ely saved me.

Guest Post by: Tivanna, Sociology Major & LGBT Studies Minor, May 2017 Graduation

Ms. Ely could tell that I was needed immediate help. She first comforted my anxiety and then tended to my interest of finding an LGBTQ internship position. As an openly queer lesbian on campus I find it difficult to be open and feel comfortable around professors and staff, but Ms. Ely made me feel accepted while treating me with respect. She took a few minutes to introduce me to the online career center database, which was shockingly simple to use. She also reviewed my resume and gave extremely useful feedback and revision. Lastly, she reassured that I would be able to find an internship and that there is no specific timeline to follow. After our meeting I was more confident, but still felt that all hope was gone. A couple of days after my meeting with Ms. Ely I opened up my laptop and the first email I received was an application to an intern position with the Human Rights Campaign! I instantly began my application.

Weeks later after submitting the application, I received a phone call that I have been offered the internship position as Youth and Campus Engagement Intern at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC)! My position required me to create and update online resources that assist LGBTQ students and faculty in making their campus inclusive. It was also my responsibility to support HRC’s volunteers on Lobby Day, a day where activists lobby for certain rights and legislations for LGBTQ protections. My favorite part about being an intern there was attending the events. In particular, an event that stood out to me was the Global Innovative Advocacy Summit, where I met James Obergefell and learned about the global initiatives HRC is working on. At the end of my internship, I had the responsibility to market the next semester internship program. The overall internship experience was insightful and impactful. I feel that I was able to mature and grow intellectually.  

It is important to develop meaningful and strategic relationships with staff at the center: you do not have to struggle and spend hours online researching internships alone. To my fellow peers who are looking for internships, the University Career Center services is here to help and save the day, if you are willing to let them!