Adventures in the Non Profit World (Part II) by Allison Cossman

Live from Washington, DC, summer marketing intern Allison Cossman is taking you behind the scenes of JWI. A Maryland native, Allison is a senior at the University of Michigan, majoring in communication studies. She is blogging throughout the summer for Michigan’s Communications Department blog about her life as a non-profit intern, her attempts to figure out her future, and highlights from her summer working in the nation’s capital. 

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by Allison Cossman

And so, my adventurous non-profit intern life continues, as I remain seated at my same back-corner desk, stare at the same computer screen, and chit-chat with the same fellow interns (may I be so bold as to call them friends). Despite the same backdrop, I somehow feel that in just these past two weeks I have (please mind the cliché) grown and learned a tremendous amount about my future, the non-profit world, and myself.

There is something about interning at a 9-to-5 job, and wearing professional clothing, that makes you feel more mature by the minute. Heading to work at Jewish Woman International (JWI) everyday makes me feel like I am “a real person” (AKA: a post grad who is responsible, fully grown-up, and capable of running his/her own life). Though I realize I am still an undergrad living with my parents, I feel like each day that passes at JWI I become more confident in my professional abilities, more enthralled about succeeding on work assignments, and more in tune with what I want out of life.

In these past two weeks, I helped put together JWI’s Summer Series (www.jwi.org/summer: an event where interns learn and discuss issues relevant to them such as financial literacy, dating abuse, and eating disorders). I helped plan and execute this event from start to finish and in turn got to enjoy the incredible feeling of accomplishment when the series ran smoothly.  I helped Jewish Woman plan new ways to push more readers onto and interacting with the online version of the magazine. I wrote more articles to be published in the online and print versions of Jewish Woman.

DC Interns attend JWI’s Summer Series

Outside of JWI, I have been making an effort to take advantage of my time in the nation’s capital by networking with interns around the city, meeting successful professionals for coffee, and taking part in NCWO’s (http://www.womensorganizations.org) weekly leadership seminar and speakers forum, New Faces More Voices. Constantly meeting and hearing from activists who endlessly pursue their desires to change the world encourages me to go after my dreams, no matter how far-fetched or seemingly unachievable they are.

Motivated by living in D.C. and interning at a non-profit dedicated to enhancing the lives of women and children, I am becoming closer to figuring out what I want from my future. I know that I want to make a difference in the lives of underachieving or underprivileged young women by inspiring them to realize their potential and chase their own dreams. I am no longer afraid to admit to myself this somewhat clichéd and ostensibly implausible life ambition because I have met and read about women who have achieved similar dreams.  I had a taste of professional accomplishment after planning a successful Summer Series, and hope to experience this feeling again and again throughout my life as I work fervently to achieve my long-term goals.

The JWI interns (I am in the middle) smile after a successful Summer Series

In the next few weeks at JWI, I hope to learn and interact more with incredible women who have realized their seemingly impossible goals. I hope finding mentors like this will help me learn practical means to plan a career and a life around my aspirations. I hope to continue writing for the magazine and brainstorming creative marketing strategies, because I am realizing how much I truly love doing this. I will continue to put my all into my work at JWI not only to make a good impression, but because I believe my persistent efforts are helping, in whatever small way they can, JWI achieve their goal to empower women and girls.

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”-Anne Frank

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