This week’s Highlighting Hound is Maureen Lynch, a senior majoring in Communications and Media. In the interview below, Maureen shares her experience as the Blogging Intern at Project Purple, a Connecticut-based nonprofit organization that raises awareness and support for patients who are battling pancreatic cancer. Read the interview below to learn more about Maureen’s internship.
What does a typical day look like as an intern?
As the blogging intern, I typically was able to write about two to three stories a day. I created personal profiles on cancer survivors, patients, family members, runners/fundraisers, and caregivers. I also conducted interviews for those personal stories, asking questions about their experiences with pancreatic cancer. The organization’s main mode of fundraising is marathons and outside events such as our Charity Golf Classic. I work on event announcements, recaps, branding, and driving fundraising. My goal, along with the rest of the marketing team was and still is to create a world without pancreatic cancer through spreading awareness about this disease.
Were you involved in any major projects or accomplishments during your internship?
I have two projects that I absolutely love working on that showcase how our organization works to uplift the pancreatic cancer community. The first one is a story on Jacklyn Darst, a woman who ran the 2023 Chicago Marathon with our Project Purple run team. She lost her father to pancreatic cancer in May of 2023. Her enthusiasm for running and her kind heart made the article a pleasure to write. We received some great feedback on her article, and Jacklyn herself was very happy with how the write-up turned out. I was very proud of this piece, not only because it was a great piece of writing, but also because it opened my eyes to the importance of this cause and how the simple act of listening is sometimes the greatest thing we can do for someone who is hurting.
The second project I am very proud of was a joint effort between me and our videographer intern. We created a video together for the Blue Dream gala, an event held at the Muses in Southampton. I created a voice-over script and helped with the planning and direction of the video. It’s a highly prestigious event, and I was honored to be able to create a video that showcased Project Purple’s message with such an esteemed audience. The video received a very positive reaction at the gala, and we ended up raising a lot of money for a specific research grant that honored the life of one of our biggest supporters, James Pantendis. In both instances, I was so proud of the work I had done to capture the message of our charity, and the good these projects produced for our community.
What are your career goals? How will this internship help you reach these goals?
I have many goals for my future career, one of which is to be able to create stories that make a difference in people’s lives. Project Purple provides me with a platform to do the work that I love, and most importantly, to make a difference in other people’s lives. Knowing that my work can help others who are grieving the loss of a loved one, or looking for answers on how to cope with this disease is an incredible feeling.
Getting experience with helping others in this way has greatly improved my story-telling skills, and I am proud to know that in the future, I will be able to tell even better stories thanks to the experience I have gained with this organization.
Why did you apply to Project Purple? What aspects of the organization and position interested you?
I applied to this internship because I wanted to have a summer job where I wasn’t just working for a corporate structure of some kind. I wanted to take the time to explore my passion for writing with a purpose. Project Purple was the perfect place for me to take my passion for writing and channel it towards helping others. The organization also allows me the freedom to work with others, to gain real-world experience in the field I want to go into, and pushes me to use my creative skills in new and unique ways. It was the perfect place for me to gain experience while still doing what I love.
What advice would you give to a student who wants to participate in an internship?
I would suggest to anyone looking for an internship to think outside the box. When I started looking for internships last Spring, I was looking for opportunities in a newsroom because that environment best aligned with what I wanted to do in my career. However, when I started to broaden my horizons, I found a lot of great organizations that were looking for writers, including Project Purple.
I think taking the time to look for jobs that align with the skills you are looking to use, rather than the environment or specific title you are looking for broadens your opportunities. I would have never thought to work with a charity before finding Project Purple, and now, I have fallen in love with this type of work!
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