An interest in the fields of healthcare, nonprofit management, and sociology inspired Courtney Winger ’13 to spend her summer working as an intern in Stamford, Conn., at AmeriCares, a disaster relief and humanitarian medical aid nonprofit organization. After working at the organization for 10 weeks, the Shelton, Conn., resident gained valuable experience on the ins and outs of working at a nonprofit while becoming part of a larger team dedicated to providing immediate emergency aid to people and communities globally.
Fairfield University courses that Winger took started her on the path to looking for a way to put her classroom knowledge into action. The Sociology and International Studies major said, “I was in the middle of my [nonprofit management] class and all of the guest inspired me to look more in the field. When I learned about AmeriCares I knew that it was everything I was looking for.”
Winger worked as a development intern in the institutional relations office where she dealt with issues relating to corporate partnerships and fundraising. Her duties involved research on potential corporate donors and putting together corporate company profiles and matching them with AmeriCares projects. She and 11 other interns also worked on creating a video meant for AmeriCares’ social media platforms to increase activity on Twitter and Facebook.
In addition to the work that she did in the institutional relations office, she and the other interns had many opportunities to meet with other areas of the organization and attend special seminars on public health. “Every Monday we had all staff meetings which was great because you get to hear from everyone across the organization. We started with a “mission moment” and heard about something inspiring that our organization had done recently,” she explained.
“Courtney did great work overall for the Institutional Relations group, managing a array of assignments that tapped into her organizational and database skills, said Connie Bertkau, Associate Director of Domestic Resource Development. “But one of her greatest contributions was the perspective she brought to the team annual offsite strategy meeting. When asked to prepare a report of her observations following the offsite she presented the team with a thorough overview of the day…In fact, her report displayed great insight into both strengths and weaknesses of the proceedings of the day. We will use her report as a roadmap when we design our next strategy session.”
Winger’s academic history at Fairfield set her up nicely for her work at AmeriCares. In addition to the nonprofits management course [Winger has a minor in management], taught by Dr. Catherine Giapponi, She took “Ethics of Health” with Dr. Curt Naser; “Cultures and Societies of Africa ”with Dr. Scott Lacy; and “Social and Developing Nations” with Dr. Margo Ramial-Nankoe. The combination of global studies, health, and sociology was benefitial to Winger who has always been interested in people, cultures, and volunteerism (she has volunteered for many years at United Way and the Special Olympics).
While summer is over, Winger’s connection to AmeriCares has grown. She will spend the fall semester as the Social Media and Web Marketing intern. Her assignments will include writing web stories and monitoring AmeriCares’ social media presence among other duties. “This internship has exceeded my expectations,” said Winger. “I’ve learned so much and feel very integrated with the organization.”
For a link to the AmeriCares social media video that Winger and other AmeriCares interns made, click here:
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