CCPA Summer Series 2021: The Clark Hulings Fund

By: Abigail Meeker ’22

Funding Source: CCPA Smart Family Internship Grant

Like many college students, I found the idea of transitioning from college to the workforce daunting. When I applied for a writing internship at the Clark Hulings Fund, a non-profit focused on providing business education to artists, I wasn’t sure that I even knew how to work at a nonprofit. Surprisingly, a liberal arts education was exceptionally useful for my experience working in a non-profit. My experience with class discussions prepared me to pitch my article ideas and to articulate myself in meetings (as well as to assert my ideas). My essay writing and creative writing skills allowed me to better craft articles as well as business writing, and my research experience helped not only with journalistic assignments, but also aided me in seeking out connections. 

However, the most useful thing I brought over from college to my internship was the ability to use multiple skill sets in one workplace. I was hired by my internship to work as a writer— the original plan was to write articles, emails, and questions for interviews. But once they found out that I was receiving funding, they gave me another option— I could help out with video editing, graphic design, and event coordination if I wanted. I ended up editing videos for their salon series, which features conversations with artists and collectors, as well as creating graphics. Despite the fact that I’m not majoring in any type of video editing or graphic design, I know how to quickly change gears, because my liberal arts education requires me to take many different subjects, including interdisciplinary ones, throughout my academic career. So far, I’ve edited two videos for my internship (see if you want to check them out) and created promotional material. In addition, I’ve learned about video marketing. 

Working in a corporate setting, though, is a wildly different sphere than academia. It took a while to learn not to put citations in the articles I wrote. I mean, I’m a Haverford student— we even have citations in our cheers! Despite the different mores and pacing, though, it wasn’t too difficult to adjust to the workplace. 

I would, however, give a few words of advice to other college students heading into similar internships. When writing anything business-related, try to be concise and remember that you don’t have to show off all your knowledge of the subject. Business writing is not meant to be pored over and studied in the same way as academic essays, so it’s best to communicate your ideas as succinctly as possible. It’s also important to take initiative, even if you’re not sure where to start. There’s no list of assignments or due dates, so it’s better to take matters into your own hands and decide for yourself how you can best complete your tasks. 

And lastly, it’s okay to make mistakes. Getting used to a digital workplace was a huge learning curve for me, but my manager was patient and gracious about it. Eventually, I was able to get into the swing of things, despite not completely understanding how the Slack app works. Unlike college, your performance isn’t constantly graded. While it’s important to do a good job, it’s expected that you might hand in a couple of assignments behind schedule. Don’t stress out and learn as much as you can from the experience. 

While I’m still nervous about leaving school for the “real-world,” my internship this summer has taught me valuable lessons about future career paths and how to navigate them using academic skills.