Alexandra’s Experience as a Development Intern

My name is Alexandra Chavez, and I would like to share my experience of working this summer as a development intern for PCC Community Wellness Center, an organization that encompasses 11 health centers that offer comprehensive care and support services that serve 9 Chicago community areas in the Westside and west suburbs.

As a development intern, I assisted the development department, which is responsible for grant procurement and the handling of the organization’s marketing and communication. My responsibilities included the following:

  • Assisting with the creation and distribution of organizational communication and marketing materials, such as: annual report, E-newsletter, company newsletter, press releases, flyers, brochures, etc.
  • Assisting with the planning and execution of organization activities and events
  • Researching and evaluating prospective grant opportunities and helping to prepare grant files
  • Assisting with mailings, filing and other projects as assigned

I can honestly say that this internship captured the importance of communication in the workplace and has allowed me to put the knowledge learned throughout my courses to good use!

As a communication student, I was exposed to concepts, theories, and behaviors that have allowed me to be a successful intern. For example, when dealing with marketing materials, I now know how to market them in a way that appeals to the target audience of the organization. Logos, color schemes, placement, fonts, and keeping the audience in mind are things that were taught in my persuasion and integrated marketing communication courses. Also, when working with grants, I was able to use persuasive cues and language that was also learned in those courses.

I was especially happy to have learned how to do a press release in introduction to journalism, as I ended up having to do two press releases for PCC. In addition, I was able to use the Associated Press Stylebook to my advantage, which was a requirement in that course.

As a student transitioning to an office environment, behaviors that were learned from my corporate communication courses stuck out to me. Maintaining a professional demeanor, communicating with as much information in as little time as possible, visions and missions, and the importance of having good organizational communication were all key takeaways from those courses.

The PCC Austin Farm is located at 330 N. Lotus Avenue in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood.
The PCC Austin Farm is located at 330 N. Lotus Avenue in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood.

I had many projects throughout my internship that allowed me to showcase my creative skills. My favorite projects included the annual report (which I’m still currently working on), press releases, and working on all of the PCC Austin Farm’s grand opening marketing materials. I am responsible for creating the entire annual report, which will be published sometime in October. My press releases were published in various news media sources, all of which make me proud. And all of the farm marketing that I’ve created (e.g. postcards, flyers, timeline poster board) were used around PCC and during the grand opening. As far as working with grants, I was exposed to some writing for grant proposals and reports. I enjoyed preparing grant files and doing grant research. I loved seeing how PCC can obtain so much money from various outlets that enable them to grow the organization.

Guests participate in urban gardening activities conducted by the Windy City Harvest team.
Guests participate in urban gardening activities conducted by the Windy City Harvest team.

As a development intern for a non-profit health care organization, I’ve learned a lot about the organization and the work that happens behind the scenes in non-clinical executive administration. I was the first intern that PCC has ever had in an administrative setting, and upon completion of the internship I was offered a paid position as the development coordinator on registry status. This means that I will be part-time until graduation, and then based on the department need, I will be able to attain full-time status.

I am beyond proud of myself and the work that I’ve accomplished during my internship that has led me to this point in my life. As I continue to develop my skillset and build my professional career, I’d like to thank Dominican University and the Communication Arts and Sciences department for providing me with the education necessary to embark on this exciting path.