So you’ve been to CAPAL’s happy hours and professional development programs. But have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes when you’re not around? This month, I had the chance to see the action firsthand as part of University of Maryland’s Intern for A Day program. You’ll get an insider’s view into my experience right here on this blog.
Located in a quaint office, CAPAL’s dedicated staff is working hard to get programming off the ground. I spent the day hanging out with Elizabeth and Eugene, the incredible people who turn many of CAPAL’s programming concepts into realities. Elizabeth is the Program Manager and works hard to make sure everything runs smoothly, including getting the funding for all the wonderful programs offered. Eugene is CAPAL’s Public Service Fellow. He helps to plan events, coordinate volunteer programs, and bring out the creative opus of the organization. Both bring some West Coast flair to the East Coast while wearing many hats.
As an Intern for a Day, I got hands-on experience with the oil that makes a nonprofit run: fundraising. It’s not always apparent, but those wonderful professional development programs and scholarships need to get funded somehow. It was amazing to see and experience how CAPAL goes about identifying potential funders and reaching out to organizations to get funding. I got time to do some hands-on prospect research while there and gained a new appreciation for search engines and the internet in general. I also got to do more fun stuff like talking to Liz and Eugene about plans for upcoming events and programs. It being APA month, things sure are busy around here. I only had to look at the big calendar on the wall behind Liz’s desk for a reminder. That being said, look forward to more happy hours and the Heritage Ball that’s coming up in May. CAPAL will also be launching a Diversity Talks series and a revamped volunteer program soon so stay tuned for more information on those.
All in all, my day at CAPAL was awe-inspiring. As a black woman and soon to be graduate interested in nonprofits and working with communities of color, it was great to learn more about how CAPAL works with the APA community to create a culture of empowerment and leadership. In addition to offering a great learning experience, both Liz and Eugene offered a fresh perspective on life and had some sage advice for young professionals like me: find a way to connect your passions to whatever you do, no matter where you go.
Nyana Quashie is a senior Geography major at the University of Maryland, with vast knowledge of sustainable human development and poverty. She is committed to engaging communities and creating social change both in the U.S. and abroad. She has done 2 Alternative Break trips on issues such as human trafficking, and the education of minorities in an urban setting. In the summer of 2013 she interned in Nicaragua with the Social Entrepreneur Corps, consulting with local businesses and organizations in rural and semi-rural areas of the country. Currently she works to end poverty around the world as a REAL Change Fellow with the grassroots advocacy organization RESULTS. You can often find her at her University’s Career Center, where she advises her peers on the ins and outs of the internship and job search process.