#SummerOfPurpose: Connor Collins

Connor Collins stands outside with a woman

Our #SummerOfPurpose blog series follows this year’s Cleveland Foundation Summer Interns as they spend 11 weeks working with Cleveland-area nonprofit and public sector organizations. In today’s blog we hear from Connor Collins, who is working with The City of Shaker Heights, where he collects and analyzes data, creates presentations, and conducts a community survey to support the City’s neighborhood revitalization project, the Moreland Rising project.

Connor Collins Head Shot

Connor Collins

College: Case Western Reserve University

Hometown: Middlebury, VT

Internship Host Site: The City of Shaker Heights

How did you first hear about the Cleveland Foundation Summer Internship Program?

One of my political science professors mentioned the opportunity during an advising meeting and encouraged me to apply.

Why did you initially decide to participate in this internship program?

I was excited about the opportunity to take the summer to test the waters and see if I wanted to pursue a career in the public sector. Being able to apply my education in political science, sociology, and economics was also a plus.

What has been the most challenging aspect of your internship experience?

The most challenging aspect has been navigating the transition from being a student and following that schedule to working full-time and slowly uncovering the intricacies of work and life beyond school.

When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing around Cleveland?

Being from a small town in a small state, I love having so many options for food and entertainment. Little Italy, the Cleveland Museum of Art, Uptown, Downtown, Barrio, Hodges—they’re all great. I’m a big Cavs fan too!

What are your career goals after college?

Part of why I applied for this program was to determine if nonprofit or public sector work interested me as a career path. Generally speaking, gainful employment and the opportunities to grow, learn, write, and apply my education guide me.

How has this internship helped you grow personally?

Working alongside City of Shaker Heights staff and learning about their careers and their paths has given me insight on how I want to pursue my own career. Similarly, I’m grateful for the opportunity to meet and work with residents, to learn about their lives, and discover what common interests we may share. All of this has helped me grow. 

What’s your favorite public space in Cleveland? 

Wade Oval.

What advice would you give to someone considering applying for the Cleveland Foundation Summer Internship program?

Really read through the host sites to find the ones that interest you most and tailor your application around those. I also recommend finding a place to stay close to your host site.