#SummerOfPurpose: Grace Chu

Group of summer interns stands in front of Cleveland skyline

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 Grace Chu, who is working with Policy Matters Ohio where she collaborates with members of the research and policy analyst staff to complete substantive, interesting research, policy analysis and reports.

Grace Chu HeadshotGrace Chu

College: Case Western Reserve University

Internship Host Site: Policy Matters Ohio

Why did you initially decide to participate in the Cleveland Foundation Summer Internship program?

Since high school, I have been actively volunteering and interning in the nonprofit sector, primarily with youth. These experiences provided me with an understanding of some of the challenges in education and health care that are hindering the development and achievement of youth. On the other hand, these experiences allowed me to see how youth outcomes can be significantly improved through the dedication of nonprofit organizations and the efforts of innovative, compassionate staff members. I am convinced that nonprofits are a powerful influence in shaping the lives of youth and their communities. So I want to be a part of the work of local nonprofits to impact youth and serve the Greater Cleveland community, while gaining practical experience in a professional setting. This is exactly what the Cleveland Foundation Summer Internship Program would provide, making it a great fit for me.

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

Medicaid expansion infographic showing barriers to access

Infographic created by Grace as part of her work at Policy Matters Ohio

By far, the best part of my internship experience is the opportunity to engage in policy development at Policy Matters Ohio. Policy has the potential to create equity and significantly improve standards of living.  I believe that policy work is absolutely necessary and makes social change possible. At Policy Matters Ohio, this is something that they uphold as well. It’s exciting to learn from incredibly intelligent and welcoming staff that are passionate about creating communities that are more equitable and inclusive. I am thankful to be able to contribute to their work through conducting policy research and analysis in an area that I am interested in. I am currently focusing on education policy, helping to write a report on K-12 school funding.

What are your career goals after college?

This fall I am starting my Master’s in Social Service Administration (MSW equivalent) at CWRU. With a social work degree, I hope to be able to make in impact in urban development, education, and/or healthcare.

How has this internship helped you grow professionally? 

This internship has helped me better understand what it means to collaborate as a team. Team members need to be able to partner to be both efficient and productive. If I expect my coworkers to do their best, I also have to contribute my best.

How has this internship help you grow personally?

This internship has further developed my passion for social justice. It has given me a broader perspective of how to go about working for social change. Just looking at the nonprofits participating in the Summer Internship Program, I think this work looks different at each one. But each of their efforts is one piece of a larger picture.

What’s your favorite public space in Cleveland?

This is pretty general, but I really enjoy the Cleveland Metroparks. They are great places to hike and experience nature. But at the same time, I feel that they embody the aspect of a shared space very well; people from every background can take part in what they offer.

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

Definitely apply! It is worth spending your summer doing meaningful work at a local nonprofit. At the same time, be open to learning at sites that are outside of your scope of knowledge of interest. There may be more overlap than you think.