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 Madelyn Dill, who is working with Chardon Tomorrow, where she has been working on public history and historic preservation projects.
Name: Madelyn Dill
College: Mercyhurst University
Hometown: Thompson, Ohio
Internship Host Site: Chardon Tomorrow
Why did you initially decide to participate in this internship program?
I decided to apply because I was interested in working with, and learning more about, nonprofits in the Cleveland area, and I saw that some of the internship host sites were in Geauga County. I also knew I would be returning home from college for the summer and I saw this program as an opportunity to gain professional experience near my hometown and towards my career.
What has been the most valuable aspect of your internship experience?
The most important and valuable aspect of my internship experience has been getting to work near my hometown and learning so much more about the history of Geauga County and Chardon. Most of my focus during my internship experience has been public history and historic preservation projects, which also aligns with my interests and career goals. Therefore, I found the whole of my experience to be extremely valuable when it comes to planning my future career goals.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your internship experience?
COVID-19 restrictions created many challenges, as I am sure many other interns in this program experienced at their organizations. My historic preservation projects required a large amount of research that I was unable to fully complete because the local library and historical society were closed to the public. But, I think I learned the most from these challenges and how to find other avenues to solve a problem. I was able to communicate more with community members and leaders regarding my research for my projects, an opportunity that was possibly more rewarding and beneficial than I otherwise would have experienced. Also, I’ve been fortunate enough to have a supervisor that I can regularly check in with. Given that the majority of my internship was digital, developing clear communication skills has been another beneficial outcome to the challenges my internship faced.
What are your career goals after college?
I am a rising junior in college with plans to eventually pursue a master’s degree. Overall, I hope to build a rewarding career in public service with a goal of improving the lives of others. I plan to work in the public history field, possibly at nonprofits as I’ve now seen first-hand the impact and connections between nonprofits and a small community.
How has this internship helped you grow professionally?
Professionally, I think this internship has given me a new perspective on what Cleveland has to offer. I think the civic immersion and professional development days have been the most valuable in terms of professional growth because I learned so much about Cleveland, how different nonprofits operate, and networking – skills I will continue to carry with me. Aside from the Cleveland Foundation’s civic immersion days, I have learned so much by working at Chardon Tomorrow, especially professional email communication with both community members and leaders.
How has this internship helped you grow personally?
I think I personally grew from the standpoint of learning more about the reality of nonprofits, especially the challenges they face. My main focus at my internship site ended up being projects based in public outreach through public history and historic preservation, so I was thrilled to be able to bring some skills and information I learned from my major and minor in college to my internship experience while also learning new skills within that field.
What advice would you give to someone considering applying for the Cleveland Foundation Summer Internship program?
Do it! The application process and interviews might seem intimidating at first, but it will all be worth it. This internship experience has offered me pivotal experience when it comes to both professional and personal development that I would not have had otherwise. My advice for those considering applying is to just take everything one step at a time!