Our #SummerOfPurpose blog series follows this year’s Cleveland Foundation Summer Interns as they reflect on 11 weeks spent working with Cleveland-area nonprofit and public sector organizations. In today’s blog, we hear from Macin Sheeder, who spent her summer at Arts Impact supporting the organization’s work providing arts-based learning opportunities to Cleveland schools.
Name: Macin Sheeder
College: Case Western Reserve University
Hometown: Curwensville, Pennsylvania
Internship Host Site: Arts Impact
What has been the most valuable aspect of your internship experience?
I’m grateful to have been matched with a supervisor who doubles as an amazing mentor (and sometimes cheerleader). In general, the Arts Impact staff’s willingness to include me in decision-making enriched my experience so much. I also appreciated the opportunity to contribute to a specific project, Arts Impact’s 20th Anniversary Celebration, because the feeling of seeing the event come together in my final week was extremely rewarding. I’m excited to continue working with the organization in a part-time contract role when my internship ends.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your internship experience?
I think the hardest part was finding the confidence to speak up and bring my ideas to the table, especially as the most inexperienced person in the room. But overcoming the fear just took a bit of practice. I learned that my good ideas were appreciated and implemented, and my bad ideas were rejected without anything embarrassing happening. The more I shared, the stronger my communication and collaboration skills became.
When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing around Cleveland?
I love finding cozy spots with great food, especially sweets. Some of my go-to’s are Mason’s Creamery, Fat Cats, Luna Cafe, Mango Mango, and Koko Bakery.
What are your career goals after college?
I want to fight the urge to have a neat and tidy answer to this question. In general, I aspire toward a career that allows me to be creative, put my skills to use, and connect with others. I might stick with marketing and communications in a community setting. I might pursue a master’s degree in something related to producing and writing in the entertainment world. Or maybe I’ll stumble into something totally different. Every experience I’ve undertaken so far has opened up a compelling new door, and I don’t think I have to choose one – at least not yet.
How has this internship helped you grow professionally?
I entered the internship with a tiny drop of related experience, and left overflowing with knowledge about the complex network of Cleveland’s nonprofit and public sectors. I think this can be attributed to the educational nature of the program as well as the fully immersive work experience. The full-time position allowed me to feel like a real staff member whose contribution was just as crucial as the people around me. I’ve also connected with a number of talented and generous professionals whom I never would have met without the program, many of them now offering helping hands or leads for future opportunities.
How has this internship helped you grow personally?
Each day, I’ve inched closer to being able to confidently articulate who I am, what I want, and why. It’s an empowering feeling that has affected my life from all angles.
What’s your favorite public space in Cleveland?
As a Case Western grad, I’m biased toward University Circle. I love Wade Lagoon, especially in the springtime when the cherry blossoms turn everything pink.
Where would you take a friend who is visiting Cleveland for the first time?
The Solstice Steps in Lakewood Park! Bonus points if you grab a book at a local bookstore and read (together or separately) while the sun goes down.
What advice would you give to someone considering applying for the Cleveland Foundation Summer Internship program?
My advice is to apply even if you think you might not be an “ideal” candidate or if you’re nervous you won’t find a good fit. I was an English and Cognitive Science major with what I thought was totally irrelevant experience. But my skills translated nicely to the nonprofit world and were valued by my coworkers, especially in times when I filled some sort of gap among them – like being able to write a script for a promotional video. If you’re interested in serving your community in any capacity, this program could be a great first step.