This year we launched Benetech’s first formal Summer Internship Program. From June 17 to July 19, three hard-working and motivated students—Allison Clabaugh, Martin Esquivias and Nestor Frutos—provided support to our Bookshare Marketing, Collection Development and Volunteering teams. They assisted with daily duties at Bookshare and participated in various learning opportunities, including educational brown bag lunches, informational interviews with Benetech staff, departmental meetings and product demonstrations.
We recruited interns for this competitive four-week program from two local, educational organizations: Mission Middle College, which offers high school students a serious learning environment where they complete high school graduation and begin accumulating college credits, and the Peninsula College Fund, which provides the tools for success in college and beyond to low-income first-generation college students.
We asked Allison, Martin and Nestor to tell us about their internship experience and to give us their biggest takeaways. We’ve shared their answers below.
My name is Allison Clabaugh and I’m a senior at Mission Middle College. I’d like to thank Madeleine Linares and Anne Naftel on the Bookshare team for making my internship so wonderful and for always being available when I had questions. Attending company meetings, talking with Benetech senior managers like Marcy Goot and Jane Simchuk, and getting hands-on experience in an office environment were great ways to gain a better understanding of how nonprofits and businesses are run. Being a Benetech intern made me realize I’m interested in developing a career in business.
I enjoyed my internship for many reasons, but mostly because of the people who work here. The community at Benetech and at Bookshare is contagious. There’s a strong sense of teamwork and everyone is passionate about advancing Benetech’s mission of creating positive social change through technology. On our first day, Anne and Madeleine gave us a grand tour of the office and introduced us to the team—it was a fantastic experience to see everyone so excited and happy that we were here and ready to help. I’m glad to say this happy atmosphere hasn’t changed throughout our internship: the attitude at Bookshare is serious yet happy, driven yet willing to make jokes and be funny.
Now that I’ve completed my internship, I know that in the future I want to work for a social enterprise. And I want to be part of an organization with a strong sense of community—with laughter, devotion, teamwork and the attitude of “we’re doing this to help individuals and communities, and we’ll get stuff done to benefit the world.”
My name is Martin Esquivias and I’m a sophomore majoring in Business Administration/ Finance at the University of California Santa Cruz. I applied to the internship at Benetech through the Peninsula College Fund, a scholarship that I’m grateful for. Being a Benetech intern was one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever accomplished. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with the most engaging and loveable team that is Benetech.
My experiences here were great and I am thankful for everything Benetech had to offer. From this internship, I was able to take away the experience of reporting to two magnificent supervisors, Anne and Madeleine. Reporting to supervisors made me learn about what it takes to work in an office-type environment. I was also able to learn how to manage different projects and budget my time in order to have everything accomplished before a deadline.
I had the opportunity to spend time with senior managers like Betsy Beaumon, Teresa Throckmorton and Fred Slone to talk about their career paths. I am thankful that I was able to ask them questions and receive advice from these experts in their fields. It was reassuring to me that I still want to continue focusing on business management and finance.
I am grateful that I was able to learn the business side to Benetech, but the most inspiring experience I am taking away from this internship is knowing that the work I did here was for a good cause. The goal of Benetech’s Global Literacy Program—to make it possible for people with print disabilities to obtain print materials at the same time as everyone else—is so fulfilling and inspiring. Working at a nonprofit and being able to give back to the community is the greatest feeling in the world.
My name is Nestor Frutos and I’m a senior in high school, currently attending the Mission Middle College Program. After volunteering as an image describer for Bookshare, I got the opportunity to apply for the summer internship here at Benetech. Throughout this internship, I’ve learned a great deal about Benetech’s business approach and how Bookshare works.
Being part of the Bookshare Collection Development team really helped me understand what it takes to add books to the collection so that Bookshare members can access them. I learned everything from “chopping” books to proofreading and submitting them to the collection. It was truly amazing to see how my work helped people with disabilities get the books they needed. The opportunity to do all this while Bookshare passed the milestone of 200,000 titles in the collection was amazing and I was glad to see how all of our hard work had paid off.
This internship has also given me a great job experience. Beyond just learning about working in an office environment, this was an opportunity to see the ins and outs of the nonprofit world. I will certainly benefit from all that knowledge I’ve acquired, but more than that: I’m glad I spent my summer as an intern at Benetech because I was able to be a part of something big and help people all around the world.
Looking to the Future
We’re thrilled to be working with our second cohort of Summer 2013 interns, who just started their four-week session on July 22. We’ll share some of their thoughts on their internship experience next month!
Are you interested in future internship opportunities at Benetech? We invite you to sign up for our newsletter or check back on our blog early next year for details about our 2014 Summer Internship Program.