As my internship with TIRF draws to a close after only four short months, I’d like to share some parting thoughts. First, a bit of background—this internship has fulfilled a degree requirement for my Master’s in International Education Management (IEM) here at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. As I understand it, I am actually the first-ever TIRF intern, but if I’ve proven my value, there could be more to come. I mention this because, as a Master’s student hoping to transition from the language classroom to program administration, I would recommend the mutually beneficial opportunity to subsequent IEM candidates who are interested in this direction.
For one, interns often fear “fluff” work, but my projects were relevant and substantial. As editorial assistant/project manager for the forthcoming volume on language assessment in TIRF’s Global Perspectives series, I gained valuable experience in managing multiple stakeholders to meet numerous deadlines over a four-month period (for those of you wondering, yes, that included cracking the whip at Dr. Bailey now and again, which was fun [but not too fun]). Also, I was entrusted with a key creative role in the 2018 mid-year donor outreach efforts, which included drafting outreach email templates, updating TIRF’s website, writing a monthly newsletter column, and recommending an appropriate donor management platform based on my own software comparison research. This last endeavor has enabled TIRF to select a platform that will streamline its fundraising operations, saving Ryan Damerow significant amounts of time and money.
Beyond the relevant and substantial projects I did during this internship, I was also mentored by two of the finest folks I know working in the overlap between ESL and the nonprofit world. Ryan, in his capacity as TIRF Chief Operating Officer, helped me gain important understanding of the nuts-and-bolts of managing nonprofit money matters, while Dr. Bailey shared her wisdom in so many areas that I am indebted to her more than I could ever repay – interviewing skills, time management, project management, self-motivation, workplace communication, and task delegation, to name a few. In short, things that some people must learn the hard way, I got to learn the fun way. It’s been a four-month blur, but I hope I’ve made a lasting impact and paved the way for future TIRF interns. Many thanks to Ryan and Dr. Bailey for the opportunity!