Bernie’s Book Bank is proud to offer internships to qualified high school and university students who are interested in using their time and talent to support our mission of increasing book ownership among at-risk Chicagoland children. Internship positions are available in a variety of departments in order to deliver a rewarding and personal real-world experience for these students. We reached out to a few of our summer interns, before they headed back to school, to get input on their experience and advice they have for others seeking an internship.
1. “Just apply!”
Daniel Yong is a junior at the University of Illinois studying biology. As a Processing Center intern at Bernie’s Book Bank this summer, Yong was tasked with the daily responsibility to help during volunteer sessions and to level books into correct grade levels. Yong applied to Bernie’s Book Bank to donate his time to help others and has appreciated seeing how our mission is executed everyday through a “fluid and balanced process.” Yong believes students searching for internships should “just apply” and take a chance on opportunities that arise.
2. “Apply where you are passionate.”
Events intern, Allison Nelson, will be a junior at DePauw University this fall to continue her Communications major. During her time here, Nelson not only set up for events like our 10-year anniversary, but she had the opportunity to attend them as well. She also reached out to event planners to view our dynamic space and updated our events website. Nelson was familiar with Bernie’s Book Bank prior to beginning her internship and was passionate about the mission but has since loved developing her outreach skills and events background. The combination of great people who work here and the daily reminder of the direct impact made leaves Allison asking, “Why not try? Apply to everything you are passionate about.”
3. “Don’t just pick an internship because it sounds good or because it pays.”
Rising DePaul University senior, Amanda Stocchetti, is a Sociology and Chinese Studies double major who spent her summer as our Volunteer Services intern. With this being the first year of this position, Stocchetti communicated daily with volunteers, honing in on her organizational and networking skills. Stocchetti’s favorite memory is working at Lit Fest where she was opened to new contacts and surprised by how many people support Bernie’s Book Bank. Stocchetti believes if you are interested in seeing how nonprofits work and are passionate about our mission, you will thrive in this friendly environment. Students searching for internships should work in a field they enjoy and would be happy to do every day for a while rather than picking “an internship because it sounds good or because it pays.”
4. “Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get accepted at first.”
Ted Crane will be a senior Business major and Spanish minor at Lake Forest College. Crane spent his time as our Marketing intern where he successfully began a new blog series, “Creating Community,” to highlight our volunteers. He also is heading a long-term project for the Patrick Mannelly Long Snapper Award where he can apply his background as a college football athlete to create an honor roll for high school athletes. Crane believes Bernie’s Book Bank offers a refreshing sense of freedom to pursue and create projects for personal growth. Crane was thankful to attend two book distributions where he saw children get excited about the same books he used to get excited about. For those applying for internships, “don’t get discouraged if you don’t get accepted at first,” there is always another opportunity that will fit you.
5. “If you feel like it isn’t a good fit, don’t be afraid to tell them.”
Book Acquisitions intern, Kelsey Mitchell will also be a senior at Lake Forest College majoring in English Writing. This internship experience differed from her past remote writing internship in that she has been able to develop her communication skills in a friendly, low stress environment. Mitchell’s days here include leveling books and working closely with her supervisor to prepare for meetings with publishers. Mitchell is confident she will leave this internship viewing the publishing world from a different lens. She encourages students to keep their best interests in mind when searching for internships. If an opportunity comes up that “you feel like it isn’t a good fit, don’t be afraid to tell them.”
6. “Look at places where you are familiar with and ask if they have an internship available.”
Claire Enk donated her time this summer as a Book Acquisition and Processing Center intern here at Bernie’s Book Bank. As a sophomore at Ball State University Enk seeking English Literature and Public History majors, Enk knew she wanted to do something with books this summer. She has since been kept busy leveling books and reviewing publisher lists to assess usable books. Enk is grateful to have gained a holistic grasp on how publishing companies work and what they do with new and old books. If you don’t know where to start when looking for internships, Enk believes you should think of where you are “familiar with and ask if they have an internship available.” A lot of times a great opportunity may not be apparent at first.
7. “Take a hobby and use it in a tangible way.”
New media intern, M’ayan Noy, is a senior at Rochelle Zell High School who spent her summer as a New Media intern. Video editing and photography has always been a passion of Noy’s so working at Bernie’s Book Bank was the perfect way to blend her interests with real world experience in the nonprofit sector. Noy had the responsibility of editing videos for the Bernie’s Book Bank YouTube channel and taking pictures of volunteers. She also got out of the office for a community distribution day where she was able to personally help children find books that excited them. Noy suggests starting the internship search by making a list of your hobbies and interests in order to find an opportunity that applies those skills “in a tangible way.”
8. “Don’t compare your internship to others.”
Having volunteered at Bernie’s Book Bank in high school, Butler University junior McKenzie Theis, was eager to see the other side of this organization through her New Media internship. Starting on her first day, Theis was surprised by how many opportunities were available when she was greeted with an extensive summer project list. That meeting set a tone to pursue opportunities unique to each intern’s skill set and interests. Projects completed during her time here include starting a new blog series called “Drive N’ Dine” and scheduling social media posts for 2019 national days (even National Pancake Day can be tied into our mission). A favorite memory of Theis’ was a rebranding meeting where she saw firsthand how marketing decisions impact future messaging and public perception. When looking for internships, Theis recommends avoiding comparing “your internship to others.” The experience you want differs from what others do; what really matters is who you meet and what you accomplish.