Matthew Hillsberg ’13
Major(s): Political Science
Internship Site: The William J. Clinton Foundation - New York, NY
Having previous internships with campaigns and the New York State Democratic Party, and being a big fan of the Clintons, I took it upon myself to apply for this internship. I applied through the Foundation’s website and took time to perfect and polish my application. Moreover, I asked two professors back at Dickinson for recommendation letters. In April, I was contacted for a phone interview with a few different departments; I had four phone interviews. Late April, I received a call I was accepted into the Development Department and I signed my form of agreement for the summer the next day.
My projects included researching board members of various major philanthropic foundations as well as grant application procedures for well-known community foundations. Moreover, I assisted in populating a background preparation list for the Health Matters Conference to be held January 2013 in Palm Springs and was trained in Raisers Edge database software. Furthermore, I assisted in the weekly processing and mailing of donations and high-dollar checks which are the life-line of the foundation. Lastly, I organized a weekly news report of our donors using Lexis-Nexus and customized Google Alerts.
The biggest challenge I found in my experience was learning the new software and being able to use all the tools I was trained in to perform the tasks at hand. My tasks required practice and diligence. I overcame my challenges by organizing notes and reminders on the step-by-step processes until I remembered it by heart. I learned that the best way to adapt to a new experience is to maintain an organized process and to not be ashamed in putting reminders for oneself. Moreover it is never a bad thing to ask for help in order to accomplish a task efficiently and effectively.
During the course of my internship, I met many people who have been invaluable to me. In my department, there are multiple staff members which have worked in Democratic-aligned organization and know contacts in the Democratic Party. Moreover, the head of development and philanthropy worked in the upper echelons of Secretary Clinton’s campaign in 2008 and worked in the State Department. Maintaining and working these contacts could be key in securing employment post-Dickinson.
This internship has expanded my areas of interest post-Dickinson. Before the Clinton Foundation, I knew I wanted to work in the areas of government or politics. However, since working in a non-profit, I have a new interest in potentially working in this sector. There are a plethora of foundations which do incredible work, and with my passion for planning and logistics, it is a natural extension of my interests.
Tips from Matthew:
I definitely recommend this internship to other Dickinsonians. The Clinton Foundation has many departments with topics ranging from: foreign policy, public health, HIV/AIDS, fundraising, marketing, development, event planning, program planning, communications, and more. The foundation has a niche for everyone; but it is a highly competitive process.
*To find out more about how to get an internship, make an appointment with a career counselor. Just call the Career Center at 717-245-1740 or stop by Biddle House.