New Bellarmine initiative funds student internships with area nonprofits

October 4, 2018

Bellarmine senior Kandace Bodenbender completed a summer internship with Leadership Southern Indiana through the Live.Work.Lead.Serve program.

Over the summer, 18 Bellarmine University students took part in a new program that pays them to complete an internship at a nonprofit or government organization in Louisville or Southern Indiana.

The Live.Work.Lead.Serve program - funded by the James Graham Brown Foundation and the Ogle Foundation - connected the students with 14 community partners, where they earned 54 hours of academic internship credit and engaged in 1,620 hours of paid employment.


Bellarmine's Career Development professionals say they are seeking additional financial support for this program, as they expect more student applicants than they can currently accommodate.

Want to help students complete for-credit internships with local nonprofits? Please contact Lilly Massa-McKinley at 502-272-8154 or via email.
The initiative -- which turns otherwise unpaid internships into paid opportunities for students -- is part of a renewed four-year undergraduate focus on career development through courses that emphasize career exploration and internship preparation.

Through this new program, Olivia Fischer accepted a summer internship with Catholic Charities of Louisville. Initially, she was asked to help their staff prepare for anticipated changes to the state's Medicaid program.

Lori Feris, the organization's support services manager, said Fischer adapted quickly when, midway through her internship, a federal judge blocked those Medicaid changes from taking effect. Catholic Charities shifted her to an entirely different project, communicating directly with clients of the organization's Migration and Refugee Services program -- sometimes through an interpreter -- about their access to primary healthcare services.

"As with the Medicaid project, Olivia approached the task effectively, using solid organizational skills and critical thinking," said Feris. "She was such an asset over the summer and I really hated to see her go, but if she would ever like to intern for us again we would definitely find a spot for her!"

Brandi Goatee, a senior clinical counseling major from Hartford, Ky., landed an internship with the Clark County Youth Shelter and Family Services through this initiative. 

“Through my internship, I learned valuable skills that I will be able to utilize in many areas of my life,” she said. “This experience has given me a new, viable direction in life. Without this opportunity, I would still be struggling to find something I was passionate about.”

Lauren Coffey, employer engagement coordinator in Bellarmine’s Career Development Center, said the Live.Work.Lead.Serve program is playing an important role in helping the university achieve its internship guarantee, which ensures every student the opportunity to have an internship, develop a career plan and build a professional network.

“Bellarmine established its internship guarantee in 2015, recognizing the key role internship experiences play in student career development and first destination success,” said Coffey. “Through the generosity of our grant partners, the Live.Work.Lead.Serve program invites students to pursue meaningful work opportunities that have a direct impact on their local community.”

“This experience gave me first-hand experience in my intended career goal of social work,” said Shannon Wilson, a senior psychology major from Northern Kentucky who interned with Gilda's Club Louisville. “Being a part of the Gilda's Club community humbled me and allowed me to grow my passion for serving the needs of others who are in difficult situations. I was able to learn valuable skills that will serve me far beyond my undergraduate years.”

Two Bellarmine students completed internships at Leadership Southern Indiana this summer. Kandace Bodenbender, a senior design, arts and technology major from Georgetown, Ind., worked in marketing and social media. Chase Rose, a senior communication major from Columbus, Ohio, worked in programs and events.
"Leadership Southern Indiana is a small nonprofit, so both Chase and Kandace contributed a great deal in support of our work and also increased our capacity and outreach in the community," said Anne Darku, the organization's director of programs. "Both interns approached all tasks from research to writing to administrative tasks with a proactive and positive attitude. Their work helped set us up for a successful program year."

The Live.Work.Lead.Serve program will continue next year. Students can apply to receive a fellowship award, which will fund an internship experience with a local community nonprofit or government organization. Applications will be accepted through Career Development from October 22 to January 25.

Live.Work.Lead.Serve Partners - Summer 2018
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana
Boys & Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana
Catholic Charities of Louisville
Clark County Youth Shelter and Family Services, Inc.
Family Scholar House, Inc.
Frazier History Museum
Fund for the Arts
Gilda's Club Louisville
Leadership Louisville Foundation, Inc.
Leadership Southern Indiana
Metro Parks and Recreation - Iroquois Amphitheater
St. Elizabeth Catholic Charities
The Food Literacy Project at Oxmoor Farm

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