CRS University Engagement Interns Through the Years

You may have already met the 2017 CRS University Engagement Summer Interns in this blog post, but they are not the first and will not be the last!  The CRS University Engagement team has had a history of outstanding interns doing great work!  You can meet them here and check back every year for information as the list expands!  


Kate McCarthy 2016

1. Where are you from? My name is Kate McCarthy, and I am from Baltimore, Maryland.  I went to Denison University in Granville, Ohio and graduated with degrees in Economics and Communication.  Before CRS I was interested in working with social enterprises (businesses where maximizing social impact is more important than making the most money possible), and interned at a social enterprise bakery while I studied abroad.  At Denison, I was a student assistant for our university’s Center for Cross Cultural Engagement office, working to maintain communication relations among Cross Cultural Communities, the campus body, and administration.  I have always been interested in social media, public relations and marketing, and have been able to use my skills in many of my previous internships and jobs.

2. Why did you want to intern for CRS? I wanted to intern for CRS because I went to Catholic grade school in Baltimore and have been surrounded by the work of CRS since I was 5.  I think having a global nonprofit in my backyard is not something many people can say, and to be able to work for such a highly regarded organization is exciting.  For me, I am extremely skeptical of organizations that go to other countries and do humanitarian work, but because I have been around CRS and its mission for so long, I knew that this was an organization that I wanted to be a part of.  I wanted to work for the University Engagement team because as a university student on a campus where religious life is not a large part of the student experience, I felt that I had different ways of connecting with CRS’ mission, and that I could bring those areas more to light in order to increase the amount of participants in the program.  While this was not a large part of my job description, I think that seeing CRS from an angle where I was not already part of the Ambassador program was beneficial to the team, and hopefully increased chapter numbers across the country. 

3. What projects did you do at your position? Last summer, I took on multiple projects.  The main focus was first helping Danielle, Lou and Kim with the SALT Summit back in July, and organizing documents, folders, boxes, etc. for the participants and to move to Loyola University, where the Summit was held.  I was also in charge of creating and sending out a few different Google Surveys.  Some were for SALT, and some were for the Fall 2016 Regional Trainings.   I was also put to the task of cleaning up spreadsheets with Ambassador and Chapter information.  Lastly, I helped update the CRS University social media pages, worked to find University Chapters’ social media pages, and linked them to the CRS University website.

4. What did you enjoy the most? I really enjoyed preparing for SALT.  I am a detail-oriented person, and love planning events and trips, and I worked with Danielle to put all of the important information on pages to be stuffed into participants’ folders.  I also really enjoyed working to find coffee companies that had ethical trade practices implemented in their businesses to find coffee to provide during SALT.  And at the SALT Summit itself, I loved being on my feet and running around making sure that everyone was having a great time and that the whole conference went well.  

5. How has the internship impacted you? I think this experience has impacted me in many different ways.  I always had a global mindset, but I feel that I have a stronger grasp on the issues that CRS focuses on, and how young adults can make a difference in the world.  Professionally, I learned a lot about time management, working with a team, communications (both with my team and with a larger audience through social media and emails), and became more aware of how much preparation goes into a multi-day event.  I definitely became more aware of the kind of work that I wanted to do.  As I am currently in sales, I found this internship helping me become more organized (Danielle is the best at organization!).

6. Where are you now?  After just graduating in May, I am currently at home, but am moving out to San Jose, California in July!  I will be working for a Baltimore-based company through a Sales and Marketing Development Program, run nationwide.


Liz Akerly 2015

1. Where are you from? My hometown is Lansing, Michigan.  I went to school at Michigan State University and recieved a degree in Comparative Cultures and Politics in 2016. Before CRS I was an Intern at my local Newman Center- St. John Student Center- I planned events for students, led retreats and was active in the Least of My Brothers and Sisters social justice program. I also went on 4 Alternative Spring Break mission trips.

2. Why did you want to intern for CRS? I wanted to intern at CRS because I am passionate about Catholic Social Teaching and social justice. I grew up doing CRS Rice Bowl every Lent but truly fell in love with the scope and mission of CRS when I attended a CRS Ambassador training my Junior year of college. After searching the web for internships I happened to get an email from CRS University Engagement promoting the University Engagement position to ambassadors. I applied immediately, and looking back was probably annoyingly persistent. I felt very deeply I was meant to be part of the vision and work at CRS. I felt that CRS encompassed everything I was passionate about career wise- Non profit work, social justice, Catholic Social Teaching, global solidarity, etc. 

3. What projects did you do at your position? SO MANY. Some I can think of off the top of my head were daily social media posting, assisting in the creation of the CRS University Instagram and Snapchat, helping with the planning of the "I am Climate Change" campaign, and of course creating materials/content and assisting in the planning for the fall ambassador trainings. I even got to help with 2 of those training in Philly and in Chicago which remains one of my favorite experiences with CRS. To this day I still keep in contact with some of the amazing ambassadors I met at both of those trainings! I also spent time collaborating with other departments. I had fun being the "millennial perspective" in a few fair trade brainstorming sessions, and working with the media department in creating the campaign videos. There was something new and fun every day. That was what made it so great. The University Engagement team was always so open to my ideas and always supported my involvement in their program creation and brainstorming. 

4. What did you enjoy the most? This is tough. I enjoyed so much of my whole experience at CRS and in Baltimore in general. I think just the overall community and atmosphere at CRS headquarters was my favorite part. I felt excited to come to work everyday and learn from the vast and diverse group of people who work there and I continue to be grateful for getting to grow in such an open, welcoming, and thriving atmosphere. Also... the University Engagement team. Danielle, Lou, Kim, and Pati. I felt lucky to be part of such an innovative and fun team of people. Learning from them was one of my greatest joys that summer. 

5. How has the internship impacted you? Right now I am getting close to the end of my "post-grad gap" doing a year of service with AmeriCorps. My internship at CRS solidified my desire and passion to stay in the Non-profit sector. It also was the first position where I really learned what my professional skills are and began honing them, such as program creation, creativity, media, and communication. I use tips and tricks I learned at CRS everyday in my service and I frequently look back on the resources and materials I learned about there. I feel like CRS is one of those special kind of places that stays with you even after you leave, at least that's what it is for me. I am always interested in what CRS is working on and what the ambassador program is up to or what new partners CRS Ethical Trade is making. There is constantly so much happening, growing, and improving at CRS. I continue to be impacted by them everyday. 


Valeria Fuentes (Pati) 2014

1. Where are you from? I am originally from Bolivia but I moved to Baltimore when I was 4 years old. While at CRS I was still at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore studying Architectural Design. 

2. Why did you want to intern for CRS? I loved the work and mission of CRS as a whole but I was especially interested in working on the University Engagement team to use education on global justice issues to get college students more involved.

3. What projects did you do at your position? I managed a lot of the social media, worked on the blog, produced a whiteboard animation, and did some graphic design schemes.

4. What did you enjoy the most? I really enjoyed my experience being there and meeting the diversity of people working on amazing projects in different parts of the world. Within University Engagement I feel that I really got to know everyone I worked with and I was inspired by the work that they do.

5. How has the internship impacted you? The internship opened my eyes to a whole world of opportunities in a field I never expected to be in. It also helped me better connect my passion for architecture an design within addressing social justice issues beyond Baltimore.

6. Where are you now? Currently I work at an architecture firm in Baltimore designing a project I proposed. I also am about to be a graduate student at MICA in a program called Social Design.