Funding Hope in Memphis Vicky Kazmierczak ’18 spent the summer in Memphis, learning the ins and outs of non-profit work — and how to hope.
“Whenever I went into the hospital and saw all of the wonderful children so full of hope. I knew that what I was doing with my department was making a difference in their lives”
Hometown: Huntley, Illinois
Majors: European History and Sociology
Q. Tell us about your internship.
I worked as an intern with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s fundraising and awareness organization called American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities, or ALSAC, in Memphis, TN. I worked in the Strategic Partnerships department, where we created and maintained relationships with corporate partners to raise money to end childhood cancer to follow founder Danny Thomas’ dream, that no child shall ever die in the dawn of life.
Q. How was working in Memphis?
My favorite part was the rich history of Memphis and learning about how it got to where it is now. I learned this through a series of events with an organization called New Memphis, which aims to show interns the true Memphis experience.
Q. What did an average day for you look like?
I didn’t really have an “average day.” Some days, I was the lead intern in hosting our corporate partners and assisted the account manager in showing them around campus and in participating in events with our wonderful patients. Other days, I put together notes from brainstorms in order to come up with pitch decks for prospective clients. I also worked on innovation projects for the organization with other interns throughout the organization.
Q. What part of your experience was the most rewarding and fulfilling?
Whenever I went into the hospital and saw all of the wonderful children so full of hope. I knew that what I was doing with my department was making a difference in their lives and that the cure for childhood cancer will be found at St. Jude due to the amazing work of the doctors, researchers, and the funds the ALSAC raises to make that work possible.
Q. Who served as a mentor to you this summer, and what have they taught you?
I have had way too many mentors to name. Everyone I worked with in Strategic Partnerships was an incredible mentor to me. They inspired me every day and really made me want to reevaluate my own commitment to anything I did. They taught me to find value in every single thing I do, because the little things really do make a difference. Additionally, I was extremely impressed by the leadership of ALSAC’s CEO, Rick Shadyac Jr. His compassion and motivation will resonate with me for the remainder of my life.
Q. What have you learned at W&L that helped you in this endeavor, and what will you bring back to your life on campus?
The research skills I’ve gained at W&L came into play with researching market trends or partner information. I will bring back the mentality of kindness that I saw every day and of a strong belief in a mission.
Q. Has this experience impacted your studies or future plans in any way?
Yes – it’s made me particularly interested in public policy and non-profit work.
Q. Why is this kind of experience important to W&L students?
This kind of experience is important to W&L students because it allows us to use the skills we learn on campus to better the lives of others through work in the non-profit space.
Q. Describe your summer adventure in one word: