Senior’s Internship is an Example of Westminster’s Networking Opportunities

Senior Covell Lindstrom, ’21 ΦΔΘ, recently completed an internship with the Callaway County United Way that is a prime example of Westminster networking at its best. The resident of San Antonio, TX, is part of a continuum of Westminster internships that began with Matthew Pearl, ’18 ΦΔΘ, transitioned to Lindstrom, and passes this winter to Addie Zahn, ’23 ΚΚΓ.

Read more about Lindstrom’s experience below.

Please tell a little bit about how you got started in your internship.

I started interning at the United Way in the fall of my sophomore year, in 2018. I was recruited by my fraternity brother Matt Pearl, who introduced me to Executive Director Megan Prenger. Megan helped me get my feet wet in the organization. This one-hour internship turned into a long-term relationship in which I became her right-hand man, so to speak. The Callaway County United Way is small, with just one employee, and therefore it relies on volunteers like the Westminster interns in order to get all the work done.

How do you feel working for the United Way helped you professionally?

The position turned out to be an excellent fit for me, because I have had my sights set on becoming a fundraiser for a non-profit organization. Megan was always willing to talk to me about nonprofits and how things function. That is how I learned most of what I did ― by talking with her and asking her questions about various topics. I also learned a lot from Megan about non-profit leadership. Her leadership in the Fulton community is amazing because she is always on top of what she needs to be doing and knows how to get the right people to help her.

What was the most meaningful part of your internship?

What meant the most to me was the level of trust Megan provided. She constantly gave me projects or tasks to do that allowed me to learn and grow as a young professional, such as giving me a seat on the board, which allowed me to witness board meetings and give reports on my activities as the United Way Intern. She also entrusted me with coordinating volunteers and creating and editing videos for the 2021 United Way Campaign. I also had the opportunity of running much of their social media.

I enjoyed engaging in an independent research project for the United Way, which involved building a website for the Fulton community that would provide a directory of nonprofits and the services they offer, that lists events, and also highlights volunteer opportunities. As Westminster’s Newman Civic Fellow, I needed to complete an in-depth service project, and Megan was highly supportive of my plans. This ambitious project will provide a huge service to the Fulton community when it is completed. It taught me a lot about the benefits and challenges of large-scale collaborative efforts.

How did the Westminster staff help you during your internship experience?

I give a lot of credit to the Westminster Internship Program, which is directed by Mandy Plybon. I appreciated the academic standards set by the office, which required me to put a lot of thought into my learning goals, to reflect on my successes, to occasionally revise my goals, and to present my work to my faculty sponsor and others. I appreciated how much I grew both intellectually and professionally through the process. The internship program greatly enhanced my experience as the United Way intern while also helping me stay on top of the goals I wanted to achieve.

How did you end up recruiting another Westminster student as a replacement for your internship?

As I wrapped up my internship this fall, I realized how important it would be to recruit my replacement, just as Matt Pearl had recruited me. When I heard there was another student on campus self-designing a major in nonprofit work, I immediately reached out to Addie. She was intrigued and met with Megan and me at the United Way. The rest is history. Addie is excited to get started, and Megan is thrilled to have a new intern on board.

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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is a Media and Content Strategist at Westminster College in Fulton, MO. A 1992 graduate of the College, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communication in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.