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Internship blog: Max Shacknai COVE associate director builds on undergrad service with the center

By Contributing Writer on September 16, 2013
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Griffen O'Shea ’13 in Kenya

Griffin O’Shea ’13 on a trip to Kenya

Colgate students, who interned last summer at companies such as NBCUniversal, Hukkster, Nike, and Facebook, are sharing their experiences. This post is written by Griffin O’Shea ’13, who spent his summer with the Max A. Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education – an internship that transformed into full-time employment.

The Max A. Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education (COVE) was an essential part of my undergraduate Colgate experience, and now, as a graduate, my relationship with the center continues as its interim associate director for the fall.

This semester, I’m coordinating all five — potentially six — Max Shacknai COVE alternative break service trips, including a newly introduced education-based trip to St. Kitts and Nevis. These alternative break programs offer life-changing travel opportunities for students to serve both domestically and internationally during breaks with the trips focusing on social enterprise, special needs programs, and disaster relief. I’ve greatly enjoyed getting in on the ground floor of new projects that may be staples for years to come.

In addition to the trips, I’ve spent my time advising four Max Shacknai COVE interns — a position I held as an undergraduate — who are the leaders of several service teams. I’m also working on our Doing Well by Doing Good lecture series, which brings in professionals who have found ways to incorporate their humanitarian beliefs into their professional careers.

My relationship with the Max Shacknai COVE started my first year at Colgate. I was given my first leadership experience as a coordinator of the Friends and Mentors program, a group of Colgate student-mentors who spend time with girls from a local youth services center.

Later, as a sophomore, without any international travel experience, a donor generously gave me the chance, with the help of the center’s staff, to plan a service trip to Nairobi, Kenya, for 10 classmates and myself to work with an orphanage and school I had dreamed about visiting.

In many ways, my connection to the Max Shacknai COVE feels completely different now that I’m not a student. I don’t take classes or eat in the dining hall. But, when I weigh the most important elements of a professional experience — the opportunities for growth, leadership, and fulfilling work — the center remains unwaveringly consistent in its support of me, as it has been since my first year at Colgate. I can only hope that I can pay it forward in some small capacity with a successful semester, and that I will be as lucky as I have been blessed.

— Griffin O’Shea ’13 (Babylon, N.Y.)

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