I came into this summer with numerous expectations and hopes regarding what I would experience and the skills I would gain. However, within the first weeks of my internship, my perspective quickly shifted from feeling like I had the next 5 years confidently mapped out to suddenly feeling as though I had absolutely no idea what path I hoped to take. Though I have immensely enjoyed working on the front lines of reform each day at CJPC, my experiences this summer allowed me to also understand that working in a direct-service placement may not be where I am best suited.
Despite this, I wouldn’t necessarily say that my career goals themselves have changed, I still want to engage with public policy and advocacy. However, the field through which I hope to achieve these goals has been the main change this summer. Consequently, I sought new ways to engage with these issues and advance the goals of advocacy groups, lending organizations, and public works projects that help marginalized communities. Through this, my summer internship at the Criminal Justice Policy Coalition opened my eyes to the numerous fields that engage with these issues, many of which I had previously brushed off, such as finance and consulting.
I have become drawn to working in public finance and consulting for the opportunity to combine my aspirations of working on projects that enable organizations and governments to fund needed endeavors with a challenging, goal-oriented work environment that is rooted in collaboration and relationship-building among colleagues and clients. In the short term, my goal is to work for a firm that works with financing capital improvements to government facilities such as schools, courthouses, hospitals, toll roads, and low income and affordable housing.
Among the valuable experiences I had this summer working with CJPC was the opportunity to examine their financial statements and write grant proposals for funding from various philanthropic organizations. This endeavor provided me with invaluable experience taking initiative and creating my own objectives for the betterment of CJPC. The most challenging part of writing grants was that I was often striving to answer questions and summarize the work of CJPC with little previous knowledge about their past programs or successes. Accordingly, I became an expert researcher and gained an in-depth awareness of CJPC’s goals. Moreover, the greatest part of this work was that I was able to make suggestions and craft an organizational plan for the future, leaving a lasting impact on my non-profit. I also gained a better understanding of the financial workings of a non-profit organization, which will serve me well in the future.
Though this summer was not necessarily the summer I had first envisioned, I am incredibly thankful to the Criminal Justice Policy Coalition for providing me an opportunity to explore my interests and engage with a vast array of projects throughout my internship. I am excited to see what the next chapter holds using the insights I have gained!
Written by Frank DiMartino, BC Class of 2017