The Charger Blog

‘Working Outside of Your Comfort Zone Can Be Beneficial and Help You Grow’

My internship with the Arthritis Foundation helped me to better understand nonprofit management and structure, which will be beneficial to me both in the classroom and in my career.

Aug 19, 2021

By Alycia Grant ’22

Alycia Grant ’22
Alycia Grant ’22 completed an internship at the Arthritis Foundation.

A major part of my internship with the Arthritis Foundation was developing skills that enabled me to think critically during many situations. I have fostered my critical thinking skills as I had to practice thinking quickly on my feet to convey the best and most comprehensible image of the foundation to the public.

The primary situation that warranted this type of thinking was when I needed to teach the businesses and individuals I was reaching out to about the Arthritis Foundation and about the disease itself. As with any topic, there will be varying levels of understanding and comfort, and it is important to be able to tailor your conversation to make sure that all parties are as well-versed as possible.

Another prominent example of critical thinking took place during our annual golf tournament, the Rizzo Companies Arthritis Foundation Golf Tournament. During the golf tournament, I conversed with hundreds of people over a short period of time, and it was important for me to use critical thinking if I wanted my connection with someone outside of the organization to be the strongest it can be.

‘I will be able to apply these concepts in my coursework and into my future career’

A major lesson my internship taught me is that working outside of your comfort zone can be beneficial and help you grow. At the beginning of my time with the Arthritis Foundation, I was really nervous to call businesses to try to teach them about our foundation and to ask them to play a role in organizing our annual golf tournament and gala. I gradually gained confidence and was able to better communicate with other businesses and organizations with each conversation that took place.

Working with nonprofit organizations is something that I really enjoy. I have found individuals who are extremely passionate about a cause and who are willing to commit their lives to raising the visibility and ensuring the success of their foundations, and I find that to be a really special thing.

I will take these communication skills that I have gained, as well as my increased understanding of nonprofit management and structure, and apply that to the concepts I will be learning in class. A large part of disaster relief and emergency management are the connections established with organizations that are willing to lend assistance in a time of emergency and need, and I will be able to apply these concepts in my coursework and into my future career.

I will be looking to do additional internships to further my personal and career development.

Alycia Grant ’22, a homeland security & emergency management major at the University of New Haven, completed an internship at the Arthritis Foundation as part of the University’s Bergami Summer Internship Program.