Writing for Nonprofit Organizations course allows students to gain real-world experiences, even from a distance
McDaniel College students participate in internships with local nonprofits as part of McDaniel College's Writing for Nonprofit Organizations course. The course strengthens the College's relationship with the Westminster community and gives students firsthand experience by having them complete accredited internships at local nonprofits.
McDaniel College students in the Writing for Nonprofit Organizations course may have found themselves continuing internships remotely, but their reach is immeasurable.
“This is a course that helps take the skills students are learning in the classroom, and let them create actual products, real storytelling that is used by our partners to advance their mission,” said Josh Ambrose, associate dean of Campus and Community Engagement.
From assisting the Boys and Girls Club of Westminster, which provides a wide variety of programs for youth in the community, to writing blog posts as a way to raise awareness for Rape Crisis Intervention Service of Carroll County, as well as other nonprofits, students in the course are helping those in need in the Carroll County community.
“This is a course that helps take the skills students are learning in the classroom, and let them create actual products, real storytelling that is used by our partners to advance their mission,” said Josh Ambrose, associate dean of Campus and Community Engagement. “So, by participating in the course, students are making a difference here and now, while building a robust resume.”
Students research and analyze the communication needs of nonprofit organizations in the course. They also assist in the development of mission statements, fundraising letters, grants, brochures, podcasts, websites and other public relations materials.
The course, taught by Ambrose, has a reach beyond the classroom, strengthening the college’s relationship with the Westminster community and giving students real-world experiences through nonprofit internships.
“Everything we learn in the classroom is geared toward helping our nonprofit organization,” said Stephen Porembski, a Sociology and Criminal Justice double major from Baltimore.
Porembski and Nathan Wright of Crofton, Md., have been interning remotely for the Boys and Girls of Westminster. The Writing for Nonprofit Organizations course has given both students an opportunity to focus on their writing abilities.
Using research skills obtained in the course, Porembski has been finding what other Boys and Girls Clubs across Maryland are doing remotely to connect with children and their families, while Wright, a Communication major, has focused on writing letters to local stores for donations for the Boys and Girls Club of Westminster among other tasks.
Ambrose believes that with shifting the course to a virtual environment, students are getting a unique opportunity to gain remote work experience that is very common for a writing career.
For Rabiatu Abdul Salam of Laurel, Md., the course has given her nonprofit experience through her internship at the Rape Crisis Intervention Service of Carroll County, which provides free and confidential services to victim-survivors of sexual violence. Abdul Salam, a Political Science major with a minor in Entrepreneurship, has been creating several blog posts for the organization’s website to bring awareness to issues they face.
“When I started taking this class, I knew next to nothing about the nonprofit world,” Abdul Salam said. “All I had was my curiosity and a few bits and pieces I picked up along the way. Now, I am learning about grant proposal writings, grant research and fundraising.”
Ambrose enjoys broadening students’ outlooks on nonprofit work, noting that most may not realize McDaniel College is a nonprofit.
“I love the lightbulb moment every semester when students realize that nonprofit work isn't just giving to charity...that they can make a career out of ‘doing good,’” added Ambrose.
Other McDaniel students participating in the course include:
- Sandesh Baral (Baltimore), an Art major, is interning for Caring Carroll.
- Chase Bushman (East Hampton, N.Y.), an English major, is interning with the Literacy Council.
- Kayla Catlin (Eldersburg, Md.), an English and Cinema double major with minors in Writing and Music, is interning for the philanthropy department at Carroll Lutheran Village.
- Aidan Finnerty (Selinsgrove, Pa.), a Political Science major, is interning with MAGIC.
- Danielle Lamarr (Baltimore), a History major, is interning with the Civil Air Patrol.
- Ravi Patel (San Diego, Calif.), a double major in Spanish and Political Science with a specialization in International Studies, is interning for Wild Forests and Fauna based in Seattle.
- Shaquille Tairellil (Frederick, Md.), who is majoring in Business Administration with a double minor in Marketing and Art, is interning with Partnership and Inspiration for Engineering Education and Entrepreneurship (PIE3).