Learning how to become a leader in the workplace Vivian Nice's internship experience at Chapman University
May 15, 2023
Hi! My name is Vivian Nice and I am a current second semester senior here at Chapman University. In just a few short weeks I will be graduating with a degree in Communication Studies, and a minor in Creative and Cultural Industries. This past semester, I interned at Chapman University on the University Advancement team as a supervisor for Phonathon. I have worked at Phonathon all four years as a Chapman student, and it has been an integral part of my Chapman experience. When I learned I could turn my campus job into a fulfilling internship experience, I was ready to jump at the opportunity.
To provide some background, let me give a brief overview of what Phonathon is all about. Phonathon is a unique program under the University Advancement umbrella. Their main goal is to call prospective donors, alumni, parents and friends of the University to share information and give updates on happenings at the University, build and strengthen connections, and raise support for the Chapman Fund. Phonathon callers make specific fundraising asks in most calls. The Chapman Fund supports many initiatives such as student scholarships, study abroad programs, the tutoring center and much more. The Chapman Fund is important to me, as I benefit from those resources myself. My goal within this internship experience was to focus on growing into a leadership role as a current supervisor within the program.
Although I have been working at Phonathon for quite some time now, I learned many new and valuable experiences as an intern. Through my supervisor role, my tasks and duties included interviewing prospective candidates, supervising and coaching callers with language to use on the phone, training them how to use the software system, entering data from each call into Excel, making special calls to large donor prospects, and always being ready and willing to answer any questions. Through all of these duties, I gained confidence and leadership skills within the program. In addition to making meaningful connections and fundraising for a cause I care about, I also got to teach and guide others to do the same.
A significant lesson I’ve learned is that gaining real world experience in a leadership role has taught me how much I love working with and empowering others. Not only that, I have learned to push myself and trust my own decisions. My favorite new experience I participated in this semester was learning how to execute an interview process from start to finish. With some supervision from my boss, I had the opportunity to screen new candidates, schedule and conduct interviews, hire or decline candidates, and then train them for their new role. The entire process was incredibly eye opening and fulfilling. Getting to mentor so many amazing individuals and to see them grow from a new hire to a seasoned caller as a result of my help and coaching is an experience I’m truly grateful for.
Overall, this internship experience was more worthwhile than I could have imagined. I have always loved my role in Advancement because it gives me the ability to connect with many individuals who all share the same love and gratitude for the Chapman family. Working as a supervisor at Phonathon has taught me the power of connection and communication, the impact of fundraising, tenacity, and leadership; all important skills I will take with me as I step into my professional life.