Picture of Sophia on a boat

My name is Sophia Caligiuri, and I am currently a Junior at Chapman. I am majoring in Strategic and Corporate Communication and minoring in Leadership and Psychology. This semester I got the opportunity to intern at Make-A-Wish Orange County and the Inland Empire as an events intern.


I discovered this internship opportunity through Handshake, where I applied directly through the app and initiated contact with Make-A-Wish. Following a successful phone interview, I was swiftly welcomed into the team. As an events intern, I’ve been collaborating closely with the development team to ensure the seamless execution of all events. My responsibilities have ranged from reaching out to vendors and guests, to crafting signage, brainstorming for upcoming events, gathering auction items, and handling various other tasks essential to event success.

Welcome to Make-A-Wish Sign

Communication Skills

At Make-A-Wish, the skills and knowledge gained from my communication classes play a vital role in helping me ensure effective communication within the organization. As an events intern, these skills are particularly relevant in various aspects of my role. For instance, clear and concise written communication techniques learned in class are applied when drafting emails to vendors, sponsors, and participants, ensuring that event-related information is conveyed accurately and professionally. Verbal communication skills were needed for making phone calls and reaching out to potential guests and donors as well. During brainstorming sessions with the development team, verbal communication skills acquired in my communication courses enabled me to articulate ideas confidently and contribute meaningfully to discussions.

My organizational communication class specifically helped me navigate this workplace environment. This was the first time that I worked in an office job, and I was nervous about what type of position I was stepping into. With what I learned from my organizational communication class, I was able to understand how to communicate with my boss and other members of the development team effectively and create positive working relationships with them. I believe that what I learned in my organizational communication class is extremely applicable to everyday life and any future career endeavors.

Internship work set up

My Takeaways

The most valuable lesson I took away from my internship was the importance of non-profit organizations. Witnessing the resilience and optimism of wish recipients and their families left a lasting impression on me, reminding me of the profound difference we can make when we come together with purpose and empathy. I truly felt like I was making a difference.

To future interns considering a role with Make-A-Wish or in the nonprofit sector, my advice is: approach each task with an open mind and a willingness to learn, and don’t underestimate the impact of your contributions. Even if what you are doing seems simple, you are helping out so many people just by offering your time. Above all, never lose sight of the difference you can make in the lives of others.