Academics and Research

DU crowdfunding effort leads to additional summer internship grant

Incoming junior Darby Pappas was studying for finals at the Anderson Academic Commons when she saw a missed call and voice mail from a campus extension. On the other end, career advisor Rebecca Damas had left Pappas a message offering her an internship award that had just been funded through One Day For DU efforts on May 18. Damas says that Pappas, who had “accepted her fate” as an alternate recipient, returned the call within 30 seconds.

Each year the University Career Center gives eight $2,500 awards to students who have accepted unpaid internships. While some internships are paid, most students still take unpaid internships knowing that the hands-on experience will generate on average $10,000 more in starting salary at their first post-graduation job.

Many students can’t afford to work unpaid in the industry of their choice, such as government, nonprofit, creative arts or startups, where paid internships are rare. Others accept paid internships that are less connected to their career goals. Every year the candidate pool becomes more competitive. This year, Pappas was the No. 1 alternate, a slot that is rarely offered award money.

Thanks to One Day For DU crowdfunding efforts, 56 donors contributed $3,614 to DU’s Internship, Career and Professional Success Fund, making possible an additional internship award for this summer.

Pappas previously served paid internships at Houston-based ad agency MMI and at hotel marketing agency Screen Pilot, where she even negotiated a higher pay rate based on her past experience. But Pappas, a creative and entrepreneurial marketing student, wanted to broaden her experience and find something that sparked her passion.

An avid skier and director of apparel for DU’s Delta Gamma sorority, Pappas took note of the Lost Girls Tribe hoodies she noticed skiers wearing this year. She started following the company, a media collective for women in action sports, on Instagram. In March, she reached out to the company via its website. Before long she was Facebook-messaging with the founder, which led to a FaceTime interview.

Lost Girls Tribe was not actively recruiting interns, but Pappas made a compelling pitch. She created, designed and proposed her own internship at a company whose work, mission and ethos she finds inspiring — and she landed the job. This summer she’ll be handling social media, building an analytics dashboard, redesigning the company’s website and launching an email marketing campaign.

When she learned the award was funded through One Day For DU giving, Pappas was in awe. Her response: “In the future, I will donate to this fund. I want to give back in the same way that these donors were able to give to me.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *