Non-Profit Internship Provides Excellent Learning Opportunity for Business Student

Mon Apr 15, 2019 at 12:43 PM

BRCC student intern Bobby Hart, right, with Justin Reiter, Executive Director of the American Frontier Culture Foundation

Bobby Hart is a young man with a plan. Looking forward to a career as a financial analyst, he knew he wanted to get his foot into the business realm to start networking and gaining some real world knowledge. He connected with Blue Ridge Community College Career Services to find an appropriate internship opportunity, and his time at the American Frontier Culture Foundation has proven to be everything he wanted and more.

Under the guidance of Justin Reiter, Executive Director of the American Frontier Culture Foundation, Hart’s internship duties have included creating a database on a field trip grant program, doing mailings, reconciling reports, and learning about donor relations.

“When he leaves here, I want him to know everything he can about working for a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization,” says Reiter. “He’s looked at our financials and come back to me with a list of excellent questions. Bobby attended a fundraiser to meet our donors. That gave him 200 people to network with.”

After only a few weeks into the job, Hart’s work ethic and desire to learn made an impression on Reiter. “He’s going to go far,” says Reiter of the 20-year-old intern.

From Hart’s perspective, the people he’s met are the best part. “The people are all great, both on a personal and professional level,” says Hart. “I know that I can seek out guidance from them now and in the future. They are great people to have advocating for you.”

Hart freely admits that academics were not a priority in high school. He lacked motivation and mostly “coasted through.” That all changed after starting at BRCC. Now, he is often the one encouraging his peers to establish more organization and time management into their lives.

“If you want to get ahead, you can’t just be mediocre,” says Hart. “You have to be over and above. You have to set the standard. You have to accept challenges and learn from them.”

“I love Blue Ridge,” Hart continues. “Blue Ridge is the best thing that happened to me.” Hart is taking 18 credits in addition to working eight hours a week at the internship. He plans to graduate this summer with a transfer degree in Business Administration. In the fall, he’ll study Finance at JMU.

Reiter encourages other businesses to consider Blue Ridge students for internships. When he was approached by Dave Melvin, BRCC Employer Relations Representative, he “jumped at the chance” even though his department hadn’t had an intern for several years. One key, however, is to have a plan for what the intern should accomplish so boredom never strikes.

“We’re a small shop, so having an intern is beneficial in helping us get to projects that may have been on the backburner,” he notes. “But I think it’s important that the job is not just busy work. You want them to have a meaningful experience which builds leadership skills and helps them develop a decision-making process.”

For more information on BRCC internships, contact Dave Melvin at (540) 453-2523 or melvind@brcc.edu.