Interning at ATF | My Experience

Communication and Event Management Intern

Sheila Alizadeh

As a second-year biology undergraduate student, you are always told to spend your summers in labs or hospitals – but nobody ever mentions the value of working at a non-profit. During the summer of 2020, I got the amazing opportunity to intern at the American Transplant Foundation (ATF). This internship was a perfect fit for me – a philanthropic approach to our medical system. ATF helps the most financially vulnerable transplant patients across the nation receive emotional, financial, and educational support. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ATF had newly introduced the Emergency Grant prior to the start of my internship. The opportunity to help those in need, especially during these difficult times, was so gratifying.

Apart from being able to be a part of ATF’s honorable mission, I also learned so much more than I ever could in a classroom. Beginning on my first day, I was given the opportunity to work on our first ever virtual event: Trivia for Life: Virtual Experience. During the process of planning this event, I got to learn how to use multiple applications (vMix, Canva, WordPress, etc.), how to organize a virtual event, and all the ins and outs of coordinating members of an event. While this event had its own challenges, it was really special to see it all come together and the endless support from the ATF community.

After the end of our trivia event, I got to take initiative in planning our second virtual event: Virtual Family BINGO for Life.  From working to get in-kind donations to finding families to participate, I learned a lot during this experience as well.

In addition to learning event planning skills, I also learned so much about organ donations, grant writing, and the transplant community. ATF gives grants to both transplant recipients and living donors. These grants truly save lives and it’s amazing to be a part of the process. I got to communicate with our patients, hear their stories, and guide their transplant social workers in helping them the best that they could. These experiences drove me to try my hand at grant writing and I learned so much. By participating in various webinars and receiving help from my wonderful mentors, Sandra and Anastasia, I went from never writing a grant before to being able to write multiple grants by the end of my internship. Moreover, by creating and scheduling our social media posts, I got to engage with the transplant community and see how supportive everyone is.

I could not be more grateful for my opportunity to intern at the American Transplant Foundation and for the skills which I acquired during my time there. It truly is a great organization and I hope others apply and make the most of it!

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