July Blog Posts from Rollins’ Summer 2014 LGBT Advocacy Interns


Hanna Cody @ Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders (SMYAL) in Washington, DC

photo 1As the saying goes, time always flies when you’re having fun. It seems like it was only yesterday that Sabrina and I were moving into the Berkshires and coming home excited after our first days at work. Within a short four weeks, I can already see the growth that has occurred since I entered the Washington Summer Internship program. Just like anyone starting something new, you always begin doubting yourself at first; you question every single one of your actions and always look for confirmation that you haven’t committed some horrible mistake that would to bring your entire workplace to shambles. When I first started at SMYAL, I can safely say that I was that tentative person who wasn’t always confident of her work or abilities. Though I still have doubts, I feel much more confident in my abilities and knowledge. If my boss had told me at the beginning of the summer to plan a donor fundraising event to rejuvenate the Women for SMYAL program all on my own I probably would have panicked. Now, I feel capable and prepared to put together a donor cultivation event all on my own. Read the rest of this blog post here.



Sabrina Kent, National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) in Washington, DC

photo 3As my time here in DC continues, I continue to grow as a professional. I have felt myself become more comfortable with taking on ambiguous tasks without much direction and finding positive results. My supervisor has an invested interest in NGLCC’s interns continued growth and success during our time at the organization. In order to monitor my growth as a professional, each week I write a detailed report of the projects that I am working on, how I feel I am growing at NGLCC, and what I seek to be challenged by in my internship; this system has encouraged me to be accountable for the growth I am achieving. I have recently been working on becoming a business-oriented, succinct writer, which my supervisor has encouraged and guided me through.  Read the rest of this blog post here.


Since the Summer of 2009, the Johnson Family Foundation has provided grant funding to send Rollins students to Washington, DC to intern with LGBT advocacy organizations.  This summer, Sabrina Kent and Hanna Cody were selected for this program.  They have been asked to post periodic blog entries, sharing their experience with our blog readership over the summer.

First Blog Posts from Rollins’ Summer 2014 LGBT Advocacy Interns

Since the Summer of 2009, the Johnson Family Foundation has provided grant funding to send Rollins students to Washington, DC to intern with LGBT advocacy organizations.  This summer, Sabrina Kent and Hanna Cody were selected for this program.  They have been asked to post periodic blog entries, sharing their experience with our blog readership over the summer.  Below are their first blog posts of the summer.

Hanna Cody @ Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders (SMYAL) in Washington, DCIMG_4936

As I looked out the window from my plane, the beauty of the city immediately surprised me. I could see the Washington Monument out of my window, and as we descended into Reagan, I could not believe that I was about to spend the summer in the nation’s capitol. It quickly became apparent that the city was both an exciting and welcoming place. I met with my fellow classmates during American University’s orientation to debrief what our class, Community and Social Change, was going to be like over the next eight weeks.  Our professor immediately made it apparent that he wanted to make the class as beneficial as possible and promised to design classes that got us off campus and out into the “real” D.C. We made wish lists of all the things we wanted to do or people that we would like to meet while in the city and presented those ideas to our fellow classmates. From there, our professor has begun to compile a personalized itinerary for the remainder of the summer, which started out with a trip to the British Ambassador’s home for a gathering, celebrating the launch of the summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. The evening was truly unforgettable and it was awe-inspiring to hear the ambassador speak, let alone see the inside of his home.  Read the rest of this blog post here.


Sabrina Kent, National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) in Washington, DC

We’ve only been in DC for two weeks and already this experience has been better than I had ever expected it could be. I’ve already made it a point to embark on my fair share of tourism. The first night that I got here I went to the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument and last Monday on my afternoon off Hanna and I explored the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History. This summer I am serving as the Meetings and Education intern at the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) here in DC. Not only do I work less than a block away from the White House in the old National Securities Building (how surreal!), but I instantly felt at home in the positive work environment that I was thrust into just two short weeks ago.H and S at British Ambassodor reception

The NGLCC serves the LGBT business community by connecting LGBT Business Enterprises (LGBTEs), business owners, employees, and entrepreneurs with the chamber’s corporate partners (Wells Fargo, American Airlines, IBM, to name a few) to expand the economic opportunity and advancement of LGBT equality in the workplace. In 2002, the founders, Justin Nelson and Chance Mitchell, sought a solution to the economic inequalities that LGBT small business owners (in particular) face in a capitalist America. Read the rest of this blog post here.

How to Find a Job You Love: The Answer to a million dollar question

Bianca - ThumbnailSubmitted by Bianca Buscemi, Career Services Practicum Student

The job search can be a daunting task on its’ own, but finding a job you love could prove even more challenging. Luckily, Glassdoor has partnered with universities and colleges worldwide to give students free access to job listings, company reviews, salary reports, and much more. Check out the infographic by Kira Hillman on Glassdoor on how to find a job you love!


“So tell me–what’s your greatest weakness?”

Bianca - ThumbnailSubmitted by Bianca Buscemi, Career Services Practicum Student

Startups are constantly on the brink of innovation and what they seek in potential employees is no exception to this. David Reese offers insight from a startup’s perspective on how to answer the daunting question of, “What is your greatest weakness?” He recommends ditching the status quo and taking the authentic route for an effective response. It is important to remember that prospective employers are looking for the “voice” you will bring to the table and how you will positive contribute to the existing team. Interviews are an opportunity to display this voice (tactfully, of course) so interviewers can see how you will further the mission of their company. Read the narrative David Reese shares about his experiences in building an effective start up team here.

The Right Way to Answer “What’s Your Greatest Weakness?”

by David Reese

Thomas Jefferson once said that “honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom”. Though truth-telling abounds in grade school platitudes, it seems scarcer the older we get. But this decline in honesty — let’s call it dishonesty — isn’t necessarily innate. Dishonesty can be taught. In my experience, I’ve noticed that, of all culprits, college career centers are exceptional traffickers of such miseducation. In the process, they’re hurting their brightest students’ chances of making it in the world of startups by convincing them to give dishonest answers to tough interview questions.

Full disclosure: I work at a startup, and it’s my job to quickly build a team of the right people. Throughout my earlier career in larger companies, honesty and being self-critical have always been obvious qualities to look for in candidates, but it wasn’t until I joined Medallia that I realized their special significance for startups. Brandon Ballinger’s now famous blog post about his experience with Y Combinator’s Paul Graham shows why. To cut a long story short, Graham told Ballinger (to his face) that his startup idea sucked — a tough-love approach Ballinger now extols. Why? Well, in a startup, it’s much more comfortable to be a “team player” than “the bad guy,” as Ballinger describes it. The real hard work in a startup, however, is being able to openly admit that the current strategy is just not working — no matter how uncomfortable it is, or how much has been invested in getting to that point.

In other words: one of the biggest dangers for a young company is that a roomful of smart people who aren’t being honest could easily be steering their rocket ship into the ground.

And yet college career centers continue to operate in a 20th century world in which top talent was funneled into careers in mature, staid organizations and industries. These are cultures where people are much more likely to divulge their net worth than a weakness. While a mature organization might have once been able to get by with a “don’t stick your neck out” culture, that attitude is simply lethal to startups.  Read the rest of this article here. 

Lessons from Hawaii

Submitted by Drew Doty, Class of 2013

It has been a year since I graduated from college and rest assured the learning has not stopped. Rather than walking across a campus to various class DrewDotyrooms where learning was instructed to the rudimentary tune of a syllabus, I now engage the world I studied for seventeen years. In doing so, the magnitude of life has become incredibly real. This is both a blessing and a challenge, for if I succeed or fail in this classroom the effects impact far more than just a grade point average. This is not said in remorse. In fact I find relief knowing that my work now amounts to more than just a number on a piece of paper. I also have come to thoroughly enjoy certain activities that I used to dread, such as writing, which is what has prompted me to write this article.

It is timeless wisdom that tells us we will forever be students in life, and lucky we all are that this is true. In the past nine months since I left Rollins College I have been on a bit of an adventure with a mantra of “figuring it out.” I am currently writing from the Big Island of Hawaii with a list of the lessons this paradise has taught me, most definitely the hard way. I am certain that it is rare for any person to leave the academic world and not stumble, and perhaps this is for the best. How else could we find our gumption? It should be noted that this is not written out of bitterness or regret, but rather as a reflection with the hope of helping others in similar shoes to my own. The following are a few points worth contemplating.

  • Take the time to determine what your work and the time it takes to accomplish it, is worth in this economy. Do not settle for less. This will definitely change as time goes by, but having a starting rate will help you avoid situations where your services may be taken advantage of. In the worst case, where financially you must acquire immediate income, certainly do not pass up a paying job because it pays less that you should be making. However, do actively engage the intention to make this situation as temporary as possible.
  • Before starting a new position, clarify with your employer what your exact responsibilities will be, what your compensation will be, and how many hours per week you should anticipate working. Starting a new job is exciting, especially in an economy where good jobs are hard to find. It will be well worth the time to allow yourself a day or two to process what the commitment will look like for you. Make sure this will be a good investment of your time and energy.
  • For the many people who are unsure of what their exact career path will look like (myself included), work-trade positions offer a seemingly affordable way to travel, gain practical experience, and network. The reality is there are a lot of us who are unsure or are not ready to commit to a career right out of college, and this is just fine! But, this also means that there are a lot of people looking for inexpensive ways to travel and experience new places, which those offering work-trade positions are well aware of. Do not let the lure of exotic travel compromise what you have established as fair compensation for your services. In other words, if you are considering doing a work-trade position, be confident in what you are worth to that employer, and politely negotiate a fair trade before you commit.
  • Always speak your whole and honest truth. It doesn’t matter how you get it out, but you will never feel satisfied if you don’t.
  • This may seem like common sense, but it is still not worth learning the hard way. Never tolerate sexual harassment. Regardless of whether it happens to you personally or to someone in your network, you have a responsibility to yourself and your community to take immediate and thorough action against it.
  • When buying used cars (or mopeds) make sure that the title, registration, and inspection are all up to date. It is more than worth the money to have a mechanic thoroughly inspect the vehicle before you buy. The freedom of transportation is very alluring, but you have got to be patient and smart about the buying process.
  • Unpaid internships should be avoided. Quite frankly, as college graduates (or even students) we should be smart enough to market ourselves to paying employers as valuable assets, regardless of the amount of experience we have in that given field. We have spent roughly a quarter of our life examining, studying, and applying what we have learned in a classroom and we can certainly do this in the workplace. Do not let any company (no matter what their prestige is) tell you that you are not capable of accomplishing the work that needs to be done for them just because you do not have three years of experience doing it. If you want experience in a particular field, it is worth the wait to find a paid position in such field. Consider picking up a more accessible job while you search and keep reading and studying your field of interest. The more you know, the better you can market yourself for the position you really want. Go after what you want and never give up the chase.
  • Travel is a beautiful thing. For many of us, all we know is we want to travel the world and that’s cool. However, what we generally do not see is the value in establishing ourselves in one place for a long period of time. Sure, home is definitely in your heart, but consider how nice it is to have a large network of friends in one place, to know all the hidden gems of certain city, to become an active member of a community rather than just a tourist. By having a home base, you have somewhere to travel from and back to – a place where you can process all the incredible places you have been and to plan your next adventure. If travel makes your heart grow, a home base allows your heart to rest which is equally important. So my recommendation to those who are unsure of what career they want and who really want to travel, find a place where you would love to live for five years. This doesn’t mean you necessarily will, but with that goal in mind you will be critical enough to find a really great location.
  • To add to this, use the time you have now to learn how to save and invest your money really well. I know it sounds agonizingly boring and a lot of the literature on the topic is. However, by saving and investing intelligently, you give yourself the freedom to do what you really want to do (like travel). Also, once you have learned how to do it really well, you will have this skill for life, which means a lifetime of getting to do what you really want to do.
  • Take the time to learn how to grow at least some of your food. It is incredibly simple once you know how, and it can be done in any living situation. Financially, you could save yourself hundreds to thousands of dollars a year depending on the extent to which you grow. This is money you could use doing more things you really want to do. This is another one of those skills that you will have for life, and gladly so.
  • Finally, and this is the hardest one, be grateful. No matter what you are struggling with find a way… find something that makes your soul feel grateful. If you can be grateful you will always find happiness. You do not have to love everything in your life, but you can be grateful for having life.

Read More…

Being Smart with Your Smartphone in the Career Search

Bianca - ThumbnailSubmitted by Bianca Buscemi, Career Services Practicum Student

In the 21st century, we have become accustomed to technology at our fingertips, in particular with the evolution of smartphones. A plethora of information is now at our disposal that provides us a great deal of connectedness and information in a matter of seconds. Career search engines have joined forces with app developers to provide their services on the go. I have compiled a list of free and beneficial apps to simplify your job search. Many of the apps serve the same purpose of matching you to job postings based on location, salary, keywords etc., but I have identified unique features of each app.

Job Compass
Has listings in over 55 countries

JobSearch by Indeed
Constantly refreshes and shows you new postings based on your preferences with every login

Features an open forum where users can ask questions and receive advice from fellow users regarding the job search 

Ideal for those looking for local temporary or contracted work
Users can apply and submit work directly through the app           

Find a job on Media Bistro
Not an app, but can be accessed on mobile browser
Publishes job opportunities for journalists (freelance, part time, full time)

BeKnown by Monster
Networking platform that utilizes Facebook friends to show connections you have in specific career/companies
Beware of linking social media to job search (I recommend a social media “cleanse” prior to utilizing this

Yet, More Tips on How to Avoid Common Social Media Pitfalls

Julia - ThumbnailSubmitted by Julia Larson, Assistant Director of Career Services

Many employers report that they check a candidate’s online presence at some point in the interview process.  Are you ready for employers to see all your pictures, comments about employers, and social media content?  The infographic below from Career Savvy covers everything from professionalism and pictures to qualifications.




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