What’s Your Internship?: Dawn Cheung

Dawn Cheung

Dawn Cheung stands by the Wishing Tree at the Employee Celebration Event that she planned and executed.

Student: Dawn Cheung

Major: Communication (focus in social interaction), Minor in Education, Learning, and Society (ELS)

Grade: Senior

Position: Special Events and Development Intern at Seattle Goodwill, (March 2013 to present), Unpaid, for credit, 10 hours/week or up to 20 on event weeks

Duties include: Providing continual support and assistance to the MarCom team and Development department in planning and executing company events; assisting in the planning, preparation, fundraising, and execution of the grand opening of the new Seattle Goodwill building; providing the Design team with text for creative, press releases, and signage for events; and coordinating with internal staff and volunteers for events. The events that are currently in progress are the New Building-VIP Guest Reception, Employee Open House, Ribbon Cutting, Community Open House, and Glitter Gala and Auction.

How did you find out about it?  

Husky Jobs

What made you decide to apply?

“At the time, I was very lost and honestly had no idea what I wanted to do after I graduated. I ran into this wall where I knew what I loved, but didn’t know what jobs out there could foster that passion I had for communication and education. I took a step back and went back to the basics. I asked myself, ‘What do I like to do?’ Everything I wrote down had one common theme: I wanted to help someone or something. At the end of every day, I want to know that what I did made an impact on something or somebody’s life. This also included my love for being creative and planning, so anything that was related to development or event planning was also on my radar. So, I decided that I was going to explore the nonprofit route and I stalked Husky Jobs every day and had my eyes filter for specifically nonprofit organizations. Luckily, I found Goodwill one day and everything about the position seemed perfect and I applied right then and there.”

What do you like most about it?

“There are so many things I love about being an intern at Goodwill, but the thing that I enjoy the most is meeting the students we serve and help. With the new administration building that has new classrooms and resources for our students, I love seeing and meeting the diverse individuals who come into our Job, Training, and Education (JTE) classes. I love working with the development team. They are a great and fun bunch who love to chat and get to really know you better. They really value all the help they get and are never hesitant to help you when you need it. In terms of my position, I love the satisfaction of putting on and executing a successful event. It is really stressful the week of and day of the event as there are so many things to do and prep for. It has really improved my communication and organization skills. The best part is watching the event you have helped plan happen right in front of you! It’s a great feeling!”

Is there anything you would change?


What was the working environment like?

“Because we just moved into our new administration building, the environment and atmosphere is great. We have a great building and we are seated in an office/cubicle setting, but one that cultivates effective communication. Everyone is super friendly and loves seeing how you are. They are always willing to help you and will always thank you for your time and hard work.”

How do you think it will help you and your career or future goals?

“I have learned so much about nonprofits and special events management that this not only stems into my future career goals, but my day-to-day life. I know at some point that I want to work for a nonprofit and I have discovered that through the craziness of the development world, I really like it. I’m starting to move my interests more to fundraising and special events. Ultimately, I am really interested in the development department within nonprofits and see myself working there in the future.”

What’s your favorite accomplishment so far?

“I just executed my first event on Wednesday. I was in charge of planning, prepping, and executing our Employee Celebration Luncheon and it was a great success! That feeling of fulfillment or watching an event you plan happen, it feels great!”

Is there anything else you would like to add?

“For people reading or in search of an internship, my best advice is to keep searching and take internships that may sound interesting, but there is still a chance you may/may not like it. I have had several internships and in each one I discovered things I liked and things I did not like, and that really helped me figure out more of what I want to do in terms of a job/career and most importantly, more about myself. Even if the internship is unpaid, I believe that it is still worth it. If you are still in school, have time or have nothing planned for the summer, search for an internship and gain experience. Any experience is valuable and it is really up to your determination and perseverance to gain as much as you want out of your internship. You get out as much as you put in and this has held true for all of my internships! Also, for students not to get discouraged. It is really easy to get discouraged after not hearing back or getting rejection email or phone calls. Don’t give up and always make sure to let people know that you are willing to learn. We all have to start somewhere and if you can, express that you are willing to learn and a fast learner, which is something that appeals to many companies.

Dawn Cheung (2)

Photo courtesy Dawn Cheung