Research and Internships: Mara Falahee Gains a New Home and New Skills

Mara Falahee went well outside her comfort zones – Scripps College and her hometown of Bradenton, Florida – for an internship in Seattle, Washington. Read on for her perspective on interning away from home.

Mara Falahee '16The sound of my roommate’s hair dryer wakes me up at around 5:30 in the morning. I usually try to get in a short run on the treadmill while she gets ready for her commute; afterward I’ll whip up a protein shake, stick it in the freezer, and take a quick shower before I’m ready for work.

My business casual attire rotation is simple: I pair my least wrinkly shirt and dress pants together. (I still have not quite figured out how to get that perfect crease with the iron). My commute requires me to be in my business heels and en route to the bus stop by no later than 7:05 am. I transfer busses to get there; sometimes I’ll I hear two law students discuss their latest test score, watch a young mother drop her daughter off at daycare, or witness a homeless man try and sneak a ride.

I finally reach my internship at The Borgen Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating global poverty, half an hour later. My job involves brainstorming, researching similar organizations, studying their corporate sponsors, and compiling lists of prospective businesses. The best way to gain sponsors is to network, ask people for advice before asking for a donation, and establish credibility. Today, my team decides creating a public event to interact directly with the community and draw attention to our organization is the best possibility.

After cold calls and our daily intern meeting, I grab lunch in Pioneer Square. When I return to the office, it’s time to plan for the fundraiser. We begin with logistics, securing a venue, catering, and outreach. I contact local businesses and ask for sponsorships and donations for an auction to accompany the event. At the end of an afternoon of cold calling and event planning later, I catch a bus to Capitol Hill for basketball training.

Playing basketball for CMS Athletics is a passion of mine, and working hard in the off-season is something I am extremely committed to. I play pick-up games with the women’s team at Seattle University and then head home to my apartment just 10 minutes away, gearing up to face another day like this tomorrow.

Interning at The Borgen Project was an invaluable learning experience that forced me to become much more independent. With my coworkers and friends, I felt at home in Seattle. I became immersed in a new liberal, forward-thinking community while living in the heart of the city. I met new eclectic people, became comfortable in business meetings, and developed essential communication skills while learning the ins and outs of nonprofit organizations.