http://www.acton.org/

Acton Institute

PovertyCure Intern

June - July 2019 • Grand Rapids, MI

What I liked

Acton has an incredible culture that interns truly feel a part of. They tell their staff that they want them to build relationships with the interns and to take the time to do this. In the PovertyCure department, I was given a lot of meaningful work to do (it didn't feel like busy work). It kept me busy, and I learned a lot about the world of development. While each intern works within their department, Acton schedules programming that integrates our work within the organization as a whole. Part of this was a seminar series we had with scholars from Acton and outside speakers related to Acton's mission as a whole. We also were an integral part of running Acton University, an annual conference Acton hosts with around 1,000 guests from over 80 countries. This conference is top-notch and incredible simply to attend (the attendees are state leaders from all over the world, religious and non-profit leaders from all over the world, professors, etc.).

What I wish was different

I wish I had lived with the other interns! Since Grand Rapids is my hometown, Acton had me live at home, but most of the interns are housed downtown Grand Rapids on Grand Valley State University's campus, and I think I would have built stronger relationships with them had I had the option to live with them.

Advice

From what I gathered while at Acton, it's an organization that appreciates its employees being proactive. I was swamped with work within PovertyCure, but that was not most of the intern's experience. Acton was clear from the beginning that if you felt like you didn't have work to do, they want to give you work: so speak up or get creative and do some work of your own to add value to Acton. I would really encourage someone to actually be innovative if they find themselves with time. Reach out to staff to get coffee or lunch - they're all very cool people. Reach out to other interns to get drinks or dinner - they're also amazing people.
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Programs Assistant/Development Consultant

May - August 2017 • Grand Rapids, MI

What I liked

Working for a think tank is amazing! I highly recommend it to students who are interested in public policy but who feel some unease working in politics.

What I wish was different

It may have been more enjoyable if I had more reliable parking, but ultimately that is the price of working in the city.

Advice

Make friends! Supervisors are people too, and they're interested in you as both an employee and as a person.
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Communications Intern

June - July 2018 • Grand Rapids, MI

What I liked

The team of interns was incredible. I learned a lot through hands on experience and mentoring.

What I wish was different

My role was not clear at the beginning of the process.

Advice

Take an entrepreneurial approach to your role. The internship will be what you make it.
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