CASE Reuss Internships: Introducing the best and brightest to advancement

Aug 07, 2018 09:00 AM
CASE Reuss interns Nicole Evans (left) and Mary Kate Hansen.
CASE Reuss interns Nicole Evans (left) and Mary Kate Hansen.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to introduce two young women, Nicole Evans and Mary Kate Hansen, to Grace Reuss, the widow of late UIF Director Bob Reuss over a stewardship visit. Nicole and Mary Kate have spent much of the summer with us at Harker Hall in an internship specifically designed to introduce them to the field of advancement and not-for-profit management. Meeting Mrs. Reuss was an opportunity for them to offer their thanks, first-hand, for the experience. It was also a chance for me to offer my sincere gratitude as well—I first met Mrs. Reuss in 2003 when I was offering my thanks as a Reuss intern. My internship experience, now 15 years ago, certainly launched my career in advancement, and I will forever be grateful to Bob Reuss for his investment in me.

I must admit that each summer, I feel like we’ve uncovered some of the very best and brightest future advancement officers—and this year was no exception. These young women will excel regardless of their chosen path—Nicole will finish up her master’s degree at U of I this fall and Mary Kate will launch her fundraising career in healthcare in Indianapolis in just a few weeks. I have high hopes that both of these talented and hardworking young women will find themselves returning to the University of Illinois as advancement colleagues!

Nicole Evans

Before this internship, my knowledge of the field of advancement was slim. The great thing about the program, however, is that every week we have gotten to learn more. We were able to meet with professionals across campus and the Illinois development program seeing how advancement works on the public relations side, and how advancement plays a role in stewardship and engagement. Finally, we had the great opportunity to meet people who truly love their jobs. The advice, wisdom, and depth of knowledge from everyone we met with, helped to shape my mindset for each of my projects which included researching for Storied and helping with the development of the Illinois Softball Training Center. This internship gave me tools that I really feel will help guide my career. Coming from an athletic background, I felt I was surrounded by the greatest coaches all summer. I have learned so much about the world of advancement, the fulfilling career that it is, and have met some amazing people. This internship further solidified that I am at the greatest university in the world, and I am so grateful to have been a part of and learn from this team for the past eight weeks.

Mary Kate Hansen

Coming from a healthcare fundraising environment, I knew I would have a lot to learn about higher education in eight short weeks, but I never would have guessed that I would be walking away with the wealth of information and network that I am today. There were so many helpful people along the way; some laughed when I shared the projects I have been working on, but everyone was eager to share their story and more information about their role in the organization. I have had the opportunity to work on a deferred gift stewardship pilot project for the College of Engineering that received mixed responses from donors, but it taught me to think quickly when donors began questioning my intentions for calling them. My other project has been with the Office of Advancement for the College of Engineering and my goal has been to create a case for supporting a faculty curriculum for basic advancement education. I have had the chance to hear the frustrations from both academics and advancements professionals. This internship has opened many doors for me and provided me with a set of transferable skills that will help me in my next steps. I have recently accepted a job offer with the St. Vincent Foundation in Indianapolis. There, I will be working with a variety of projects ranging from events to annual giving to nursing scholarships. I will be able to use the stewardship knowledge I have gained to assist in annual giving efforts. My understanding for the faculty-advancement dynamic will aid me in working with doctors on special fundraising projects for the hospitals. I have absolutely loved my time at the University of Illinois Foundation and thank you for your support!


About the CASE Reuss Internship

The CASE Reuss Advancement Internship at the University of Illinois Foundation seeks to increase and diversify the number of professionals in educational advancement. It was made possible by the generous foresight and vision of late University of Illinois alumnus and UI Foundation Board Director Robert P. Reuss ’39. This eight week summer internship provides a hands-on, project-based learning experience. Interns receive on-the-job training at the UI Foundation and participate in a learning curriculum designed and delivered by staff and faculty from CASE, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, that focuses on introducing key concepts and developing valuable skills in the three professional areas of advancement—alumni relations, communications & marketing, and philanthropy.