Murray State University nonprofit leadership studies student, Sabrina Smith, currently has an internship with Murray-Calloway County United Way for the fall 2016 semester.
Murray State University nonprofit leadership studies student, Sabrina Smith, currently has an internship with Murray-Calloway County United Way for the fall 2016 semester.

Murray State University nonprofit leadership studies student, Sabrina Smith, is interning at Murray-Calloway County United Way for the entirety of the fall 2016 semester.

After being informed by Peter Weber, director of nonprofit leadership studies, and discussing the internship with her advisor, Robin Esau, Smith decided it would be a great fit for her and that she should apply. Murray-Calloway County United Way Executive Director Gerald Washington then called her to set up an interview. Directly after the interview was conducted, Smith was informed that she had gotten the position.

“I’d never been so excited,” said Smith.

It wasn’t always Smith’s plan to work for United Way or even nonprofits as a career path. For starters, Smith has always been involved in volunteer work and considered it a passion but had no idea she could pursue her passion as a career until attending Murray State.

“After learning about the program, I was sold,” said Smith. “I haven’t even considered changing my major since declaring nonprofit leadership studies and I wouldn’t change a thing.”

What attracted Smith to United Way was its mission statement, “improving lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities around the world to advance the common good.” United Way achieves this by focusing on the three building blocks for a good quality of life: education, income and health.

“Bringing people together to create a stronger, more united community in today’s world is an incredible thing, and I think that’s why I was so drawn to United Way,” said Smith.

Smith is now working on revamping the marketing campaign by updating and maintaining United Way’s social media and website to stay relevant and known within the community. However, her favorite part of the internship is having the opportunity to further her community involvement.

In relevance, community involvement is a key part of United Way’s effort to advance the common good and create a better community.

“United Way provides collective solutions to ongoing issues within the community,” said Smith. “This creates connections between volunteers, agencies and students — everyone ultimately living united, if you will.”

When asked how Smith’s studies at Murray State have helped her prepare for her internship, she talked highly of service learning within the nonprofit program. Service learning allows students to get involved in the community. Smith “strongly advises” students and faculty alike to participate in service learning. She states that while at Murray State, her experiences and opportunities have been extraordinary.

Smith also talked about the influence of her professors. “The staff in the nonprofit department is one of the things I love most,” said Smith. “Every professor I’ve had in the nonprofit department is dedicated, passionate, kind and involved beyond belief.”

As for Smith’s future, she would like to remain with United Way and move north, but she’s open to any job or location. However, what she does know is that she “just wants to help people.”