Internships in Non-profit : Angeli Calinog and Andrew Simmerman

Angeli Calinog is working as District Representative/Internship Coordinator for California State Senator Joel Anderson since March 2014.

SDSU Career Services: As an employer of SDSU interns and/or alumni, what are the strengths of SDSU interns/graduates?

All of the interns we have had from SDSU have been very motivated and well-rounded individuals. SDSU interns are always involved in extracurricular activities, sports, volunteer work, etc.

What benefit do you get from employing them?

The best thing is that SDSU students get so many benefits from going through this internship.  This internship has helped many of our alumni professionally and academically. This internship has been a stepping stone for many former interns’ careers.  In the end, our office benefits a great deal because they have helped us serve our constituents.

What keeps you hiring SDSU interns/graduates?

They are willing to learn and are not afraid to go outside their comfort zone! 

 SDSU CS: What is your academic background?

I graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Sciences, where I also minored in Anthropology/Geography and Music. I began an online Masters in Social Work program through the University of Southern California in August 2013 and am currently on academic break to pursue career opportunities.

 SDSU CS: Did you complete an internship during college? Tell us briefly about that experience and what was the most important thing you got out of your experience.

Yes, I did two internships during college.  I interned for the Department of Social Services for 6 months and I spent a summer in India volunteering at a girls’ orphanage/interning for the nonprofit organization that funded the orphanage.

The most important thing I got out of my experience was that it is crucial to have a cross-cultural understanding.  Learning to work with people from diverse backgrounds in different communities and institutions is necessary in our society.  It is important to understand just how big the world really is to better help those around you.

SDSU CS: Please give us a brief explanation of your personal work journey.

What really exemplifies my personal work journey is that life can cause us to change course, but it is up to you on how to respond to the change.  You can make the best and find opportunity in something, or you can remain the same.

After graduating from Cal Poly, I assumed that it would be very easy for me to find a job because I thought I was a well-rounded candidate for anything I applied for.  What I didn’t realize was that it was tough for anyone at that time and that I really didn’t do anything to set myself apart from the rest of the amazing graduates out there.  I knew that I wanted to pursue a career that involved helping others, so I applied to many non-profits and applied for MSW programs as well.  I heard about doing an internship with Senator Anderson’s office before, but I kept saying that I didn’t have time, or that I only wanted a job that would pay me.  About 7 months after I graduated, I was still unemployed.  I met people who used to work for Senator Anderson who mentioned to me that I might as well apply.  I did a lot of research into this internship and although I only knew the basics about politics, I knew that this would still help me with my networking and communication skills.  About 3 months in, I got a great half-time job working for a non-profit organization.  2 months after that, I got an opportunity to work full-time for another non-profit and had to leave the internship.  Less than a year later, a position opened up in the Senator’s office and they asked if I wanted to come in for an interview.  I remember how excited I was to come to work every day as an intern and how I would be joining an amazing team if I got the job.

SDSU CS: What is one piece of advice you would want current SDSU students to know about being an intern?

Never stop networking and take the most out of your internship!

One of the best parts about our program is that there are more opportunities than just working in an office. In addition to in-the-office job skill development, interns often represent the Senator at events in the community, which offers plenty of opportunity to develop networking, public speaking, and presentation skills. I always tell interns to seize these opportunities!  Make sure you are getting the best out of any internship you do.

SDSU CS: What is one piece of advice you would want current students to know about being in the Non-Profit industry?

Make sure you research the job or internship you apply for!  I remember interviewing volunteers for my old job, and now for my current job, and some applicants had no idea what our organization did or what they really applied for.  It is important to be passionate about what you do, and it will definitely help you out if you know what you are doing and know who you are working for.

SDSU CS: What is one thing you wish you knew about the Non-Profit industry before you entered it?

How the industry works financially. I began to learn a little more about it and about grant-writing near the end of my time at my last job. I think that it is highly beneficial to learn about how your company is funded.

SDSU CS: Additional Comments

Because of Senator Anderson’s internship program, I was provided the skills to make myself more marketable. Interning here influenced me to engage myself in aiding individuals and enhancing the well-being of our community. I have learned so much professionally and personally and I look forward to using the knowledge I’ve gained from this team in my future endeavors.


Andrew Simmerman is the Manager of Growth, Development and Partnerships at Teach For America in San Diego. He has been with the company for one and half years on staff. He was previously a corps member for 2 years and a teacher for 4 years.

SDSU Career Services: As an employer of SDSU interns and/or alumni, what are the strengths of SDSU interns/graduates?

The passion for the community is something I see as a great strength. Involvement in the alumni movement at SDSU is also great as the institution has roots in so many sectors and areas of the San Diego community. Also, I find SDSU grads to be well-rounded with experience in many clubs and activities during their college experience.

What benefit do you get from employing them?

You know you’re getting an employee with passion for the San Diego community, top-notch skills/expertise in their area of study, and ability to wear a lot of different hates because of their well-rounded education.

SDSU CS: What is your academic background?

I graduated from Pepperdine University in 2008 with a degree in Advertising and have my Master’s in Education from City University of New York – Lehman College.

 SDSU CS: Did you complete an internship during college? Tell us briefly about that experience and what was the most important thing you got out of your experience.

Yes – I had the amazing opportunity to build the internship program for then start-up company TOMS Shoes. The most important thing I gained from my experience was finding ways to take initiative. Depending on the company, internships can be either very structured with a set “curriculum” or sorts or have little structure with a lot of open opportunity if the intern takes advantage. In both types of internships, there can often be a lower bar of expectation that I think is easy to exceed. If you look for ways to go above and beyond you are starting strong habits of taking initiative and are also unlocking doors that your peers aren’t accessing – connections, building your network, building your resume, etc. I have the chance to say that I started the now annual “Day Without Shoes” that this year saw hundreds of thousands of participants around the globe.

SDSU CS: Please give me a brief explanation of your personal work journey.

When I graduated from Pepperdine, all I knew was that I wanted to seek justice through my career. That began with me committing to teach in the classroom for two years, eventually teaching for four, with an experience that dramatically changed my path forward. No matter what my job title is, my current and future work will always involve seeking justice through education.

SDSU CS: What is one piece of advice you would want current SDSU students to know about being an intern?

Take initiative and look for an internship that will allow you to do so.

SDSU CS: What is one piece of advice you would want current students to know about being in the Non-Profit industry?

Though working in non-profits is often viewed as a “bless your heart” profession, always hold yourself and others to high standards – as a non-profit professional, you are looking to deepen your impact and create change and you always need to bring your best to realize this impact and change.

SDSU CS: What is one thing you wish you knew about the Non-Profit industry before you entered it?

If I had made a different decision and entered into the business world rather than non-profits, what I wish I would have known is that fulfillment in your job is incredibly valuable and something not easily attained. I feel lucky that I stumbled into this work and have become more fully dedicated to a career in this field because of it. Feeling fulfilled in my job has brought me a lot of happiness that some of my friends making a lot of money don’t have, and I’ll take the happiness/fulfillment.

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