DePaul University Career Center's Blog

How I got this Internship: Nonprofit & Government (Winter Quarter 2023 Event Review)

by Francis Matias

How I Got This Internship: Non-Profit & Government

During the event, attendees had the pleasure of getting to know student panelists Emily Mayo and Alex Martinez and their professional background, specifically their internship experience.

Here’s more about our student panelists:


Emily Mayo (she/her)

Senior Emily Mayo is an English major with a concentration in Creative Writing, and minors in Spanish and Classical Studies. Emily is a proud “out-of-stater” from Miami, Florida. Despite being new to Chicago, and entering DePaul months only a few before the pandemic, Emily describes herself as “very active within the DePaul community.”

Her first DePaul position was as an Orientation Leader, and she has had multiple campus roles since then, including a tour guide, a Chicago quarter mentor, a teacher’s assistant, and most recently an éditer for DePaul’s literary magazine. She believes that having campus jobs is a great strategy for building up a sense of community on campus while also building on your resume and Curriculum Vitae (CV). 

To view current campus job listings, visit the job board here.

Emily is also a McNair scholar. The McNair Scholars Program helps fund research for underrepresented students who are interested in pursuing a PhD. As a McNair scholar, Emily had the opportunity to present her research at a conference at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) this past Fall Quarter. She showed attendees her business card which she brought to the conference. It contains  a QR code that when scanned, directs you to her professional materials such as her CV. She encourages students who are part of an underrepresented group to apply for the program, and consider creating their own business cards for networking. 

For more information about The McNair Scholars Program and the application process, read here.

As for her non-profit internship experience, Emily interned at the Guild Literary Complex, where she carried out many responsibilities she had not yet done, such as searching for grants and scouting for locations. One of her favorite programs at this organization was Palabra Pula, which focuses on amplifying the voices of Latinx authors and writers. Although Emily was unfamiliar with a few of her duties, she felt the new experience extended  her range of skills.  Currently, Emily is a Peer Essay Writer for College Access and an editor for the poetry section in DePaul’s literary magazine Crook & Folly, which Emily suggests students submit their creative work to next year. 

To learn about Crook & Folly, and how to submit your work, view their webpage here.

One student asked Emily “How do you find the time [for all of your responsibilities] and keep your sanity?”

“A lot of it comes from saying yes, and also realizing when to say no. It’s important to stay hungry and be ambitious and ask all the questions and try to get on every project you can but then also…step back and say no.”

Emily Mayo

Mayo’s final takeaway was,  “I recommend taking as many opportunities as you can no matter how small!”


Alex Martinez (she/her)

Alex Martinez is a Junior double majoring in Political Science and Psychology, planning to go to law school after she graduates. Alex entered DePaul several months into the pandemic, taking completely online classes. In her sophomore year, she was eager to begin her professional journey and secured a job with the Career Center as part of the Future Forward program.

In March of her sophomore year, Alex applied for her current internship at the Federal District Court in Chicago. She interviewed for the position in April, and began the year-long internship in June 2022. As a federal intern to a district court judge, Alex attends trials and hearings, and is occasionally given assignments to work with law clerks. It’s been important for Alex to customize her schedule to accommodate both her classes and her internship. For example, she mentioned has classes Tuesdays and Thursdays, works 9 AM – 5 PM on Mondays and Wednesdays, and works a half day on Friday. 

Alex found her internship listed on Handshake, and she strongly recommends that students utilize Handshake for their own search as well. Because Handshake is tailored to students, the opportunities listed are more student-appropriate, Alex explained. The main benefit of using Handshake to find opportunities, unlike more general sites like Indeed, is that employers posting opportunities on Handshake are more likely to be flexible with student schedules, and have more realistic expectations of students’ prior professional experiences based on factors like school year and major. 

To find listings for positions, browse on Handshake here. 

The Career Center’s resources were helpful for Alex in the internship process, as she learned many things “she  didn’t even think about” from her appointments. She was able to improve her resume with new tips she learned, such as the benefits of listing hard skills rather than soft skills. Looking back, Alex stated she wished she took advantage of the Career Center’s mock interview service, as she felt it would have better prepared her for the hour-long interview for her internship. 

If you would like to schedule a mock interview, register for Career Community appointment on Handshake here. 

One student wanted to know, “How [was] the transition from having regular jobs to internships?”

“It definitely was a transition especially because I’m the youngest person in the office. So that was something that was a challenge for me: going in and not relating to anyone. That was a bit difficult but it does get easier as you transition.”

Alex Martinez

Martinez’s final takeaway was: “Don’t ever limit yourself too much. You definitely want to explore all the options, especially because we’re still young.”

This event’s purpose was for peers to learn about internships from other peers, and Emily and Alex exceeded our expectations as panelists by offering attendees all of their best advice, and answering tough questions. Both panelists explained they were able to strengthen their skill sets through jobs at DePaul, and that on-campus jobs may be a good starting point for anybody interested in gaining professional experience while still in school. They both believe that when it comes to gaining experience, it’s important to never limit yourself but also set boundaries to avoid burnout. 


Not sure what the future holds? Need support along the way? That’s exactly where we come in. Whether you’re a freshman or an alumnus, it’s never too early (or too late) to utilize our services.

Book an appointment with Francis, or another member of the advising community through Handshake, or by calling the front desk at (773) 325-7431.

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