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Fordham Inspires Internships for the Common Good


Greg Mason chats with Susannah Bourbeau and Sr. Mary Heyser of RSHM Volunteers.

On Nov. 5, Fordham sponsored its first Common Good Internship Fair at the Rose Hill campus, bringing in recruiters not from for-profit corporations but from nonprofits, education, healthcare, government, post-grad service, and social enterprising industries.

The idea is to offer Fordham students more mission-centered opportunities.

“At most career fairs the nonprofits are shoved in the corner,” said Greg Mason, FCRH ’05.

Mason was back at his alma mater to recruit Fordham talent for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.  He said that it was unique to see the nonprofits being separated out from the financial and marketing firms that usually dominate career fairs.

“It’s not surprising that Fordham would have a career fair like this, but it is surprising that it’s the first one,” said senior Rachel Nass, a sociology major looking for a job that would include doing work for for social justice.

Indeed, many of the students and recruiters found the event to be a tangible example of “Living the Mission” campaign adopted by University Mission and Ministry, which co-sponsored the event through the Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice. Together with Fordham’s Career Services, the center was able to keep the costs of participating at minimum in order to encourage cash-strapped nonprofits to participate. Among those who were able to attend were East Harlem Tutorial Program, LAMP Ministries, Global Citizen, and the Fresh Air Fund.

Career services’ employee relations specialist Christie Welch said that while the career fair didn’t command the attendance numbers of a general fair, recruiters had great feedback about those who did attend, calling them “superb” students who “really knew what they were talking about.”

Fordham College at Rose Hill senior Frank Shaparro, an economics major with a theology minor, fit the profile of a Fordham professional with a concern for the common good.

“I’m interested in how our Christian ideals work their way in to the way we organize our economy,” said Shaparro. “So this is great because it provides both opportunities–you can apply to the nonprofits and some private-side initiatives.”

Donna Smith, senior recruiter at YAI, an agency that services intellectual and developmentally disabled adults, said that she found the fair heartening on a personal level.

“I was pleasantly surprised to come to a fair that targets human services, because it’s so needed,” she said. “It really speaks to people who do passion work and it reinforces for me why I do the work I do.”


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