Closer to Career

3 March 2016

Hannah Nayowith ’16
Sam ’75 and Meg Woodside Endowed Fund for Career Exploration

Hannah Nayowith ’16 calls herself a “classic Carleton” story: She came to campus wanting to learn everything. She was excited—until it dawned on her that she’d eventually need to choose a primary field of work.

Enter internships.

“I wanted to get some direction out of my internship,” says Nayowith, who completed an internship with nonprofit advocacy group J Street, which promotes diplomatic solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “And some of the most valuable experiences have been learning that there are actually some things I don’t want to do. It’s helpful to learn that before I graduate.”

Thanks to the Sam ‘75 and Meg Woodside Endowed Fund for Career Exploration, which supports internships in government and nonprofit sectors, Nayowith received funds to help cover costs while she completed her J Street internship in Los Angeles. The Career Center made that part really easy, she says. The endowed fund provided money to cover her flight to L.A. (and home again), transportation, housing, and general living expenses, as well as a stipend to replace tuition contributions that could have come from a paid summer job.

“It’s nice that students don’t have to restrict their options to paid positions,” Nayowith says. The funding made her internship possible, because she was able to apply for opportunities based on her passion rather than proximity to home.

And by exploring her interests, Nayowith learned valuable and surprising lessons. For one, she learned she actually enjoyed politics, and that she could be involved and affect change without being a politician. She immersed herself in news of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, working hard to understand the complex issues involved so she could share her opinions in meetings.

“I put so much into the experience, and it’s reflected in the amount I got out,” she says.

In addition to a deeper knowledge of global issues and politics, Nayowith also gained tangible skills. She’ll be able to add plenty to her résumé, including familiarity with new software, graphic design, event planning, communal mapping, and policy briefings—all excellent preparation for her eventual career.

And ultimately, she got one step closer to choosing that career.

“I definitely reached my goal of seeing if I would be interested in working with a political organization after graduation,” she says. “I really wanted to do grassroots work or teach, and this internship showed me that I could also do something office-based.”

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