A ConDONOR of College Advancement: An interview with Kai Payne on his position as an intern for the Bates College Donor Programs.
Kai decided to apply as an intern for the Donor Programs because, as a student caller, he knew that it was closely related to the work that he was already doing, “However, I knew that that being in an office setting, I would be introduced to the more fundamental aspects of advancement. Also, I realized that because I was hired first as a summer intern, I would be able to get a full working knowledge of the different factions that operate under advancement and choose which section I liked working with the most.”
The application process was very straightforward for Kai. Due to his introduction with Sherry St. Amant through Nina Emmi, Kai was able to meet directly with his supervisor to inform her of his interests as well as learn from her the duties that would need to be carried out. “This allowed me to formulate a better idea on whether to take the job or not based on my personal interests. Once I realized that I wanted the position, I set up an interview where sat down with Sherry in a more formal setting and discussed my credentials and my reasoning for wanting to be a member of the Donor Programs team.”
Because Kai works with files that deal with sensitive information for his job at the Donor Programs, his position requires a level of confidentiality that cannot be breached.“However, I can say that aside from working with sensitive data entry into certain programs and folders for different projects, I do carry out other tasks such as creating event invitations, filing, and yes sometimes shredding.” Kai explains that these tasks are essential because they allow for his supervisor’s day to run more smoothly “so I am always glad to lend a helping hand”.
Kai’s primary task deals with data entry dealing with certain files relevant to the advancement office where information is saved. However, from time to time, Kai is tasked with independent projects that allow him to showcase my talents. “For example, I am currently working a named spaces project that is very fluid that requires me to go around campus and take pictures of all the named statues, objects, plaques, and buildings on campus and compile that all into a booklet creating a space for historic monuments on campus while coupling that with the information of how it was given to Bates and by whom.”
Although Kai has no funny stories to relay, he does state that he finds it wonderful and interesting that the people on the floor where he works are all invested in one another. “The camaraderie really shows when for a couple of minutes during the day everyone takes a break to either eat donuts to celebrate a co-workers birthday or to just enjoy the homemade baked goods that one person is willing to share with the rest of us. It creates a wonderful and comfortable dynamic for me as an intern.”
On a similar note, Kai’s favorite part of the job is interacting with the people within the advancement office. Kai appreciates that his fellow co-workers treat him with complete respect, and loves the professional, but friendly setting he is surrounded by. “One of my favorite part of the job is that I get to interact from time to time with Vice President of Advancement, Sara Pearson, who always stops to talk with me. Whether it’s to ask me how my day is going, if I’m finding a way to balance everything that is demanded of me, or to simply tell me a joke or pass me some delicious candy, it is always nice to know that even during her busy day she has time to talk to a student on a personal and genuine level.”
From his time working as a Donor Programs intern, Kai has definitely gained unparalleled organization skills. This skill is something that Kai thinks will matter in any job market after college. “The ability to take on certain tasks and execute it with a certain game plan is always a useful tool to have, and thanks to all the projects assigned to me from my supervisors I believe I have been able to hone those skills and use them to my advantage.” Part of the job also requires Kai to call certain alumni and donors and invite them to events close to their neighborhood, which allows Kai to sharpen his communication skills and learn how to professionally engage with others in a work setting. “It is my goal to become a lawyer, and although my job does not familiarize me with legal procedures, the basic organization and communication skills that I have acquired while working here will allow me to effectively compete in a profession where both those skills are absolutely necessary.”