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Empowering Change: MSU Student Reflects on Public Policy Internship at MNA

Written By
Tammy Pitts
Chief Communications Officer
Tammy Pitts
Posted On

Participating in an internship offers college students an exceptional opportunity to pursue personal growth, elevate their professional skills, and create a tangible impact on society. The Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA) recently had the pleasure of hosting Ali Sandifer as our public policy intern.

This transformative experience allowed Ali to immerse himself in Michigan’s vibrant nonprofit sector, engage with inspiring world changers, and contribute to the many meaningful initiatives and projects that MNA is involved in. Throughout the internship, Ali worked closely alongside Joan Gustafson, MNA’s External Affairs Officer. In his own words, Ali shares his reflections on his internship experience here at MNA.

“My internship experience at MNA overall was incredible. I started my internship very shy and reserved, but now that I am at the end of it, I consider MNA home. All of the staff have left a professional impact on me. I was able to understand the legislative process in the context of nonprofit advocacy and was able to see a team of hard workers all centered around a common goal.”

What was the highlight of your internship at MNA? What was attractive about a public policy internship?

“The highlight of my internship was being able to meet my supervisor, Joan Gustafson. Joan really inspired me through her bright and focused personality centered around genuinely advocating for the nonprofits in MNA. A public policy internship in particular attracted me because I am very passionate about the way policy impacts underserved and underrepresented communities and getting a chance to advance nonpartisan policy connects my passion and my academic interests.”

What skills did you learn?

“I learned how to be a professional and a standard of professionalism, how to work with a supervisor, how to navigate a remote workplace and email etiquette.”


Why do you think it’s important for college students to take an internship?

“It is important for college students to take an internship to fully immerse themselves in the careers that they think they are so certain about. Oftentimes we young people have ideas and plans for what our future looks like, but it takes an experience like an internship to fully understand the tools that you need to be successful in the career that you want.”

What’s next for you?

“I am finishing out my senior year at James Madison College and applying to Law School this fall!”

The MNA Staff wishes Ali the best of luck in his future endeavors. To submit a pitch for our nonprofit blog: marketing@mnaonline.org

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