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Summer Internship a Dream Opportunity

Fellowship Provides Real-World Experience in Nonprofit Field
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When Nicolette Passerello got an email about applying for a fellowship in which she could spend the summer interning with a nonprofit and gain valuable, high-impact, real-life experience, she saw it as an incredible opportunity.

“Working for a nonprofit has been my No. 1 career choice,” says the Cal State Fullerton senior from Newport Beach, who hopes to complete her college degree in January 2018. “I’ve heard about lots of internship opportunities but none interested me as much as the Gianneschi Fellowship in Nonprofit Leadership.”

Passerello says she picked her major, political science, early because of her interest in both global and national issues, democracy and social justice. “I’m particularly interested in efforts to educate and inform, as well as strengthen local community.

“Nonprofits have the goals to support that,” she added, “I don’t want to work for government, but work with government and influence it for the better.”

Passerello is spending the summer working with this summer’s host organization, the Orange County United Way, on SparkPoint OC, an initiative to reduce the percentage of financially unstable families by 25 percent.

“Cal State Fullerton has been a long-standing partner with United Way — President Mildred García previously served on our board of directors — so it is wonderful to be able to support a student interested in learning more about the nonprofit sector and expose them to key solutions to address several issues our community is facing,” said Brenyale Toomer-Byas, director of the organization’s housing and income efforts. “We were immediately sold on this opportunity.

“Nicolette is self-motivated and will take a project and run with it. During her time with us, she will be able to work independently and collaboratively on several key projects to help assess the operations and expand the impact of SparkPoint OC throughout Orange County,” added Toomer-Byas.

“I’m really excited to begin this chapter of my life,” Passerello said. Such experience, she believes, will help her find that dream job.

The Gianneschi Center for Nonprofit Research supports and encourages the work of Orange County’s charitable organizations. Its vision is to be the leading resource connecting nonprofit organizations, philanthropic foundations, businesses, the university and the larger community by facilitating meaningful discussion — through education and research — of issues affecting the nonprofit sector.