As a freshman at Grove City College, I never anticipated the opportunities that would come my way during my next four years here. During my sophomore year, I started networking with Grove City alumni. Networking for me meant talking to parents of my friends at school who either are alumni or know alumni of the College. The parents of my current roommate are both alumni and knew at the time I was interested in event planning. They helped me navigate the internship world and by March of my second semester sophomore year, I was offered an internship in the Development/Events Department with a company called Coalition for Christian Outreach, otherwise known as CCO.
My boss at CCO for that summer was Allyson Sveda, Grove City College alumna of ’88. Allyson was a Business and Communication Studies major during her time at college. To say Allyson was “involved” on Grove City College’s campus would be an understatement. She was in the Alpha Beta Tau sorority, president of Student Government Association, president of Omicron Delta Kappa, president of Association of Women Students, while also involved in Orchesis, Campus Tour Guide, and Orientation Board.
Since May 2013, Allyson has served as the Development Director within CCO. She works with a team of six people to raise funds for CCO’s mission of “transforming college students to transform the world.” The Development team is responsible for raising money for the Next Generation Fund through direct fundraising efforts, planned giving, and annual events. As the CCO grows nationally, Allyson’s department looks for new donor bases across new regions to support the campus work in those areas.
Allyson and I have maintained a close relationship even after I completed my intern summer with CCO. I recently spoke with her and asked why she hires Grove City College students as interns. Her response was extremely genuine and compassionate toward the campus community. “Personally, I like to give a fellow Grover the opportunity to learn new skills while they discover more about their personal strengths/weaknesses, build a more robust network, and gain solid experience that can leap frog them into their next position or future career. The CCO has a great relationship on many levels with Grove City. I will give Grove City College students first chance at any summer internship slots in our Development Office,” Allyson replied.
“Have you ever seen differences between Grove City students/alumni compared to students/alumni from other colleges? If so, please describe those differences,” I asked. “I have found the students here to be willing to dig in, be concerned with the importance of the details, creative, self-starters, great communicators, immediate contributors, motivated and willing to please! Other departments have commented on the solid nature of our Department interns. It’s no surprise to me,” Allyson said.
As my own career goals have shifted over the last couple of years, Allyson has continued to help by introducing me to other alumni of Grove City College. The Marketing and Sales internship I had after my junior year happened to be under one of Allyson’s sorority sisters! Allyson is just one prime example of all the Grove City College alumni that love to help out current students of the college. The close-knit community happens to be a very giving and generous one. There are so many opportunities out there, even at a small school like Grove City College. Be confident, get to know more people, and keep your eyes and ears out for any possibilities that may come your way.