Summer Internship Experience at JDRF

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By Jordan Garrick

Ever since I was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D), JDRF has supported me through my journey. My involvement with JDRF first blossomed through my time as a volunteer and mentor with my home chapter in North Carolina. The constant support that I received from them was incomparable, but I wanted to find more ways to give back to an organization that has done so much for me.

I found out about the JDRF internship program through my local chapter in North Carolina. I chose to apply for the program to gain practical career experience within a field that directly affected my life. In addition, this was my opportunity to have a hands-on learning experience within the organization that I highly respected.

After applying in the Fall, I was selected as a finalist. I went through two rounds of interviews with managers at JDRF and was selected to be the Outreach intern for 2019. I was in complete shock when I received the news, and immediately began packing and getting ready for my summer in New York City!

When I first arrived on the first day of work, I was immediately energized by the busy streets and the constant buzzing of the city. I was introduced to the intern cohort, department managers and the JDRF corporate office.

I also met my manager Kristin Horowitz, a national Outreach manager at JDRF. She took the time to understand the type of work environment and leadership style that I would be the most successful in. The projects she assigned me gave me the chance to understand more about organizational development, strategy and the importance of the JDRF in communities across the country. Under her guidance, I began to grow in my ability to advocate for ideas and quickly work through projects and tasks.

I was given the opportunity to work on creating new informational material, help with the brand refresh and even review team projects. The most impactful moment during this experience was supporting the JDRF Bags of Hope update! When I was first diagnosed with T1D, I remember the emotions I felt receiving my Rufus Bear and backpack of supplies in the hospital. The opportunity to positively impact thousands of T1D’s lives is the chance of a lifetime.

After the first couple of weeks of learning the basics of city life like navigating the subway I felt at home. In addition, the JDRF staff members encouraged me to network and step outside of my comfort zone inside and out of the office. The entire staff at JDRF was warm and welcoming. They always made time for meetings, giving career advice and encouraging me to make new connections and broaden my network.

One of the best parts of the entire experience was the new friends that I made within my intern cohort. Although we were all in different departments, we found time to bond whether it was lunch in Battery Park or hanging out on the weekends in the city. Working alongside a group of people all determined to make a difference in the world while living with T1D inspired me to strive to be the best that I could be. 

Although my summer is coming to an end, I am confident that after the experience of living and working with type 1 diabetes in a major city that I can succeed in the future. This summer provided me with the chance to professionally develop, practice independent living with T1D and contribute to making the world a better place for anyone with T1D.

Learn more about the JDRF College Internship Program here. Internships are hosted by companies in the diabetes space and include opportunities in advocacy, business operations & management, research & science, communications & marketing, non-profit management, technology, and more.