Developing Valuable Skills at Shedd


Name: Casonddra Thomas

Year: Sophomore

Major: Economics

Minors: Business Institutions, Sociology

CFS Program: Field Studies in the Humanities

Employer: Shedd Aquarium

Participating in CFS has been an amazing experience thus far! I’ve really enjoyed getting to know my employers and coworkers, learning new skills, and discussing my internship experiences with my classmates. I hadn’t had an internship before participating in CFS and I only had a vague sense of what I wanted to do after I graduated. I was worried about how I would find an internship, since I hadn’t really hammered out a clear-cut career path yet. CFS works with a wide range of employers from different industries, with different goals and personalities.

I accepted an internship at Shedd Aquarium with their Development department. They were so excited to have me join the team, give me my first internship experience, and above all, help me discover what my true passions were. Of course, my duties were centered around assisting the Development department and the different teams within it, but my supervisors encouraged me and helped facilitate meetings with other departments – accounting, marketing, etc. They were really invested in me. I wasn’t just there as “free labor”, my success really mattered to them. The very first time I spoke with them on the phone, they made it clear to me that what I got out of the internship was the most important thing. They wanted me to learn new skills and figure out what I wanted to do. They were so friendly and inclusive and gave me a variety of projects. I did research, helped with events, worked on budgeting projects. I learned computer skills, worked with their database, met donors. Although I am in the Development department, they have let me work on projects that wouldn’t typically be assigned to Development, like budgeting and events.

I got such a breadth of knowledge from working with people who realize the importance of an internship – to gain skills and to figure out your future. My supervisor scheduled weekly check-in meetings with me to make sure that I was enjoying my internship – that I was getting enough projects, liking the projects I was working on, learning new skills. They tried very hard to ensure that my experience was meaningful and that I was not only learning new things, but that I was enjoying that process as well. CFS partners with great businesses that are looking to help develop Northwestern undergraduate’s skills and I couldn’t have asked for a better internship experience. I’m so lucky to have been able to participate in CFS and meet the amazing people that work at Shedd!