Students for a Better World: The Beyond the Classroom Blog

Stories, Resources, & More from the Beyond the Classroom (BTC) Program at University of Maryland

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Design for Change

by Juantrice Alvarado, Beyond the Classroom Student

I am a senior Studio Art and Communications double major at UMD. This fall semester, I interned with a design agency based in D.C., KTD Creative. Before I started, I was anxious about pursuing a career in design. I had been interested in graphic design since high school, where I studied interactive media production and learned Adobe Creative Suite programs. However, I didn’t think becoming a graphic designer would earn stable income and I didn’t think I was good enough compared to all the other graphic designers in the world. I thought BTC’s internship course, UNIV326: Internship and Experiential Learning Seminar, would be the perfect opportunity to try and rule out my fears.

KTD Creative’s mission is to “create branding, interactive and print communications for arts organizations, corporations, associations, museums, small businesses, federal government agencies, universities, non-profits and more.” The types of services provided


Juantrice Alvarado at her internship with KTD Creative.

by KTD Creative are “responsive mobile and web design, web development, information architecture, fundraising, eNewsletters, event branding, search engine marketing, social media marketing, print design and more.” KTD Creative works with many nonprofit organizations, who support important issues in order to match the organization’s missions with their advertised visuals. The most recent client is the Wind Energy Foundation. I felt very proud to work on the organization’s graphics with my supervisor, Kate, because clean energy is a global issue I am passionate about. I hope to continue using my design skills for civic engagement purposes. I think design is crucial to civic engagement and social change, because an organization with outdated or unrelated visuals won’t get as much support as the organizations that do.

During my internship, I was responsible for maintaining and/or creating client logo designs, print layouts, social media campaigns, and website designs. I worked directly with Kate Tallent, the Principal, Creative Director and Designer. I used my knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite programs (InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator) in order to accomplish daily tasks assigned by my supervisor. Every day was a new goal or a completely new problem to solve. The lack of monotony during this internship is one of the key reasons I decided to pursue a career in the design industry. After building trust with my supervisor she gave me more responsibility and creative freedom. I was able to successfully design business cards for clients. I also created and managed social media content from home. As a senior, it was difficult to manage at home responsibilities with schoolwork, but this discipline helped me to learn time management.

My accomplishments at KTD Creative include building my skills in communication, leadership, social media, content management systems (Drupal and WordPress) and Adobe Creative Suite programs. Overall this internship experience boosted my confidence and my skills in design. It also helped me to realize that a higher income would come with years of experience. Honestly, I’d prefer choosing a job that I love over one that I hate just because of money.


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VolunTeams: An Innovative Approach to Volunteering

Jewish Volunteer Connection

By Jennifer Rottenberg, BTC Student

This summer, I had the opportunity to intern at the Jewish Volunteer Connection (JVC) in Baltimore, MD. JVC is a part of The Associated, a nonprofit organization that aims to connect people throughout the Baltimore community. Specifically, at JVC they strive to engage volunteers to meet vital community needs. During my internship with JVC, I was able to contribute to this goal through involvement with VolunTeam, JVC’s innovative approach to increasing volunteerism throughout the community. Continue reading

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Horses that Heal: The Work of Maryland Therapeutic Riding

Horses for Hope

By Kylie Waterman, BTC Student 

This summer I had the opportunity to work at Maryland Therapeutic Riding  (MTR) in Crownsville in order to fulfill my Beyond the Classroom internship. It is a non-profit dedicated to improving the quality of life for individuals with developmental problems, as well as emotional or physical challenges. The organization serves people of all ages using a range of therapies from everyday riding lessons to hippotherapy, which utilizes the soothing and strengthening motion of the horse in coordination with more traditional forms of therapy like physical, occupational and speech therapy. Continue reading

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Internship at Wildlife Research Center Teaches About the Nature of Nonprofits

Patuxent Wildlife Research Center

By Rebecca Marchwinski, BTC Student
For my Beyond the Classroom internship, I worked at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center with the Friends of Patuxent. This was not a traditional internship and required a lot of hands-on work outdoors.The internship had two main goals: research and public outreach. On the one hand, I spent a lot of time at a duck colony with over 100 ducks, conducting behavioral research and observations. On the other hand, I would attend events through the Friends of Patuxent to inform the public about the research occurring on the refuge and what issues that research was addressing. Continue reading

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BTC Internship Sparks Passion for Addressing Educational Inequalities

By Morgan Franklin, BTC Student 

“…I co-founded an afterschool tutoring and mentoring program at High Point High School in Beltsville, just 5 miles from the University of Maryland, and just 10 miles from Walter Johnson High School.  Of the entering freshmen class at High Point, only 33% graduate.  That’s 33%, compared to greater than 95% at schools like Walter Johnson.”

I have always been interested in education, but up until about 2 years ago, I felt as if I was so far removed from all the problems facing our nation’s students in lower-income areas.  I went to public elementary school in Howard County, Maryland, and then attended a highly competitive, academically rigorous private high school in Montgomery County.  Although I didn’t attend public high high school, Howard and Montgomery Counties are both known for their excellent public school systems.  Walter Johnson High School, the public high school that serves my family’s neighborhood has a greater than 95% graduation rate.  Demographically, it is over 50% white.  When you live in an environment like the one I did growing up, you feel as if the problem of educational inequity is so far removed, and that your individual help is not significant whatsoever.  This is definitely the perspective I had a few years ago. Continue reading

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Internship at the Sierra Club Illustrates Importance of Government and Nonprofit Collaboration


By Colleen McMullen, BTC Student

This semester, I worked for the Maryland chapter of the Sierra Club as a water protection intern. As a biodiversity and conservation biology major at the University of Maryland, I have a strong interest protecting the environment. I was very drawn to this organization for the array of environmental issues it addresses and the unique club experience it offers its members. Working with the Maryland Sierra Club has been a very enlightening and valuable experience that has taught me a great deal about Maryland’s environment and the inner workings of a grassroots organization. Continue reading

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A Semester of Discovery at Bread for the World

Hermela Capitol

The author, at left, pictured in front of the Capitol with other Bread for the World interns at a lobby day on Capitol Hill.

By Hermela Hailemeskel, BTC Student

“One in 6 people struggle with hunger, 5 in 6 can help.”

This semester, I was able to follow my passion to help end hunger. I had the opportunity to intern in the Church Relations Department of Bread for the World, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to urge decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad through advocacy. I initially learned about Bread for the World last semester in the Beyond the Classroom UNIV325 Seminar class. Continue reading