Interning at STSM by Abby Thames

As a senior Women’s and Gender Studies major at USC I am required to intern at a local organization centered, in some way, around women’s needs. Out of the five page list of different organizations to choose from, Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands was the only one that really excited me. While I am sure I would have been happy with many other organizations, STSM is where I wanted to be. I want to be involved with women’s health and violence prevention some day so I expected to get the most knowledge from STSM. What I did not expect was to gain working, hands-on experience! I originally supposed my internship would consist of mostly office work (answering phones, filing papers, etc) but I quickly learned that this internship is so much more encompassing than that.

I have been doing “office work” for the first few weeks before I start Volunteer Advocate Training and even that has been a challenging learning experience for me. So far I have called local restaurants in Columbia asking for food donations for our advocate training and I’ve built a desk! Both of these were a challenging first for me (but fun!). I mentioned wanting to gain experience in grant writing and my volunteer coordinator (Mary Dell Hayes) has already given me a grant to write for STSM! She really makes an effort to tailor each intern’s experience to their personal wants and needs.

Once my Volunteer Advocate Training is done, I’ll be answering the 24 hour crisis hotline and acting as a personal advocate for survivors of sexual trauma at the hospital; an experience I know will be nothing short of life changing.

All in all, I have completely forgotten that this internship is a requirement for school. I couldn’t be happier with my internship at STSM and can’t wait to write more about my experiences once I’ve started the next chapter!