Gaining Great Experience for a Great Cause:

An Interview With Better World Books Intern Kerrin Epstein

by Sean Cullen

Eastern Region Student Representative
Kappa Pi
Alvernia University
Reading, PA

As a major supporter of Better World Books, I was honored to be given the opportunity to interview the first person awarded our Better World Books’ internship. This person is Kerrin Epstein, a recent graduate of Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, PA. Kerrin, who double-majored in English and Political Science, recommends this internship to anyone who wants to work with a company that is genuinely dedicated to making a positive impact. From diverting books from landfills to preventing greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere to aiding its many literacy partners, Better World Books truly works toward a better world. The following is the interview that I had with Kerrin (through email):

Q: You went to school at Gettysburg College, what did you study?
A: My majors were English and Political Science.

Q: When did you become a member of Sigma Tau Delta?
A: I became a member of Sigma Tau Delta in the fall of 2008. The fall of my junior year. 

Q: When did you first get involved with Better World Books?
A: I helped organize a book drive for Better World Books on the Gettysburg Campus the fall of my senior year. 

Q: Where did you initially find out about the internship?
A: I found out about the internship on the Sigma Tau Delta website. 

Q: What motivated you to apply for the position?
A: I had worked for non-profits previously, but I found the idea of a for-profit mission driven organization really interesting. 

Q: When did you find out that you were selected for the internship?
A: I’m having trouble remembering, but I believe I found out in March of 2010. 

Q: Why do you feel that you were selected for the honor?
A:I had experience with independent research and computer databases. I had also worked for mission driven organizations previously. 

Q: What was expected of you?
A: I was expected to come up with new ideas for a plan to market the Better World Books campus book drive program to sustainability coordinators for colleges. I then received feedback from Mary (BWB staff) about my ideas and made revisions based on her feedback. 

Q: Where did you stay?
A: I stayed at Emory University. Emory offers a Summer Intern Housing Program which is fairly reasonable. I had three other roommates, but there are options for single apartments and two bedroom apartments. 

Q: How was adjusting to a new city?
A: The only major adjustment was dealing with the traffic. Atlanta has notoriously bad traffic, and I experienced it first-hand every morning on my way to work. Other than that, Atlanta is a fairly user friendly city. 

Q: What was your favorite part of the internship?
A: I really liked having the freedom to create my own project. 

Q: What part did you find most difficult?
A: I had to learn a lot about campus sustainability (what measures colleges take to be more sustainable) in a short amount of time. I also had to learn a lot about different sustainability rating systems. Although this was challenging, I really enjoyed it. 

Q: What are you currently up to?
A: I am serving as an AmeriCorps member for a year, teaching English as a Second Language. 

Q: How has the experience helped you since leaving Atlanta?
A: I have learned to present my ideas in a streamlined fashion (a useful skill for teaching). I am also sure that having a background in sustainability will be useful for a number of career paths. 

Q: Who would you recommend this internship to?
A: I would recommend this internship to anyone who wants to create their own project and then see it in action. 

Q: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
A: The people at Better World Books were great. They are so helpful and easy to work with. Better World Books attracts good people. A spirit of camaraderie and cooperation pervades the office, creating an enjoyable, productive workspace. With the assistance of my coworkers, I was able to learn a great deal about sustainability on college campuses in a short amount of time. 

This internship is still available for the summer of 2011. Applications are due February 7, 2011. Gaining great experience by helping such a great cause would be, by all accounts, a great way to spend time in the summer. Thanks to Kerrin for taking the time to share her experience. More information on this and other internship opportunities can be found at http://www.niu.edu/sigmatd/awards/internships.shtml
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