The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Notes from the Field: Henry Gardner '18

Article Type 
Student Intern: Henry Gardner '18

Internship Organization: 
The Arc

How would you describe your employer in one paragraph? What’s the elevator pitch?
The Arc is a non-profit organization that promotes the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities across the country.

What are your specific responsibilities in the organization?
I interned with the Center for Future Planning project team which has been working on creating a Professional Services Directory (PSD) website which connects people seeking information on long term care and services to providers of these servides (special needs lawyers, healthcare professionals, etc.). As an intern, I am tasked with combing through journals and dissertations to find research that accentuates the need for such a program and to put what I find in short reports for grant proposals.

How did you feel on the first day of your internship?
Having never rode a subway in a major city before, I was anxious about my first day commute. I left my apartment over an hour early to allow for any confusion and made it to the office with time to spare. Unfortunately, I had made it to the wrong office. There are two Arc offices in D.C., The Arc of D.C. (where I was) and The Arc of the United States (where I was supposed to be). With my heart beating faster than was healthy and not wanting to be the intern who was late the first day, I sprinted back to the metro. Turns out I had allowed enough time to where I still arrived well before my welcome meeting, but the experience was jarring nonetheless.

What is your favorite part of the internship so far?
I have learned an incredible amount about the inner-workings of a company. Just being able to sit in on meetings gives me a view not just of the progression of a project as it works through every department, but also offers a look into the individual expectations every employee has for him/herself and the level of personal dedication everyone puts into their jobs to have a positive impact.

What challenges have you faced so far?
As is typical being an intern, I have rarely had clearly defined goals. I will be tasked with researching a subject or finding prospective companies to recruit for the PSD and will be told to turn in my reports when I am done. As such, it has required a great deal of personal discipline to seek out other projects and to take the initiative to ask my supervisor for feedback.

Broadly speaking, what do you hope to achieve by the end of your internship?
I hope to have contributed to the development of the PSD and to see the initial launch of some of the early domains of the website. I also hope to have learned even more about The Arc and the workings of non-profit organizations in general.

What have been some practical lessons you've learned in the day-to-day life of your internship?
If you're starving and falling asleep due to lack of energy in the morning, you can ask to take your lunch at 11am. There's no shame in that.



The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences