INTERN 2014: Laura Lee Burkett

[Written by Kristin Underwood, Program Advisor – Institute on Philanthropy and Voluntary Service]

Laura Lee Burkett is a rising senior at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, majoring in English Literature and receiving minors in political science & classical studies. Born and raised in Mississippi, Laura Lee hasn’t always had the opportunity to be immersed in new, diverse experiences. Upon receiving information from TFAS, she knew DC was the place to spend her final summer before senior year. She was especially fascinated by the philanthropic nature of the Institute on Philanthropy of Voluntary Service because of her interest in the nonprofit sector.

Laura Lee spent her summer interning for Mentors, Inc., the only citywide, one-on-one, open enrollment mentoring program serving high school-aged youth. The mentors are role models who provide the guidance, support, knowledge and love the students need to become successful adults. Laura Lee’s internship focused on program development and she is currently completing a summer long project where she revamped and recreated the mentor orientation process. She is also helping plan a back to school event for all of the student/mentor pairs.

Her favorite part of her internship has been the hands on work she’s been asked to do.  “It’s really awesome to have my supervisors believe in me and utilize the work I’m doing,” Laura Lee said. “Additionally, every meeting my supervisor has had, whether it is consulting with individuals from the Department of Justice, recruiting mentors from DC law firms or visiting schools where our mentees attend, I’ve been invited to come along and offer input.”

After Laura Lee completes her senior year, she hopes to attend law school in the fall of 2015. She is especially interested in public service law and constitutional law, but knows that is certainly subject to change.

Upon reflecting on her internship, classes, fundraising and nonprofit work from this summer, Laura Lee knows TFAS was a rewarding and worthwhile experience. “I think the most rewarding part of my TFAS experience is seeing the common phrase manifest: what you get out of life is really only equivalent to what you put into it,” she said. “We’ve all worked so hard this summer, and at times it seems impossible, but the lifelong friends, lessons and connections we acquired makes it all worth it.”