Rid Malynn '24 | University of Portland

Rid Malynn '24

Major: Social Workrid-malynn

EPI internship: Make-A-Wish Oregon

What were your summer internship responsibilities?

I worked with the Program Team, but we like to call ourselves the Wish Team! I helped with the logistical side of making wishes happen. I was involved with researching activity ideas for wishes, putting together itineraries to send to wish families, booking flights and places for wish families to stay, and any other little things to make wishes magical for the kiddos.

How did you find out about the Ethics and the Professions Internship program, and why did you apply?

I found out about this internship after seeing an ad posted outside my ethics classroom. I realized it was the same internship my friend had taken part in the summer before, so I decided to look into it. I ultimately decided to apply because I liked that the internship had an organizational side and a self-­exploration side. Not only was I going to gain professional experience at Make-A-Wish, but I was also going to learn more about myself, who I want to be, and what I should look for in a company. We did so much self-reflection this summer, between cohort meetings, 2:1 meetings with DBI staff, ethical 1:1 conversations with members of our host organizations, and weekly themes to guide them all. To tie the whole summer experience together, each intern got to dive into a passion project we called our Ethics Exploration (Eth Ex) projects. We got to take what we were learning from our ethical ponderings and organizational experiences and apply it to an ethical topic that mattered to us. The Eth Ex project was what really set this internship apart from other internships and played a big role in why I chose to go for this one. We had the unique opportunity to be paid to spend hours on end researching anything we wanted to, and that really encouraged me to spend my summer engaging with my mind instead of watching endless Netflix after getting home from work.

What did you learn?

My greatest takeaway from this experience was learning to value my own work, have more confidence in myself and my abilities, and know my worth within a company. It is easy to feel small when you are an intern for a well-established, very busy company. But diving into ethical topics related to the professional world played a central role in building my confidence and giving myself the credit I deserve. This experience has given me the tools to advocate for myself, learn my limits, and value my role as a part of the team. 

What was your favorite moment as an intern?

It is so hard to pick a favorite moment as an intern because I got to work with so many amazing individuals and do work that I am passionate about. For the Make-A-Wish side of things, I have to say my favorite part was having an ethical 1:1 conversation with the CEO of Make-A-Wish Oregon, Laila Cook. It was amazing to hear her story, the values that guide how she runs things at MAWO, and the ethical nuances that she faces as the leader of Oregon's Make-A-Wish chapter. Laila is an impressive and inspiring leader that I truly look up to. For the UP side of things, my favorite part was the story-telling dinner. The interns got to spend time with three professionals as they shared different ethical dilemmas they've faced in their professional careers. We got to discuss their experiences, deliberate on what we might have considered if it were our decisions to make, and reflect on the ultimate decisions that they did make. It was a night of good food for thought, and for our tummies.

Why do you believe internships are important for undergraduate students?

I think internships are important for undergraduate students because they allow them a taste of what life might look like after graduation. What I am sure any internship can give you if you put your whole heart and mind into it, but what is built into this internship in particular, is the chance to reflect on the kind of professional you want to be, what you want to value, what you should be looking for in a career, and how you should be treated by your peers. Internships offer a temporary space for you to figure yourself out as an individual and as a rising professional.

What tips do you have for students wanting an internship?

Go for it! I passed by the ad for this internship every other day for weeks before I built enough confidence in myself to give it a shot, and I am so glad I did! This internship has taught me so much about myself and who I want to be, as a professional and as a person in general. And even if you don't get offered the position, applying for internships offers great practice in reworking your resume, writing cover letters, and interviewing, which are all important skills to build.

What other experiences have made your time at UP unique?

I have been so lucky with the professors I have gotten to learn from. To put it simply, I love learning. The classes I've chosen and the professors that teach them have really encouraged me to dig deeper and reflect on myself as a person in so many ways. My academic side has truly flourished since I became a Pilot.

How did the internship influence how you will approach your plans after graduation?

Working with Make-A-Wish has certainly sparked my interest in nonprofit work. It is easy, as a social work major, to limit what your future career might look like. But the reality is, a social work major does not necessarily have to be a front-line social worker. I have also simply fallen in love with the Make-A­-Wish mission and the work we do. I can really see myself staying connected with this organization in the future.

How did the conversations about ethics during your internship influence how you will approach your plans after graduation?

The conversations about ethics throughout my internship experience have really shaped what I will look for in companies I look into after graduation. This internship has taught me to really value myself and my work. I've learned to be aware of how employees are treated, and what we deserve. I've learned what goes into being a good team member and that much of that comes from trusting myself. When I go out into the world after graduation, I know I am going to be a lot more intentional about choosing a place to work with a mission that I believe in and that I know will treat me well.

Anything else you would like to add?

Internships are about growing. It is so important to enter every experience with an open mind and willingness to grow. The DBI staff kept telling me that what you put into an internship is what you get out of it. Entering this summer with a growth mindset really allowed me to get the most out of my internship.