Georgetown University’s Center for Social Justice is launching its second iteration of the Legacy of a Dream (LoaD) internship program, which pairs students up with local nonprofits.
Students who are selected for the program work with leaders and organizations that have been recognized by the John Thompson Jr. Legacy of a Dream Award for their strides toward solving key issues in Washington, D.C. When applying, students fill out a form where they indicate their areas of interest and their preferences from a list of organizations. If chosen, students are then matched with the organization that best fits their interests.
Students selected for the program are expected to work six to eight hours a week, and can participate on a volunteer basis or apply their Federal Work Study awards.
As a LoaD intern, Maggie Fan (SFS ’25) worked at House of Ruth, an organization that supports women recovering from trauma and abuse.
Fan said the program allowed her to engage with issues within the D.C. community and use her skills and expertise to make a positive impact.
“As a LoaD intern, I had the opportunity to work with incredible women who empower their local community around injustices of domestic violence and homelessness,” Fan wrote in a promotional flier for the program. “In my first year at Georgetown, I researched the effectiveness of eviction policies before and during Covid. I was able to directly implement my research into the organization’s work.”
Rachel Tao (COL ’25), a member of the spring cohort of LoaD, interned at Academy of Hope, a local Black-led adult public charter school.
Tao said she gained valuable administrative skills beyond her expectations coming into the program.
“On one hand, I gained more practical skills like communication, coordinating with several dozen volunteers regularly, and research, studying industry best practices and other organizations’ fundraising tactics,” Tao wrote to The Hoya. “I also learned a lot about fundraising and social media marketing strategy that will serve me well in future roles.”
Beyond gaining work experience, the program also allows Georgetown students to make long-lasting changes in their partner organizations, according to Tao.
As a LoaD intern, Tao said she designed an entirely new digital fundraising strategy, which Academy of Hope has recently implemented.
“That project required significant dedication and effort, but it will be deeply rewarding to see my recommendations carried out, to know that I had a tangible impact on the organization that will last for years to come,” Tao wrote.
Fan said she also got to make an impact outside of her typical responsibilities as an intern at House of Ruth.
“The most rewarding experience was meeting the incredible staff and taking their photographs to design their IDs,” Fan wrote. “I was happy that I could design something useful for the staff beyond solely my internship.”
Tao said the experience she gained in the program has helped shape her thoughts regarding her future career.
“I gained meaningful experience in being a part of a team and a greater social justice movement for racial and economic equity,” Tao wrote. “Perhaps most valuably, this internship has made me so much more interested in nonprofit work as a potential career path. Whatever I do in the future, I will take my experiences at Academy of Hope with me, making me a better worker and person. I would highly recommend the experience!”
The LoaD internship program works in tandem with the award, providing support to selected organizations while giving motivated students a rewarding experience, according to a university spokesperson.
“This program strengthens the John Thompson, Jr. Legacy of a Dream Award by supporting awardee organizations with talented Georgetown students who are committed to social justice work; creates a pipeline of work opportunities for Georgetown at highly vetted, impactful and mission-aligned DC non-profit organizations,” the spokesperson wrote to The Hoya.
Fan said she recommends LoaD to anyone interested in exploring the work people are doing beyond Georgetown’s gates.
“I would definitely recommend this program to anyone who’s really trying to learn more about D.C. as a whole beyond solely Georgetown,” Fan wrote. “I was able to really get out in the community and learn about D.C. and its really cool organizations.”