Holy Cross Student Summer: Paulina Martin '21

Paulina Martin '21

Her internship with United Way is giving this rising senior a firsthand look at the challenges and rewards of nonprofit work

Paulina Martin '21

Summer Plans: Intern, United Way/Worcester Together Hometown: Mansfield, MA Major: History

Summer Plans

I am interning with the United Way of Central Massachusetts. Primarily, I work with "Worcester Together," a partnership of organizations collaborating to help the city through the effects of COVID-19. My job is to support these efforts by finding and connecting local volunteers to the groups that need them. I have also worked directly with relief efforts, helping run the food delivery program that drops off groceries to families in need.

Lessons Learned

The work of the Worcester Together team has had a profound impact on the most vulnerable in the city, distributing resources such as food, shelter and personal protective equipment. I am seeing firsthand the dedication so many non-profit leaders have for their community and the rewards and challenges of doing such emotionally intensive work. I am also learning much more about city politics.

The Holy Cross Difference

Holy Cross places an emphasis on community engagement. Coming into this internship, I already had a great handle on the major non-profit players in Worcester because of my involvement with Community-Based Learning and Student Programs for Urban Development. A lot of the work I do is with undocumented families, and because of my previous class with Professor Susan Rodgers on refugees, I feel well equipped to grapple with their complex needs. Two people in the United Way office are Holy Cross grads, and I was introduced to Tim Garvin, the head of the organization, by another alum. Truly, I had lots of great connections to get the position in the first place.

What's Next

I spent last semester in Washington, D.C. interning with Senator Elizabeth Warren and came out of the experience sure that I wanted to work in politics. While I still think that's the case, my involvement with the United Way has given me a new appreciation for politics and government at a local level. I think I would love, and perhaps even be more fulfilled by, city or municipal work. I am so grateful to have this additional perspective and to have discovered this passion for serving smaller communities.