A Magazine for the George Mason University Community

Unpaid Internship Scholarship: Jennifer Lyon

By Priyanka Champaneri, BA '05, MFA '10 on June 27, 2019

Student: Jennifer Lyon, senior
Major: Psychology
Internship Site: American Red Cross, Washington, D.C.

Jennifer Lyon had a difficult choice before her. She could choose a paid internship that didn’t entirely fulfill her professional aspirations, or she could opt for an unpaid opportunity that hit the precise sweet spot in her interests. After much thought, she chose the latter, and it quickly became apparent that she’d chosen wisely for more than one reason.

At the American Red Cross, she’s been able to work at an organization that spans both her fields of interest: public health and government. As a government relations intern, she helps with social media management and government outreach to alert lawmakers to the services the Red Cross provides, including aid relief after natural disasters.

While she expected to perform the usual tasks relegated to an intern, like making copies and picking up lunch for the office, she was surprised to find that her boss and coworkers have become real mentors.

“[My boss] is putting so much energy into teaching me and coaching me and making sure she knows what my interests are to make those connections,” she says. “[It’s] really, really awesome, and it’s not something I was expecting.”

Psychology major Jennifer Lyon is an intern with the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C., where she helps with social media management and government outreach. Photo by Creative Services

She had a second surprise come her way when she found out that she would receive funding to offset the cost of her internship through Mason’s Unpaid Internship Scholarship.

“It’s really alleviated a lot of pressure for me,” she says, citing both the cost of transportation into Washington, D.C., and of business attire as expenses that the scholarship will help with. “I think [the internship] is an investment for the future.”

Support students with a gift to the Unpaid Internship Scholarship fund.

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