In a previous post, we talked about Dr. Kathi Badertscher and the ties connecting the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and Coburn Place Safe Haven.
What’s another one of those ties? Bachelor’s student Erin Wuertz, who has taken full advantage of her internship opportunity in her time at the school and Coburn Place.
She didn’t originally attend IUPUI, though. She started out at Ivy Tech and then transferred to IU Bloomington to be in the microbiology program, but soon realized it was not what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
“I was in a science outreach program where I traveled to schools and helped children understand science, and I really enjoyed doing that,” Wuertz said. “I found the nonprofit program at Bloomington, which led me to learning about the philanthropic studies program here. I had a tour with Pamela (Clark, director of student services and admissions) and fell in love with the school.”
For Wuertz, part of the school’s impact on her is a result of the faculty members.
“I’ve enjoyed my classes with Dr. Genevieve Shaker and loved my Learning by Giving class with Dr. Greg Witkowski,” she said. “We had a $10,000 grant to give out; it’s the hands-on learning in this program that pulls you and keeps you.”
Wuertz admits that she does have a favorite professor though.
“I love all of my professors, but Dr. Badertscher is one that stands out,” she said. “My first semester, I took her course Philanthropy and Social Sciences and it seemed like we had multiple assignments focused on domestic violence and philanthropy, which is ultimately the field I want to work in. It aligned perfectly with my goals and was the perfect introduction to philanthropy and getting me sucked in.”
That class connected her to Julia Kathary, the executive director of Coburn Place and school alumna, who came to speak to the students one day. Wuertz stayed after class to speak with Kathary about Coburn Place and explained that she wanted to open a domestic violence shelter.
“A few weeks after that, Dr. Badertscher emailed me and said that Coburn Place needed helped with one of their events, so I went and helped with that,” Wuertz said. “During my first tour, I cried when I saw all they were doing for victims of domestic violence.”
She continued to volunteer every Thursday night (“I just wanted to be there”). During the summer, one of the staff members suggested that Wuertz complete her internship at Coburn Place.
She started as the philanthropy intern, which included administration and marketing work. Since she was obtaining her events management certificate, Wuertz subsequently became the events management intern at Coburn Place.
“I’ve been working a lot on events and how they tie to nonprofit organizations,” she said. “I try to make sure the event is engaging the donors and also ensuring that clients play a role. That’s why I love our Holiday Hand-Out event. You get to interact with the residents and see how your volunteer and intern time makes a difference.”
The staff at Coburn Place has made a large impact on Wuertz as well.
“They have been life-changing for me. They’re all amazing and have opened their hearts and doors to me,” she said.
Wuertz’s path forward is clear.
“After I graduate, I’d like to work in a nonprofit, whether it’s in domestic violence or not,” she said. “I’d like to do the master’s program in philanthropic studies after that, and then open my own domestic violence shelter in a place that truly needs it.”
Next week, we share one more connection between the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and Coburn Place. Don’t miss it!
Abby Rolland is the blog content coordinator for the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.