Meet Our Intern: Nicky Althoff

Guest Writer: Nicky Althoff, Komen Missouri Events and Fundraising Intern

My name is Nicky Althoff, and I am excited to be one of the newest members of the Komen Missouri team as an event planning and fundraising intern. I’m a freshman at WashU in St. Louis, currently undecided but most likely pursuing a major in political science. At WashU, I’m a member of pre-law society, Model United Nations, and the varsity track team. Originally from Roscoe, Illinois, which is right on the border of Wisconsin, I’ve loved familiarizing myself with St. Louis and all of its Midwestern glory, aside from maybe the baseball fans.

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Nicky Althoff, event planning and fundraising intern for Komen Missouri

I first encountered the internship with Komen Missouri in the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement’s WashU newsletter. It initially stuck out to me because Komen has been a household name in my family for many years: from cereal boxes to breast cancer apparel, the Komen logo is a common sight in the Althoff house. Aside from my familiarity with the Komen organization and mission, I was enticed by the opportunity to immerse myself in the St. Louis community by spreading Komen’s message and engaging the community in such a great cause.

As the cofounder and chairperson of a 5k benefitting breast cancer in my hometown, the internship with Komen Missouri seemed like the perfect extension of my prior experiences. It also seemed like the perfect opportunity to honor my mom, whom I lost to breast cancer in 2010. She was very involved in my local community’s breast cancer walk-a-thons and fundraisers and inspired me every day throughout her battle with her persistent smile and determination. Interning with Komen Missouri has been a great way to continue her fight against breast cancer, which truly is relevant to so many people.

As an event planning and fundraising intern, I get to see and help with all the behind-the-scenes planning of the signature Komen Missouri events like Trivia Night, the Komen Greater St. Louis Race for the Cure, and Dine Out for the Cure. I keep committee members for these events up-to-date and on-task and talk to sponsors and donors about contributing to our events. I often get to offer my opinion on matters such as how to engage more of the community and have even done some hands-on work redesigning the website.

From taking calls inquiring about mammograms to attending committee meetings, volunteering with Komen Missouri has kept me busy, but knowing that every data entry, phone call, and meeting is in some way contributing to the fight against breast cancer makes the internship the most rewarding experience I’ve had so far in St. Louis. I love working with the small but mighty Komen Missouri staff and I look forward to all of the events to come!

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Meet Our Intern: Maddy Chung

Guest Writer: Maddy Chung, Komen Missouri Communications and Marketing Intern

My name is Maddy Chung, and I am the new Communications and Marketing Intern at Susan G. Komen Missouri! I am currently a sophomore at Washington University in St. Louis, majoring in American Culture Studies and minoring in Marketing and potentially Global Health. I am originally from San Francisco, and though I’m very far from the west coast, St. Louis is starting to feel like home.

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Maddy Chung, Communications & Marketing Intern for Komen Missouri

I have always had an interest in community service, social justice, and issues faced by my local community and beyond. My experience in marketing and communications is more recent, and I am looking forward to this internship because it will combine both of these interests. I am excited that this internship will allow me to engage with the St. Louis community in an impactful way, while giving me valuable experience and skills in marketing.

 

My interest in community service and social justice issues began in high school through my involvement with Breakthrough SF, an education nonprofit that provides extensive academic support to underserved middle school students. I was inspired by the incredible students and saw the unbelievable impact an organization like Breakthrough could have on their lives. Ever since then, I’ve known that I want to dedicate myself to some kind of organization that fights for an issue I care a lot about. Komen Missouri is just this – on my first day, I am already inspired by the work these women do, the energy and passion they put into it, and the impact it has on breast cancer research and the lives of so many Missouri women.

 

I wanted to try something a bit different this past summer, so I served as the Public Affairs Intern for Warriors Ground San Francisco, a community organizing branch of the Golden State Warriors. I was involved with the community organizing surrounding the new Warriors stadium, and I particularly enjoyed this role because I frequently went out into the community and talked to San Francisco residents about the project. I also wrote content for the Warriors Ground blog, did research, and got a taste of what managing an organization’s public presence is like. Through this experience, I developed an interest for communications and marketing, and as a result I declared Marketing as my minor.

 

In addition to social justice, community organizing, and marketing, health and related issues have piqued my interest last semester through a class called Global Health. Though I’m not all that familiar with breast cancer and its impact, I do know many people who are survivors or living with breast cancer today. I am looking forward to learning more about the disease through this internship, as well as contributing to the inspiring work going into finding cures.

 

Although I don’t know exactly what I want to do in life, I know that my experience interning here will help me grow both individually and as a young person considering a career path. I’m thankful to the team at Komen Missouri for this opportunity, and I’m so looking forward to see what the next months have in store here! 

Meet Our Intern: Sarah Reed

Guest Writer: Sarah Reed, Komen Missouri Communications and Marketing Intern

My name is Sarah Reed and I am the summer Communications and Marketing Intern at Komen Missouri. In the fall, I will be a senior at Mizzou. I am in the Journalism program emphasizing in Strategic Communication with an interest in Public Relations. I am originally from right outside St. Louis in O’Fallon, MO. I am an active Delta Delta Delta member and American Advertising Federation member, and I also am very active in Mizzou Alternative Breaks. Through these organizations I strive to continue improving my leadership abilities, enhancing my learning opportunities, and giving back to the community and other philanthropies.

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Sarah loves pink and promoting the #KomenSTLRace

As for a career path, I am currently exploring the non-profit route due to many experiences through my collegiate organizations. Tri Delta’s national philanthropy, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, is one of the main reasons why I chose to be a Tri Delta three years ago. Working with my sisters towards the goal of saving children’s lives has been one of the highlights of my college career. Also, this past spring break, I had the opportunity to travel to Kissimmee, FL with a group of 11 other students to volunteer at Give Kids the World and New Hope For Kids. This experience was truly life changing. You can check out the work we did along with other groups who volunteered across the nation at our blog: http://muasb.blogspot.com/. I am also leading a weekend trip in the spring with another student.

I discovered this internship with Komen Missouri through a guest speaker at one of my AAF meetings. I was interested in what he did at his internal relations job at a local hospital. After meeting with him, he referred me to Janet at Komen Missouri. I knew of Susan G. Komen through the Race for the Cure in St. Louis and other events they have done in the past. I did some research on Komen Missouri and really connected with their mission. Whether it be a family member or friend or friend of a friend, I believe that everyone is affected by some sort of cancer. I was really inspired Komen’s amazing dedication to finding the cure to breast cancer. Komen Missouri offers many opportunities to receive help for people who at most risk and really need the help.

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Sarah at KSDK NewsChannel 5

My expectations for this internship were pretty broad. I knew it was a small staff with a lot of important things to accomplish, so I figured I would be doing a little bit of everything to help out the staff as much as possible. I was right! Because my internship started after school ended in late May, I was thrown into a very busy time of the year for Komen Missouri. Dine Out for the Cure and the Greater St. Louis Race for the Cure were weeks away, so it was pretty hectic around the office to say the least. I got a little taste of everything and learned a lot about the organization nationally and locally right off the bat. I even participated in one of the phone banks at KSDK promoting the Race for the Cure on my second day on the job.

Although it was a crazy time here at Komen Missouri, I have thoroughly enjoyed every day at the office. The staff here is constantly encouraging each other and staying positive. They are also always willing to help each other out even if it’s technically not their specific job. Everyone here has different personalities and different backgrounds; however, they all come together to work towards the one mission of ending breast cancer forever. This team of amazing women have welcomed me with open arms and have made this internship thus far a great, helpful and hands-on learning experience that I know will help me further my education and career goals.

I can’t wait for what new learning experiences and tasks come next!

 

Meet Our Intern: Claire Salazar

Guest Writer: Claire Salazar, Komen Missouri PR & Marketing Intern

My name is Claire Salazar and I am the new Public Relations Intern at Susan G. Komen Missouri. I am a senior at Lindenwood University, majoring in Advertising and Public Relations: Corporate Communications. I am from Glenside, Pennsylvania, which is right outside of Philadelphia. I decided to go to school in Missouri because I was given an athletic scholarship to play Division II field hockey at Lindenwood University. Being a student athlete has been difficult, but I love the challenge and I love always being busy with schoolwork and my sport.

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Claire Salazar, Komen Missouri’s PR and Marketing Intern

I discovered the Komen Missouri Public Relations Internship while searching online for PR internships in the St. Louis area. With my field hockey career coming to an end, I knew that I wanted to intern with a great company or organization to learn a lot and gain experience, and because I would have a lot more time without field hockey practices and games.

When I came across Komen Missouri’s internship while browsing online, I became very excited about the opportunity to learn while working for such a wonderful organization. Working for an organization whose goal is to end breast cancer forever really hit home for me because my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago and I lost my grandmother to breast cancer many years ago. My mom’s strength throughout her treatments was so inspiring, and I thought that it would be amazing to work for an organization with an amazing mission.

When I met with Janet to talk about Komen Missouri and the internship, I really felt like I could learn many new things about public relations, and everyone working at Komen Missouri seemed wonderful and welcoming. I was very eager to begin this internship in the months leading up to its start.

I have really enjoyed my time at Komen Missouri thus far. Although I have only been interning for about a month, I have learned so many new things about public relations, event planning, and about the Susan G. Komen organization. I love helping out and preparing for the many events that Komen Missouri has had, like Trivia Night. Trivia Night was so much fun preparing for and it was a great event. My friends have been very supportive of my internship with Komen Missouri, and have attended a few events, which has been awesome.

I am really looking forward to the events that Komen Missouri has coming up in the next few months. I love that there is a community of people that are so supportive of the organization and its mission. It is so inspiring to see so many people working hard to end such a horrible disease.

As I am graduating in May, I have been thinking about my future a lot. Right now, I am planning to stay in the St. Louis area for the next few years. I have been applying for jobs and I am also thinking about staying at Lindenwood University for graduate school. My dream job in the future would be to work in public relations for a fashion brand.

The Inter(n)view: Shelby Narike

Guest Writer: Lexie Sprague, Komen St. Louis Public Relations & Marketing Intern

Shelby and Lexie, Susan G. Komen St. Louis Public Relations & Marketing Interns, Summer 2015

Shelby and Lexie, Susan G. Komen St. Louis Public Relations & Marketing Interns, Summer 2015

Meet Shelby Narike. Shelby is a 21-year-old from St. Louis, attending Tulane University as a double major in public relations and English. Although she does not know what she wants to do yet, and does not want to “grow up and graduate and be a real person!” yet, she is enjoying learning everything that fascinates her, and decided to spend the summer before her senior year as a fabulous intern for Susan G. Komen St. Louis. I got a chance to sit down with Shelby and really find out who she is, intern to intern.

I asked Shelby questions both Komen-related and not. I had gotten to know her fairly well through our time together at Komen, but this seemed like the perfect setting to ask her questions that wouldn’t get brought up in day to day conversation. Let’s see what she had to say.

Q: Tell me what brought you to Komen St. Louis.
A: I am a recent breast cancer survivor. I wanted to be part of an organization that fights to end breast cancer, and that is exactly what Susan G. Komen St. Louis does. I wanted to be part of the fight. The Komen public relations and marketing internship is perfect for my PR major, and the organization’s mission is one that I have a newfound passion for. Although I personally beat breast cancer, I wanted to help beat the disease on a larger scale. […] At Komen, breast cancer is not taboo. Komen does everything it can to be a formidable opponent to the disease, and that is what brought me there.

Q: If you could be in any animated movie, which one would it be?
A: I would want to be in Monsters, Inc. because I want to know what Monster Shelby would look like. I’m picturing a tiny, furry, mint green monster who looks cute and innocent…but who gets big and ferocious if need be.

I then found out that Shelby’s friends believe her spirit animal is the white tiger, although she sees her “playful, protective, pack-oriented” self as more of a dog. When she was five, an episode of ‘Madeline’ made her aspire to be a can-can girl; and the combination of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, pie, and family makes her absolutely adore Thanksgiving Dinner. When asked about her guilty pleasure, Shelby explained that she has not one, but three. While the little girl in her loves to color, the old lady in her loves needlepoint, and the classic twenty-one year old in her loves junk food and reality TV. And, if Shelby is running late, she said it is most likely because “one of my four dogs jumped on me with muddy paws and I had to go change my clothes.” Who doesn’t adore an animal lover? Here are a couple more of her responses:

Q: Looking back at your time at Komen St. Louis, what moments stand out?
A: The 17th annual Race for the Cure has been the highlight of this internship for me. I have loved all of my time here, but Race Day stands out in my mind. It was wonderful to see so many people supporting the same cause, on the same mission [to end breast cancer]; however, it was also chilling to see how many people have been affected by breast cancer just in the St. Louis area. I will always remember walking in the Survivors Procession with individuals who share similar stories. Race for the Cure is definitely an event that you need to experience first-hand. It exposed me to another support system that I did not even know I had.

Q: What is an item you have way too many of?
A: Chapstick. I lose chapstick like it’s nobody’s business. I buy the value pack at Sam’s Club. I try to carry one with me at all times and leave the rest on a shelf, but I always end up losing it and grabbing a new one and losing it and grabbing a new one and losing it and grabbing a new one. Then I’ll rediscover lost chapstick in strange places around my house. I’m convinced that I am always within five feet of chapstick at my house; I just have to find it. Those lost chapstick always turn up somewhere, but never when I need them most.

Shelby was so drawn to Komen St. Louis because she knows that not everyone has the same experience with breast cancer that she did. She had “unwavering confidence” in the team of doctors covered by her insurance, but she knows not everyone fighting breast cancer is as fortunate. She loves that it is Komen’s mission to help underinsured individuals receive the breast health care that they need. Everyone involved with Komen, Shelby included, wants to see a world without breast cancer.

So there you have it. Clearly, this twenty-one year-old breast cancer survivor has a whole lot of spunk and personality in her. I think the whole office would agree that Shelby is a joy to be around; her inspiring story and positive demeanor both help to fuel the fight against breast cancer. I’ll leave you today with a couple more fast facts about this Thanksgiving-loving, chapstick-losing Komen intern:

Favorite ice cream flavor: Mint chocolate chip
Netflix Addiction: Criminal Minds, The Office, The Walking Dead, Parks & Recreation, Breaking Bad, Scandal (Apparently she couldn’t pick just one!)
Celeb crushes:
Girl: Cara Delevinge
Guy: Jon Jay… I’m a St. Louis girl, so of course I have a Cardinal crush!
Favorite flower: Orchids or poppies (Take notes, boys!)
Starbucks order:
When it’s cold: tall cappuccinos or flat whites
When it’s hot: venti iced cappuccinos or green tea lemonades
Can’t live without: My family. And popcorn.

Thank you, Shelby!

Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure: An Intern’s Perspective

Guest Writer: Lexie Sprague, Komen St. Louis Public Relations & Marketing Intern

It’s May 18, 2015. I’m walking into the welcoming and friendly and entirely pink office that is going to be my second home for the summer. It is my first day as an intern at Komen St. Louis, so of course I am nervous beyond belief. Janet greets me as I walk in. “Hi, Lexie! It’s good to see you again. Come on back, we’re just having a staff meeting.” Oh no, I thought, a staff meeting? Was I supposed to prepare for this? As if I wasn’t nervous enough.

I walk into the back room to an intimidatingly full table, and then spot some mini donuts in the center of it. Okay, they like donuts, so they can’t be that scary. This might not be so bad. We start with introductions, and a small sense of relief washes over me as I realize I only have to remember six names. Helen, Janet, Bree, Kathy, Sandy, Shelby. I can do that. More relief as I realize how comforting it is to know Shelby is going to be interning with me, so maybe we could have some sort of intern-alliance, or maybe our office can be called Intern-Headquarters, or something fun like that. Helen begins to address us. Ooops, I interrupted my own daydream, better focus. “For the first month of your internship, we are going to be solely focused on Race for the Cure, because June 13th will be here before you know it…”

* * *

Lexie Sprague and Shelby Narike, Komen St. Louis Public Relations & Marketing interns, Summer 2015

Lexie Sprague and Shelby Narike, Komen St. Louis Public Relations & Marketing interns, Summer 2015

Fast forward two weeks, the Race is right around the corner, and the office is in full swing (to say the least). I see so many new faces as our awesome volunteers are in and out of the office all day. Gone were the days where Shelby and I didn’t know how to work the phones, use the copy machine, and hadn’t even heard of “Convio” (the database Komen uses) before.

The phone is ringing. “Komen St. Louis, this is Lexie, how may I help you?” I walk to the back room to try and find the answer to the question this caller has. Wow, so many boxes back here, I think, just in time for me to trip over one. When did that one get there?! I finish up with the phone call, and head back to my desk to return to the stack of registrations I was just entering. Crap, where did the one I was just holding in my hand go? Janet steps out of her office and says to Shelby and me, “We’re leaving for the KSDK window around 9:20! Bring your umbrella — it’s pouring out.” What? It’s already Wednesday again? How many days in a row have I worn this purple committee shirt? Should I wash it? I momentarily flash back to yesterday’s conversation when Shelby and I had asked what time to plan on arriving on Race day. Bree had told us, “well… we’ll get to watch the sunrise together!” What could that possibly mean? Oh shoot, no time to think about that now, there’s the phone again.

* * *

June 13. Helen was right; it got here before we knew it. Why is my alarm clock going off? Am I dreaming? It’s 4:00 am, and I’m rolling out of bed. A college student out of bed before the sun: now that’s a sight to see. My phone lights up indicating a text from Shelby, letting me know she’s here to pick me up. I walk out the front door of my apartment into the pitch black morning (is it morning yet?), my purple committee shirt nicely offset by my pink tutu. Ah, there’s Shelby’s car. We hit the road and my mind slowly becomes less fuzzy with each sip of the life-saving coffee provided by Shelby’s mom. We finally get the car parked and find our purple-shirted bosses, throw some pink chalk in our hair, and it’s go time.

Janet gives us our first task of the morning. Shelby and I are racing around the Race site (on a golf cart!), visiting each sponsor tent to make sure we can get samples of the Sponsors’ Square giveaways over to the KSDK truck for them to talk about on air. After this task was complete, we spent the next hour behind stage checking people in as they arrived for their respective stage assignments, looking around in amazement at the massive amounts of people. I momentarily got lost in my own thoughts. All of these people are here to add ammunition to the battle against breast cancer. How cool is that? Finally, the emcee announced that it was time for the survivor procession to begin.

Lexie and co-intern Shelby pink-ing their hair before dawn on Race day 2015

Lexie and co-intern Shelby pink-ing their hair before dawn on Race day 2015

I knew what the survivor procession would look like. Heck, there are pictures all over the office displaying that exact moment from previous years of the Race. But I quickly found out that I didn’t really know.

Front and center, leading this year’s survivor procession was Helen, our fearless executive director, walking hand in hand with Shelby, my ever-inspiring co-intern. This duo was the embodiment of what it means to say “breast cancer knows no boundaries.”

Following them was an absolute sea of pink. And as I stood there awestruck, I thought, this is them. Standing there watching the procession made me realize that these women, and their families, were exactly who Komen is working for. If the frenzy of work wasn’t put in each and every week, both locally and nationally, it’s a strong possibility that not all of those women would be walking in the 2015 procession. Each one of those ladies, dressed in pink, walking down the street to ‘We Are Family,’ found the strength to say “sorry cancer, you picked the wrong girl.” And having even a small, intern-level role in the lives of these women was more than enough to bring me to tears. That procession was the most moving and powerful moment I have seen in my twenty years.

The rest of the day was just as inspiring. Shelby and I found ourselves at the finish line, keeping track of winners, as well as hanging out with the Cardinals’ Wives to oversee that each breast cancer survivor got the pink rose they deserved upon crossing the finish line. Every second I spent on Race day was more than worth it, and I couldn’t believe when it was over and time to go home. I honestly thought I knew what it would be like to be so closely involved with Race for the Cure. But I realize now that I didn’t know the half of it.

That single morning changed my entire viewpoint of the weeks leading up to the Race. The phone calls we received were no longer just questions needing to be answered; each one was now one more person that was able to have an amazing experience on Race day. The forms all over the office were no longer simply registrations or donations; each one was now helping one more woman in need that will be able to go and get a mammogram. The daily whirlwind of activity around the office was no longer simply a flurry of activity; it was a group of absolutely inspiring individuals doing something about their unrelenting passion to end breast cancer forever.

I still find myself reflecting on the Race today. The day was nothing short of incredible and I know that I will be forever grateful to have had the chance to share it with everyone involved. I wholeheartedly hope it is known that whether you wore a purple committee shirt, blue volunteer shirt, or white participant shirt that day, you gave the survivors in pink the celebration that they deserved, and you are the reason that Komen is one step closer to its vision of a world without breast cancer.

* * *

Lexie is a junior at Washington University in St. Louis majoring in marketing and psychology at the Olin Business School. She is part of the Goldman Fellows Program and is a member of the WUSTL Women’s Soccer team and Pi Beta Phi.

What Komen St. Louis Taught Me

Guest Writer: Jessica Zadoks, Komen St. Louis PR & Marketing Intern

When I started my internship at Komen St. Louis in May, I was hoping to learn a little bit about what it’s like to work for a nonprofit, and how this organization does everything that it does.

As a member of Zeta Tau Alpha at Vanderbilt University, I’ve supported Susan G. Komen as part of our sorority’s philanthropy. I knew that Komen was doing great things, but I had no idea what a large impact this organization has in St. Louis.

Jessica Zadoks, Komen St. Louis' Summer 2013 PR & Marketing Intern

Jessica Zadoks, Komen St. Louis’ Summer 2013 PR & Marketing Intern

So before beginning my internship here, I knew what Susan G. Komen was. I had seen commercials on KSDK for the Race for the Cure. I had seen people with pink ribbon stickers on their cars and pink strips dyed in their hair for breast cancer awareness. But I realized that I really didn’t know exactly what this organization did to fight breast cancer. I was actually kind of shocked to learn how many people are helped by programs and resources that are funded by Komen St. Louis.

And working at the Komen office, I learned just how vital these resources are. When women called needing free mammograms because they were uninsured, or needing assistance during breast cancer treatment, I was able to direct them to the right place.

Also, I learned quickly that it takes a lot of committed people – from volunteers to committee members to board members to everyone who works in the Komen office – to make the large impact that Susan G. Komen has made in the St. Louis area.

Everyone I have met is so dedicated and caring, and I can tell that they genuinely enjoy supporting a cause that is so important and personal to so many.

I was also surprised by how much work really goes into every event, and how much time and talent it takes to make these events a success. I really liked going to the “Show Me St. Louis” window in the weeks leading up to the Race to promote Race registration.

Growing up in the St. Louis area, I had many friends and neighbors that participated in the Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure, but I had never attended myself. This year, I loved being downtown and hearing the inspiring stories of breast cancer survivors. It touched my heart to see how much participating in the event means to them, and how it brings the whole community together. My favorite part of the day was standing at the end of the race course, seeing the survivors and their loved ones’ excitement and pride as they crossed the finish line.

Working here, I have had the opportunity to meet so many great people and learn so much. I’d like to thank everyone for welcoming me as part of the Komen St. Louis team. It has been a wonderful experience and I have learned a lot about a great organization.

While soon I’ll be headed back to school, I definitely won’t forget everything that working here this summer has taught me. I look forward to participating in the Race for the Cure this fall in Nashville, and I will definitely be back next June to race again in St. Louis!