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Meet CASE Interns Shyla Harton and Deja Brooks

Shyla Harton (left) and Deja Brooks (right) pose for a photo at the UK Alumni Association 2021 Summer Workshop.

The University of Kentucky Office of Philanthropy and Alumni Relations partnered with the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) to host two students, or recently graduated students, this summer through an on-campus internship. The CASE Advancement Internship program offered an opportunity for interns to work with professionals behind the scenes of philanthropy, alumni relations and communications. Shyla Harton and Deja Brooks participated in the eight-week program and took a moment to reflect on their experience.

Shyla Harton

“Hello everyone! My name is Shyla Harton and I recently graduated from the University of Kentucky in May 2021. In the fall, I will be attending Washington University in St. Louis for my master’s degree in social work focusing on social entrepreneurship.

 When I first heard about the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) internship, I was confused about what advancement was and how it helps the UK community. Once I researched and realized advancement deals with scholarships, I had to apply. I am a recipient of the William C. Parker Scholarship and would not have attended the University of Kentucky without the support of this scholarship. I wanted to pay it forward for students like me who were experiencing financial burdens.

With only one week left, I am sad to see the internship end. I was able to learn so much about my alma mater from the UK Alumni Association staff.  Learning the rich history of the university was certainly the highlight of the internship.

I love to know what happened before me so I can make changes after me. The 2021 Summer Workshop hosted by the UK Alumni Association was another highlight of the internship. I was able to jump headfirst into advancement by helping with fundraising and event planning. At Summer Workshop, I was able to meet notable alumni from all over the country. It was great hearing about alumni careers and experiences, and motivated me to do my best once I step into the workforce.

I am a big fan of the James W. Stuckert Career Center on campus and I used it often during undergrad. Meeting Jim Stuckert and thanking him personally for his generosity put advancement in a different perspective for me. I was able to express my appreciation and I can tell that it made him feel great to see how important his donation was.

I enjoyed the advancement internship, but eight weeks only scratched the surface. I plan on taking philanthropy courses this fall and hope to volunteer within the athletic advancement office at Washington University in St. Louis. I loved the experience I’ve gained and can’t wait to see how advancement plays into my career.”

Deja Brooks

“I want to thank the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) for allowing the University of Kentucky to host this internship for the first time ever! As this internship only lasts eight weeks, I have had the opportunity to network and meet many individuals from all over the globe. CASE interns at universities across the country were assigned different projects pertaining to alumni relations, donations, giving, communications and fundraising from their host institution. Being able to see the work behind the scenes has been worthwhile and only made me appreciate campus even more. In the first week, I had learned three weeks worth of information pertaining to fundraising, the importance of mail, data segmentation, donations and how to plan events.

The 2021 Summer Workshop hosted by the UK Alumni Association was a major highlight of my internship. At this event I had the honor to meet club members, volunteers and board members to discuss their plans for the upcoming fiscal year. Throughout the three-day workshop, I gained a better grasp on the importance of an engaged alumni community as well as the importance of networking. At this event I met many UK alumni — some who have become successful doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs and more.

I am excited to complete our assigned project which is to expand the UK Lyman T. Johnson (LTJ) African-American Alumni Group and form lasting donor-recipient connections. In completing this project, the UK Alumni Association and UK Office of Philanthropy will share these ideas to the president of the LTJ African-American Alumni Group for review.  I am very grateful for this opportunity to help create change on campus since not many people, especially minorities, know of this group or the availability of the LTJ Constituent Scholarship Fund. This opportunity has helped me gain a new perspective of campus as I was never aware of how much the school fundraises for the university and how often donors provide students with opportunities and amenities to better enhance our experience. I am so happy to have met such wonderful people and work with such an amazing staff. As I approach graduation, I am lucky to have already received an exclusive glance on how my future impacts humanity.”

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