Fall 2022 Internship Blog Series #1: Megan Hoffines ’23

In addition to academic year programming, the Lutheran Center supports summer student internship experiences with various partner organizations. In summer 2022 the Center sponsored five summer interns, and we will be sharing reflections from them on our blog. Our first intern feature is Megan Hoffhines ‘23, who served as a Development Intern with PROP (People Reaching Out to People) food shelf, an organization based in Eden Prairie that works to meet the basic needs of the people they serve as well as provide skills to set clients on a path toward greater self-sufficiency. Lutheran Center staff member Kate Kvasnak sat down with Megan to learn more about her internship experience this summer. You can also read about Megan’s impact on PROP’s blog

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? What year are you at St. Olaf, what’s your major, what are you involved in on campus, etc.? 

I’m an incoming senior this year. I’m a social work and music major, more focused on social work profession-wise right now, but love playing music with all my ensembles and sectionmates on campus. I also work for Broadcast Media Services, recording and broadcasting things from lectures to concerts. This summer I wanted to get a taste of social work through client interaction and learn more about case management, about actually being a part of a community effort, and get a sense of what I really want to do in the future.

How did you learn about PROP? What drew you to the internship initially? What were you most excited about going into it?

I got an email from the Lutheran Center; I had been applying to a bunch of things, and I had done some interviews already. This opportunity came up and looked like it would be right up my alley, so I applied and I got an interview. I thought, “Wow, that kind of worked out!” It’s great how St. Olaf directly gives students so many opportunities, particularly through internships.

What have been some of your responsibilities as an intern? Have they changed over the course of your internship? Did you have a favorite project or responsibility and why?

I was a developmental intern, so I worked on a lot of really cool things. I helped make a newsletter and wrote some articles for them. One of the biggest highlights for me was joining the PROP team at a time when they were in need of a person to answer preliminary calls for a lot of their clients. I was able to do case management calls. I got to do the first calls with clients to find out what they need and whether PROP can connect them to case managers and point them towards the right resources. It was great to fill that need and get the kind of experience I was looking for at the same time; it’s just been really cool to get a taste of real-life Social Work. 

What is one thing you learned about community development that will stick with you?

I’ve learned a lot about PROP’s client base and how they build a relationship with their clients. PROP’s approach is typically to start clients out with food bank services and then introduce them to other things they may need, like rent assistance or car repair assistance, so that’s been cool to see how those relationships develop. For me personally, it’s been really nice to see how their organization works together as a team. Over the summer the team sometimes met virtually for lunch and it was really nice to be able to see these people in a context that wasn’t for work. The connections they had outside of just “office work” were genuine, and everyone was so welcoming and helpful to me the whole summer.

The Lutheran Center mission is: to bring together people of different faiths and worldviews to enrich spiritual inquiry, foster love of neighbor, and deepen a sense of vocation in all. How do you see your internship experience relating to the Center’s mission?

As far as working with people with different backgrounds, I think this internship has given me opportunities to talk to people on both sides of the equation. I have interacted with the people who donate and learned more about what makes them want to give support to this cause. I also was able to work with those who benefit from the services PROP provides. I’ve had tougher conversations, like a few clients who say things like, “You’re a part of this organization and you’re not doing anything.” They challenge me, and I’m like “Ok, what do we need to do? I’ll hear you out.” It’s a valuable experience for me to see each person regardless of their circumstance. They deserve to be heard. I hear them, and I can try to empathize with them.

See Megan’s full interview: