Setting up a formal SLF Internship

I spent some time this morning setting up the start of a formal internship program at the SLF. We have so many people who’ve expressed an interest in working with us and supporting us, and so far, it’s mostly been lack of direction on my part that’s kept them for doing things. So I’m starting today with the interns, and the volunteers, and you should expect to see a lot more along those lines shortly.

For the volunteers, we’re going to organize them into different teams, for the different aspects of the Foundation that they can work on. (If you’re interested in joining the volunteers, send an e-mail to Karen Murphy, our managing director,, subject line: VOLUNTEER.)

The interns, we’ll rotate through the teams, so each team will get a little extra college-energy enthusiasm for a week or two, and by the end of the semester, the interns should have a really good grounding in arts administration, and all the pieces that go into keeping a non-profit up and running.

I’m actually really excited about it — I love working with young people. Long-term, I’m hoping that I can develop this into an arts administration class too, perhaps through the Professional Writing program that the English department at UIC has been developing, or perhaps the Honors College? For that, they wouldn’t just work with the SLF, of course — they’d spend a little time with us, but I’d also be setting up work for them with other local non-profits. Down the line, a few years away, I think. But something to work towards. 🙂

This is part of the e-mail I just sent to the SLF staff, just to give a sense of what kinds of things the students will be doing for our internship — thought it might be of general interest, esp. to other nonprofits.


Week 1: OVERVIEW — Work with Karen and Mary Anne to familiarize themselves with the SLF, its mission and history, and learn about other arts organizations in SF/F.

Week 2 & 3: FINANCES & DEVELOPMENT — Work with Carly and Kirsten to learn more about the SLF’s finances overall, research grants for the SLF to apply for, and brainstorm other options for development, such as fundraising events, approaching local businesses, etc. Interview other nonprofits in the area to learn more about what they do, and bring ideas back to us.

Week 4: GIVING GRANTS: Work with Malon to learn what the grant process looks like, do research on other communities we could do outreach to, to make sure a broad range of potential applicants hear about our grants…


I’m going to be writing out a schedule for the semester that makes clear what kinds of things they’ll be learning each week. The flip side of that, though, is that each team should ideally figure out where a bunch of enthusiastic college kids could be actually helpful to you.

Can I ask you to think about that a little, and then get back to me by the end of the year with a few lines of what they could do for you?

They are generally good at things like:
– researching stuff online
– figuring out new tech tools
– physically doing things (such as hanging up flyers, taking photos at events)

I’ll also inventory their skills, once I have a cohort of students for next semester, and get you that list. I’ve worked with interns in the past (in a less organized manner than this), and I’ve had students who were really good at event planning, and others who were really good at website development, and others with graphic design skills, etc. and so on. So we’ll also try to play to their strengths…


Quick note for UIC and other Chicago area college students — the SLF is forming a formal internship program, to be starting next semester. These are currently unpaid internships (the staff is also mostly unpaid at the moment!), but do come with course credit at UIC if done in conjunction with an internship class in English / LAS (1-3 credits), and we may be able to work something out in exchange with other area schools.

If you’re interested in science fiction and fantasy literature, in arts administration, in event planning, publicity, social media, website resource development, program development, etc., this may be a good fit for you. You’d be working on such elements as the new Chicago chapter, the reading series, the Portolan creative writing educational project, the grants we give out, and general publicity & outreach work for the Foundation.

Interns would need to be able to meet with me, either at UIC on MWF (around my 11 – 2 teaching schedule next semester), or in Oak Park. If interested, comment below, or drop a note to me at, subject line: INTERNSHIP.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *