The 2023 IUPUI Nonprofit Expo will be in person on Wednesday, March 22 from 1-4 p.m. in the IUPUI Campus Center. Students and employers can register to attend via Handshake.
Quinlin Malloy helps kids connect with nature.
“I’ve always been pretty environmentally conscious,” she admits.
As a part-time program leader for the nonprofit Camptown, Malloy takes young people in Indianapolis on outdoor experiences, from fishing and hiking to learning about waste and recycling.
Malloy is a Sustainable Management and Policy major at O’Neill IUPUI. She’s been with Camptown for nearly a year after first learning about the organization at the 2021 IUPUI Nonprofit Expo.
At the time, Malloy wasn’t sure what she was looking for and had never been to an internship or job fair. So, she started scrolling through the list of employers attending the Expo. There were well-known names on the list, but there were also some she had never heard of, including Camptown.
IUPUI’s Nonprofit Expo serves as an annual bridge between students and nonprofit, government, and community organizations.
“This isn’t a standard career fair,” explains Kerry Lay, an O’Neill School career advisor. “It allows students who are interested in working in the nonprofit or public sectors to connect with dozens of organizations in one place at one time.”
Those organizations have openings for internships, volunteer positions, and even full- and part-time jobs.
“These fairs allow you to learn about the organizations ahead of time and talk with potential employers before applying for an internship or a job,” Malloy adds. “You get to know them first, which is a much better approach than just applying and hoping to find a good fit.”
Malloy signed up to meet with two or three organizations at the Expo in hopes of learning more about their missions and available opportunities. Camptown made her list.
“Their concept was exactly what I was looking for: getting kids outside to learn in nature,” she recalls. “They’re giving them opportunities they’ve never had before and opening up a new world to them.”
After talking with Camptown leaders about the organization and her interests, she applied and was selected for an internship. She started in late spring and worked through summer and fall of 2021, helping project leaders with educational programs and collecting data on participants.
There was hiking, fishing, canoeing, and leadership training during their camps.
Malloy says she saw a lot of program participants flourish over the summer.
“They would tell us they were proud of what they had done,” she says with a smile. “That’s one of the best parts. It’s really heartwarming to hear them be positive about themselves and what they’ve accomplished.”
The kids weren’t the only ones learning new things, though. Malloy admits she had never worked with children prior to her internship. She says that responsibility helped her grow and take on new challenges.
Camptown had taken note. The organization was starting a new afterschool program and needed more staff. Malloy was in the right place at the right time, and in January, they offered her a part-time job and told her she could move full time in the summer.
“I am guaranteed a job out of college,” she says. “That’s not something a lot of students can say before they graduate.”
In her new role, she’s already putting her O’Neill skills to use. The team recently started talking about environmental justice—Malloy was poised to help.
“I’m in an environmental justice class right now,” she says. “Because of that class, I’m able to educate others on what environmental justice means and help them figure out how to incorporate this big, heavy concept into something kids can understand.”
Her experiences have built one upon the other to lead her to this moment.
Her O’Neill courses gave her the educational foundation she needed in sustainability and justice. The Nonprofit Expo gave her the opportunity to find organizations that aligned with her goals. And Camptown gave her experience in putting her classroom learnings to work in a real-world setting.
“I’m helping people who don’t often think about sustainability to actually consider why it is important and how they can benefit from it,” she says. “I may not know yet what my future career looks like, but sustainability is such a wide term that I have a lot of options for what I can do down the road—and that all started at O’Neill.”