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#1Day4DU Creates Additional Internship Award


Darby Pappas
Incoming Junior Darby Pappas (’18) was studying for finals at the library when she saw a missed call and a voicemail from a campus extension. On the other end, career advisor Rebecca Damas left Darby a message offering her an internship award that had just been funded through One Day For DU efforts on May 18. Damas says that Pappas, who had “accepted her fate” as an alternate recipient, returned the call within 30 seconds.
Each year the University Career Center gives eight $2,500 awards to students who have accepted unpaid internships. While some DU students’ internships are paid, most students still take unpaid internships knowing that the work experience will generate on average $10,000 more in the starting salary at their first post-graduation job. Unfortunately, many students can’t afford to work unpaid in the industry of their choice, such as government, nonprofit, creative arts or start-ups, where paid internships are rare.  Others accept paid internships that are less connected to their career goals. Every year the candidate pool becomes more competitive. This year, Darby Pappas was the number one alternate, a slot that is rarely offered award money.
Thanks to One Day For DU crowdfunding efforts, 56 donors contributed $3,614 to the Internship, Career and Professional Success Fund, creating an additional internship award made available for this summer.
At previous internships, Pappas was paid. She interned for MMI, an ad agency in Houston, before moving to Denver and last summer she worked for the hotel marketing agency Screen Pilot, where she even negotiated a higher pay rate based on her past experience. But Pappas, a creative and entrepreneurial marketing student, wanted to broaden her experience and find something that sparked her passion.
Her family began visiting Colorado years ago, coming about twice a year for skiing and summer vacation. An avid skier and the Director of Apparel for DU’s Delta Gamma sorority, Pappas took note of Lost Girls Tribe hoodies she noticed skiers wearing this year. She started following the company, a media collective for women in action sports, on Instagram. In March, she reached out to the company via their website. Before long she was Facebook messaging with the founder, which led to a FaceTime interview.
Lost Girls Tribe was not actively recruiting interns, but Pappas made a compelling pitch. She created, designed and proposed her own internship at a company whose work, mission and ethos she finds inspiring—and she landed the job. This summer she’ll be handling social media, building their analytics dashboard, redesigning the website and launching an email marketing campaign.
Natalie Oaks, one of Lost Girls Tribe’s three female founders, was excited to have Pappas joining the team this summer, but wished that they could pay her—a predicament many start-ups face. Pappas, though, is no stranger to hard work. In addition to her leadership role at Delta Gamma (she designs all of the sorority’s graphic assets), she leads Eco-Reps (a group of 10 DU students who train first-year students about the University’s sustainability efforts), and she is a host and the Green Captain at the South Glenn location of Snooze A.M. Eatery (owned by DU alum Jon Schlegel and his brother Adam Schlegel).
Before receiving the award her plan was to devote 20 hours per week to Lost Girls Tribe and another 20 hours at Snooze “to make ends meet.” Pappas was stunned when she got the call from Damas. Now, she says she’ll be able to scale back work at Snooze and focus her efforts on Lost Girls Tribe.
When she learned that the award was funded through One Day For DU giving, Pappas was again in awe. Her response: “In the future, I will donate to this fund. I want to give back in the same way that these donors were able to give to me.”
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