Executive Intern Program develops Elon student leaders

Applications are due March 31 for next year’s group of top students who will work closely with Elon leaders in a variety of roles.


A new program started this year brings top student leaders into daily contact with the highest levels of the Elon administration.

Inspired by a similar program at Bucknell University, the Executive Intern Program at Elon University (www.elon.edu/executiveintern) allows selected students to work with mentors from the university senior staff, further develop leadership skills, learn more about higher education administration/senior organizational management, and work on projects developed by senior staff members.

Students attend orientation and introductory sessions during fall semester, shadow their mentors and complete projects in Winter Term, and in the spring conclude the program through reflection and presenting projects to appropriate university personnel.

The inaugural interns – seniors Evan Glover and Nicole Morillo, and junior Darien Flowers – were selected based on their record of achievement both in and out of the classroom.

Flowers, a political science major from Columbus, Ohio, is a graduate of the Wellington School in the Buckeye State. He was this spring elected president of the university’s Student Government Association, and he is active with Model UN, the North Carolina Student Legislature and Pi Kappa Phi.

Glover, a finance major involved with the Alpha Phi Alpha Inc. fraternity and the Student Government Association, among many other commitments, is an alumnus of St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C.

Morillo, an international studies and Spanish double major who comes to Elon from Queens, N.Y., is an graduate of Forest Hills High School. She works with the Office of Admissions and Residence Life, and she is a member of the Latin American Student Organization.

Applications are now being accepted for the 2012-13 internships, of which the Office of the President will select up to eight. Applications can be accessed on the program’s website.

The current executive interns answered questions recently from the Office of University Communications about their experiences and what they’ve gained from the program.

How did you first hear of the Elon Executive Internship Program, and what led you to apply?

FLOWERS: This all stemmed from conversation I had with my father who is a trustee at Bucknell. Bucknell has a similar program where students work with the senior staff for a year on various long-range and special projects. This idea of embedding students with the senior staff screamed “Elon” to me. I asked Dr. Leo Lambert if he and I could meet, and when I did, I gave him some general information that I had pulled from schools that have similar programs. He took the information and presented it to senior staff, and that got the ball rolling.

MORILLO: I received an email by Lisa Keegan in which she mentioned that my name had been recommended for a new pilot program. Since I am interested in higher education I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity and I proceeded with the application.

GLOVER: I was informed of the opportunity through Ms. Lisa Keegan, the chief of staff for President Lambert. After learning more about the program, I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn more about a potential career field. More specifically, it provided an excellent opportunity to learn more about development and fundraising, a field that has peaked my interest for several years.

Describe your job responsibilities for readers…

FLOWERS: My main responsibilities were to essentially create the Executive Intern Program. I had to think of both curricular content and how this program would connect to Elon’s commitment to experiential education as well as the logistical aspects of the program such as the application process and potential projects interns could work on with their senior staff mentor.

GLOVER: As an Executive Intern through the University Advancement office, I am responsible for: contacting alumni to determine how the university can best engage them; learning more about the functions of the University Advancement team, and develop a tool that could help our traveling advancement officers connect alumni to the current campus.

MORILLO: I worked with Dr. Brooke Barnett analyzing community feedback regarding different aspects of campus. I also hosted three focus groups, two of which were with students, and one with faculty and staff. I ended with a research component of different diversity initiatives in other institutions.

Can you share some of what you’ve learned so far about yourself or the university in your new role?

MORILLO: Throughout the internship, I learned how complex the university structure is. I also learned that the more I learned about said complexity, the more I could see myself there professionally. Most people in higher education come from different walks of life and yet they have all worked for the good of the campus community. In terms of what I learned about myself, I learned that being multifaceted and interested in a variety of different things is not necessarily a bad thing, and can really serve to my advantage once I pursue a career in higher education.

FLOWERS: The university is incredibly strategic in its decision-making process, nothing goes without discussion at the senior staff level, and the job of a university administrator is generally thankless and selfless. The majority of decisions made by the senior staff have the opportunity to be criticized, and if they are praised, it is often the senior staff that deflects credit of a university success to another group.

The biggest thing that I have learned was how large the University Advancement office is and how broad its influence is across the university’s functions. Additionally, I learned about the various aspects of fundraising and that this is a field that interests me as a possible career path. Not a day goes by that I do not learn something new about the university and how it functions.

Is there one moment that stands out above all others as you reflect on your internship? What would it be?

GLOVER: The moment that stands out to me the most about this experience is the upcoming trip to Atlanta. The two other interns and I will be traveling to Atlanta with President Lambert to attend an Alumni event. At this event, I will have the opportunity to make a presentation to the group about the current student experience and how we have benefited from their contributions to the University.

MORILLO: There is not one specific experience that stands out to me but rather a myriad of moments during which we met each member of senior staff and I realized more and more how much I loved higher education.

FLOWERS: I would say the first time I got to see Dr. Lambert’s weekly calendar. I did not realize how being the president of university is truly a 24/7 job and that at any given time he has 100 different things going on at once. It gave me a new appreciation for all he does to make Elon an amazing place and how he truly put every second of his day towards our success.

What has surprised you the most in your role and how do you think the experience will change you?

GLOVER: Every day I have learned something new about the university and how it functions. I will say that I was most surprised to learn that the tuition that students pay each year does not cover the entire academic year. It is through the donations of alumni and friends of the university, in addition to tuition, that we are able to enjoy a full academic year here at Elon. This new knowledge has instilled in me the value of being an active alumnus who invests both time and money to ensure that those students that follow me enjoy the luxuries that Elon was able to give me.

MORILLO: I was most surprised about how hard it was to partially be a “staff” member and yet still a student. At times that was challenging, but it also served to show me that I was capable of operating in different worlds, which is certainly a skill I can apply to any profession I choose to undertake.

FLOWERS: I was surprised the most by the varying styles of leadership displayed on the senior staff, but I was even more surprised by how this group of very different people mesh perfectly together and have the ideal leadership style for their respective area of responsibility. I think this will change me in the sense that one day when I am in a position of leadership I hope to assemble a team very similar to the senior staff to support me because I know that a group like that is one that will deliver amazing results.