My Internship Experience at Finemind

By Emily Souter


If someone had told me back in August 2020 I would be interning for a non profit organization that worked with community mental health in Uganda, I would have been very confused. Especially when it came to doing grant work and finding funders, this was something I had no experience in and did not even have an idea how it was done. Back in August I was interning for a private practice for psychology credit, struggling to find another internship to determine if I could double major in both psychology and human services. My college had told me no and that it was not possible, but I wanted it. It took me mentioning it in a meeting to my internship supervisor at the time who also happens to be one of Pavel’s board members, that I needed another internship. Right then and there, Pavel said that he would take me onto his team and allow me to intern under grant writing. I had zero experience and barely any qualifying credentials, but Pavel took me under his wing and taught me and I could not be more grateful. 


My experience working at Finemind has been something I never thought it would be. It was more than grant writing. I attend a small liberal arts college in Newburgh, New York. I would never have had the experience to talk to organizations from countries like Uganda, Kenya, and so many more. It is just something that my school would have never given me the opportunity to do if it wasn't for Pavel giving me the opportunity. Meeting so many new people and learning their background was my favorite part of the internship 100%. As Pavel described it to me, grant work is not the “sexy” part of working with nonprofits. It is many hours of searching and finding dead ends. Something I was not used to. Having to do your best work possible just to be told that they couldn't fund you, or just not answer at all was frustrating and tedious, and sometimes I did not want to do it. It got easier to learn how to find proper grants with help and many questions. But the experience as a whole made up for the hard times. Learning a valuable skill that can help me throughout my entire career and into my next step of graduate school is not something I take for granted. I have nothing but great things to say about Finemind and Pavel. 


It wasn't just to work that made it great, but it was times that I felt like I could relate to the work and could openly share with Pavel. Hearing so many stories of people's journeys with mental health and life in Uganda. My experience at Finemind is something that I will hold dearly with me. I can not wait to watch Finemind grow more and more. I am so thankful for the opportunity to have interned for Finemind. Working here has sparked me to want to do so much more and that is something that the word thank you could ever be enough for.