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Internship Stipend Allows Student to Follow His Passion

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Janette Ballard

Article  •
Tom Dattilo

Since high school, Tom Dattilo has dreamed of working in international diplomacy. So when an unpaid internship with global-focused, non-profit WorldDenver became available, it seemed too good to pass up. But he may have passed it up if not for an internship stipend from the Sturm Family Foundation.

"Unpaid internships are understandably difficult to commit to, especially when living in an expensive city like Denver," said Dattilo, a fourth-year International Studies and Spanish major.

"The Sturm Family Foundation provided the opportunity to intern at a phenomenal organization without fretting over living expenses. Simply put, my three-month internship would have been unlikely if I had not received the generous stipend."

This year, the Sturm Family Foundation continued its strong tradition of support for the University of Denver with a significant gift to fund internship stipends for College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CAHSS) students. These stipends enable students to take advantage of opportunities in the public and nonprofit sector and gain valuable professional experience while also enhancing the work of vital agencies and strengthening DU's community partnerships.

Dattilo was one of ten students awarded stipends for 2018, which allowed him to intern this summer at WorldDenver, a non-profit community organization dedicated to advancing a deep understanding of global affairs and cultures.

"The organization engages international, globally-minded professionals throughout the world with their Colorado counterparts, and dialogues are facilitated by WorldDenver to promote sustained communications," he said.

Dattilo worked within the Fee for Service agenda for international visitors where he coordinated professional exchange programs sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and provided organizational support for successful cross-cultural interactions between international guests and their U.S. counterparts.

"The internship helped me to gain insight into one of my potential career paths of U.S. public diplomacy, whether as a bureaucrat or similarly-focused lawyer," said Dattilo. "I have always envisioned a future of embassy or ambassador work. WorldDenver granted me the opportunity to see the inner workings of diplomacy and how all of the moving parts contribute to the smooth functioning of the Department of State."

When he wasn't working at WorldDenver this summer, Dattilo was studying for the Law School Admission Test. He hopes to attend law school and pursue a career in international trade law or immigration law.

Thanks to the Sturm investment, DU is able to deepen its commitment to working with local organizations to boost the number of DU interns and offer valuable experience within cultural, government and social action agencies. The Sturm gift cultivates real-world experience and skills among CAHSS undergraduates, while providing a talented pool of students to support local organizations.

"This gift helps our students build their skills and abilities by applying them in public and nonprofit internships," said Dean Daniel McIntosh. "The generous support from the Sturm Family Foundation enables more students to integrate their on-campus learning with community experience, which adds value to their education and strengthens our contributions to the community."