Meet the staff: summer interns!

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People ask us all the time, “How do you get so much done with a staff of a couple dozen people?” Well… we couldn’t, if we didn’t have the help of our awesome interns! This summer, we have a full crew of ambitious, sharp, fun students and recent graduates on board. We’d love for you to learn more about each of them:

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Lana Warner:

What brought you to NYC for the summer?

I’m here getting my Undergrad in Media, Culture and Communication at NYU. I stayed for the summer to be a Communications and Development Intern at charity: water instead of going back home to the great state of Texas.

Anything surprise you about your internship so far?

I thought I’d be running around and grabbing coffee, filing papers and doing office work, intern-style. But it’s actually way more hands-on and I’m learning so much.

Tell us what you like most about working at charity: water.

Everyone is so inspirational. You walk into the office and you’re a bit intimidated by the staff. But then you find out that they are the most dedicated, down-to-earth people in the world and all you want to do is figure out how you can turn out like them in four years.


Did anyone give you advice about being an intern before you came on?

Dani Labat, the winter/spring Volunteer Intern, turned me towards charity: water. We went over the Meet the Staff section on the blog, then she showed me every charity: water video ever made. I was hooked. I knew the message was clear, the staff was passionate and that the mission was extraordinary. I think reading over the blog was the best prep for the charity: water office atmosphere.

Is there anything you’d improve about that atmosphere?

Sometimes we listen to NPR for eight hours straight. I’m not complaining, but eight hours is a lot of NPR! I love when the staff puts on their own personal music in the office. Unless a live artist wants to donate their time and come in to serenade us each week… now, that would be entertaining.

If you could pick a new country for charity: water to expand to, what would it be?

I’d really love for us to go to Nigeria. I know there’s a lot of conflict and danger there, but I’ve always been drawn to Nigeria and I hope one day I get a chance to do some mission work there of some sort.

What do you do in NYC when you’re not at charity: water?

I work at Amorino, a Gelato shop on University Place and 10th Street — best Gelato in town! And then I work at Palladium the NYU gym. When I’m not working I’m hanging out with friends, reading Harry Potter as I gear up for the last movie or cooking because I love food.

And what’s been your favorite summer event so far in NYC?

I saw Lykke Li in concert and Florence and the Machine in Central Park with my best friends and I loved every second of it. Summer in the city is pretty amazing all by itself, though. Just sitting in the park reading and taking in the sun can make my day.


River Bennett:

What do you do at charity: water?

I’m one of the three Development Interns; aside from doing grant research and occasionally going on little trips to return Scott’s photo equipment, I also connect with donors who sponsor a water project. My other main responsibility is managing tax receipts and making sure that they’re sent to the right places.

Did that turn out to be different than what you thought you’d do at charity: water?

The Development department is very focused on operations fundraising to support charity: water’s 100% model; I was made aware pretty early that it would become my focus as well. Before getting to New York though, charity: water did a good job of telling me what kind of work I’d be doing, so I wasn’t too surprised when I was first assigned my jobs.

What do you do when you’re not at charity: water?

Music is one of the two things I’m studying at college, so being in the city around so many different kinds has really been nice. A lot of the shows I’ve made it to have been free, which has really added to the experience. And I’ve started doing yoga, which has been incredible.

Your favorite show so far?

Mos Def when he headlined the Fort Greene Festival in Brooklyn. I’m a huge Mos fan so getting to see him perform in his hometown for free was pretty unreal.

Tell us your favorite thing about your summer internship.

The office is a really fun place to be. There’s a lot of diversity among the staff in terms of each individual’s personal and professional backgrounds so it’s fascinating to watch people collaborate. For such a hard-working crew, they can also be very laid back, so the office is always a comfortable place to walk into in the morning.

Don’t be afraid to provide input…
The staff are constantly teaching and learning from each other so get yourself involved in a conversation when you can.

And how did you gear up to start working at charity: water?

I actually discovered the blog post that featured the spring interns. While I felt prepared for the work that I was about to start, it was nice reading what previous interns had to say about their responsibilities and feelings about charity: water.

What other non-profit organization would you like charity: water to work with, if you could pick any?

Since the beginning of college, I’ve been involved with a group called Global Brigades, an international organization that works with university students on development projects in Honduras, Panama and Ghana. One of their sub-groups focuses on water programs (Global Water Brigades). I think it would be amazing to see charity: water and GWB partner up!

Any advice for future charity: water interns?

Don’t be afraid to provide input. It’s easy to feel like there’s so much going on around the office, especially when a major project is on the table; that every little detail and thought has already been planned out. But the staff are constantly teaching and learning from one other so get yourself involved in a conversation when you can.


Sora Shin:

What brought you to charity: water?

My summer was pretty much set for a trip to Uganda. But as I started receiving emails for interviews, I pushed back buying my airplane ticket to Africa and soon I was booking a ticket for New York to work for charity: water.

What do you do here?

I’m on the Development team. Most of my time consists of managing our matching gifts program.

And when you’re not here?

Eating. To offset all the guilty eating I’ve been doing thus far in NYC, I signed up for kickboxing and Jazzercise classes that I try to go to after work and during the weekends.

Favorite part your internship so far?

Being able to say that I work for charity: water. I absolutely love sharing the story of charity: water when asked what I do in NYC and I cherish every second of being a part of the organization.

Anything you’d improve in our office?

Bring in a stove! If I could get some fire in this office, I’d be cooking for everyone!

Anything surprise you about charity: water once you started working here?

Children! It amazes me how little kids who should be running around and fighting over toys are so conscientious of the water crisis. The check charity: water received written in Magic Marker, Nathan’s charity: water-themed Google Doodle, Riley who ate rice and beans for a month to raise money — if these kids, some under ten years old, can do this now, imagine what they can do when they’re adults!

What’s been your favorite part of your NYC summer so far?

Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks. How do they make smiley face and planet-shaped fireworks? Regardless, it was definitely worth the four hours we stood waiting and looking over the Hudson River.

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Jenna-Marie Lupinacci:

How’d you hear about charity: water?

I found out about charity: water while watching ABC’s 20/20 episode on global health. Then I visited the website where I found this internship opportunity.

Tell us what you spend most of your time on here.

As a Water Programs Intern, I assemble the water project completion reports to send to donors. I also help place information about water projects onto Google Maps in order for our donors to see their finished projects. In general, I help the Water Programs team with anything they need.

What’s your favorite part of the job?

I really enjoy putting donor completion reports together. It’s very exciting to see exactly where the donor’s money has gone and the people whom the project is serving.

And outside the job — anything you’re looking forward to doing during your NYC summer?

Going wine tasting at XAI XAI, a South African wine bar! I’m looking forward to hopefully finding some of the wines I had while I was studying abroad in South Africa.

When you started working at charity: water, did anything surprise you?

How much work goes into assembling donor reports. There are many different steps that must be followed in order for donor reports to reflect accurate information and look nice, too.


Is there a country you would like to see charity: water expand our work to?

I would love for charity: water to work in Burundi. When I was in South Africa, I volunteered at a refugee center. Many refugees we served were from Burundi, which is among the ten poorest countries in the world. charity: water currently has projects in all of Burundi’s bordering countries and I would love to see Burundi benefit from the great work that charity: water and its implementing partners do!

Anne Kim:

What brought you to NYC in the first place?

I came from sunny sunny California to go to NYU.

What do you do at charity: water?

As Communications Intern, I do general PR stuff like write press releases, compile media lists, update the status report with all the online traffic on charity: water or Scott Harrison, do some general research and some other little stuff here and there.


What are you up to when you’re not at charity: water?

I’m working at Amorino, a gelato shop on University Place [along with Lana]. And when I’m not working, I’m at school, taking a couple of summer classes. When I have some free time, I like going out to interesting restaurants, cooking and bike riding with my friends! I’ve also been trying to lighten my hair so my roommate and I have been looking up bizarre home hair lightening techniques and trying them out. Even though nothing’s worked so far (chamomile tea, lemons), it’s been pretty hilarious trying it out. Next week, it’s a honey mixture!

What do you like about working at charity: water so far?

My favorite thing is the people at charity: water; everyone who works here is so genuinely nice! Oh, and who doesn’t love beer and pizza Fridays?

Your favorite summer event so far in NYC?

My favorite event was the Governor’s Island Polo Match! My friends and I packed a lovely picnic and waited in line for 1.5 hours to get to the island. Once we got to there, we promptly devoured our scrumptious meal, watched a few minutes of the match, figured out that polo wasn’t our thing and went bike riding around the island for two hours. I was the only one who knew how to ride a bike so it was a slow start, but by the end we were all zooming around the island, and almost ran over a few pedestrians (I swear it wasn’t our fault!).


Deanna D’Onofrio:

What do you do at charity: water?

As a Water Programs Intern, I handle information coming from our implementing partners in the field and compile their data into reports for the project sponsors. I also upload incoming photos to Google Maps so that sponsors can type in their GPS locations and find their specific project site, complete with a beautiful image from the field.

Your favorite part of the whole process?

The last phase: mailing out a batch of donor reports! It’s a great feeling to have accomplished a task that involves so many specific steps. To have everything organized, completed and then sent out of the office to the donors to enjoy is amazing.

When you’re not working, you’re…

Either commuting back to Westchester or staying with my fantastic friends who live in the city. We love going out Friday nights, grabbing some fruit gelato at GROM in Columbus Circle, and then spending time in Central Park.

Are there any summer events you’re anticipating here in NYC?

I look forward to the San Gennaro festival in Littly Italy during September. I love the sausage and pepper subs and, as terrible as they are, the fried oreos!

Anything surprise you or stand out to you once you started working here?

The fact that 100% — not 96% or 99% — but 100% of donations go strictly to water systems in the field. charity: water makes this promise and truly abides by it.


Any place you wish charity: water worked? Why?

I recently read Paradise Beneath Her Feet by Dr. Isobel Coleman, which is about Islamic feminism and women’s advancement in the Middle East. I’d like charity: water to work in the Middle East, possibly rural areas within Pakistan or Iran.

Advice for future Water Programs Interns?

Stay organized with incoming data from the field. There’s a ton of info consistently streaming in from various countries; GPS coordinates, populations, village names, photos, donor info and more. Familiarize yourself with Excel and Numbers because you will be working closely with the two!

Taylor Duffy:

What brought you to charity: water?

I saw’s profile on charity: water in 2007 (back when the name was just “charity:”) and was really taken by the honest, elegant simplicity of their campaign. After that, I actively followed charity: water — during the last September Campaign, I even skipped a class to watch the Live Drill (don’t tell anybody)! So, when I saw the job listing on the website for the role of Happiness Intern, I immediately applied!


What do you do at charity: water?

A lot of administrative tasks around the office: If you’ve emailed or called into the office, we may have spoken! I talk to our individual fundraisers, offer ideas or answer questions and help run our monthly Volunteer Night. I’m also working on the upcoming Dollars to Projects, which has been fantastic and very exciting to be a part of.

Did that turn out to be different than what you thought you’d do at charity: water?

Before I came here, I wasn’t entirely sure of what a Happiness Intern would do (I’m one of the first!), so I didn’t really have an idea of what to expect. But it’s proven to be the most amazing, rewarding experience!

How has it been rewarding?

My day is filled with phone calls and emails from people who not only want to help us end the water crisis, but who also want to give up their birthdays, honor the memory of a loved one, rally their community and lead countless other causes. I’ve always known I wanted to go into non-profit work, but to have the chance to interact with such caring and socially-conscious group of people and to be able to help them reach their goals… it just goes beyond words.

What do you do in NYC when you’re not working at charity: water?

I have my own radio show at my college station and I love live music, so I spend most of my free time going to concerts! I saw Kanye West perform at MoMA, which I still can’t get over…

Anything stand out to you once you started working here?

For starters, the office is absolutely beautiful! But what really struck me is how involved and active everyone is. It’s immediately apparent that everyone’s working together towards a common goal. It’s a small staff but everyone plays a big part.

Anything you’d change about the charity: water office?

There’s been a rumor going around about the possibility of an office dog…

What other non-profit organization would you like charity: water to work with, if you could pick any?

I love language and I think what the Rosetta Project is doing is absolutely brilliant. charity: water interacts with so many different groups of people around the world, and the Rosetta Project is doing an extraordinary job of documenting and preserving languages, often in areas where we work. Both organizations are making huge strides in bettering our planet, and though the goals are not necessarily directly related, I like to think there’s a common element, as both water and language are basic human rights.


What country do you wish charity: water worked in?

Without a doubt, Timor-Leste. I represented East Timor for a Model UN conference in high school and was lucky enough to meet the actual ambassador. When I asked him what aspect of his country he was most proud of, he responded, “We are a very, very happy people. We are not rich, nor are we powerful, but we are happy and we love life.” Now, they’re facing a dire shortage of water and are in desperate need of help.

Ariana Kripalani:

How’d you land this internship?

This summer, I was actually supposed to be in Jordan studying resource conflicts between local populations. Considering the recent revolutions in the region, I had to postpone. But once I found out that there was an internship available with charity: water, I was thrilled, to say the least. There may have even been some jumping up and down involved when I found out I got it.


What do you do at charity: water?

I’m a Happiness Intern; I do realize that the title sounds like my job is to provide therapy or dress like a clown and entertain people. That’s not it, exactly. Happiness Interns have a great deal of contact with donors and wonderful volunteers and we coordinate the office’s bagel breakfast on Mondays and Beer + Pizza on Fridays.

While there is an administrative side to the internship (answering phones, writing emails, organizing appointments, etc.), the great thing about working at charity: water is that it is an all-hands-on-deck type of atmosphere. I have helped test upcoming water project development with our amazing Water Programs staff, set up events and learned about donor policies and the internal logistics of our organization as a whole. Even as an intern, nothing is really off limits.

Anything surprise you about working here?

This may sound cliche, but the people I work with — that sincerely stood out to me at charity: water. I realized before I came on that, especially because this was an NGO, generally everyone would be passionate about the water crisis. I was amazed by not only the staff’s level of passion, but also how incredibly warm and intelligent everyone was. That was just a nice bonus.

What’s your favorite thing about working at charity: water so far?

I am never bored. No day at charity: water is exactly the same. And even when you’ve been going through Excel sheet after Excel sheet of data and forget, for a second or two, about the very real work we are doing which dramatically affects people all around the world, you’ll get a letter written in orange crayon from a first grader in Kentucky who wants to sacrifice his $5 allowance so that he can help a child in Sierra Leone get water. Its an incredible snap back into reality.

Did you get advice from anyone else before coming on as an intern?

The best advice I got was, ironically, from my mother who told me that if I really wanted the job, I should go down to SoHo and hand in my resume in person. I got an interview the next day!

What takes your time outside of work?

About 90% of those hours outside the charity: water office are stolen by Columbia University. As soon as I leave charity: water, I have class from 6-10 p.m., and then I scramble to get home and crawl into bed. In the time I’m not working, in class, or sleeping? Well, I’ll let you know when that time comes.

Do you have a favorite summer event so far in NYC?

As amazing as summer NYC events are, after gay marriage was legalized in New York, I don’t think anything has compared to the overall enthusiasm and intensity of this year’s Gay Pride Parade. Sheer exuberance associated with the long-awaited sense of equality radiated down 5th Avenue, not to mention the fabulous feathers and glitter. I’m down for costumes like that any day.

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Even when you’ve been going through Excel sheet after Excel sheet of data and forget, for a second or two, about the very real work we are doing… you’ll get a letter written in orange crayon from a first grader in Kentucky who wants to sacrifice his $5 allowance so that he can help a child in Sierra Leone get water. Its an incredible snap back into reality.

What country do you wish charity: water worked in?

Somalia; the United Nations has confirmed that the Horn of Africa emergency is the worst humanitarian crisis in the world right now. Unfortunately, considering the current governing body in Somalia (al-Shabab, called a terrorist organization by the U.S. and much of the Western world) for the last several years, the country made its borders nearly impervious to external aid organizations. Those who choose to go in against the wishes of al-Shabab have become vulnerable to kidnapping and ransom. I understand that the tremendous liability makes it nearly impossible for charity: water to work in Somalia; nevertheless, I sincerely hope someday we’re able to.

Radhika Unnikrishnan:

Tell us why you’re in NYC and what brought you to charity: water.

I’m a current graduate student at Pratt [Institute], getting my Masters in Communications Design. This led me to move to New York in the fall of 2010. As a Design Intern at charity: water this summer, I work on creative tasks ranging from updating promotional materials to other print-related pieces for charity: water.


Is that any different than what you thought you’d be doing at charity: water?

Yes, because alongside helping out with all kinds of projects on the creative front, I am personally gaining insight on the intricacies of charity: water’s framework and how a successful non-profit functions.

What do you like to do around the city when you’re not at the charity: water office?

Going to shows and concerts and having free time has been wonderful. I’ve been reading, exploring and trying to continually feel mesmerized by what the city has to offer.

You’ve only been on a few weeks, but share something you’ve enjoyed about being an intern so far.

Being able to advocate for a cause I believe in is very fulfilling — and the people here aren’t half bad!

Anything surprise you or stand out to you once you started working here?

How close the staff and interns are; it’s great to see how collaborative charity: water’s atmosphere is.

One thing you could change about charity: water or the charity: water office?

So far so good. In the brief time I’ve been here I am continually pleasantly surprised.

Noriella Santos:

Why are you in NYC and what do you do at charity: water?

I was born and raised in NYC and cannot seem to get enough of it. As Volunteer Intern, 

I try to make sure that all charity: water volunteers have a terrific experience. I try to create a comfortable atmosphere for the volunteers and ensure they’re receiving all the information they need. 

And when you’re not working?

I like to hang out with friends, work out and spend time with my family.


How’d you hear about us?

Through one of my best friends. He donates to charity: water and loves to talk about all that has been accomplished in five short years. He knew a lot of staff members at charity: water, so he was able to give me some idea about the work environment.

Anything stand out to you once you started working here?

One thing that surprised me — charity: water doesn’t have a water filter in the office. It made me appreciate our tap water quality as it is and reminded me how fortunate I am to have easy access to clean water.

Your favorite thing about working at charity: water so far? 

I absolutely love that I am able to see the amazing changes that are taking place in developing nations. It demonstrates how everyone’s work in the office matters, and even though I am not physically in the field helping build wells, I can still see the impact that we make as a team in the office.  

What else are you looking forward to this summer?

Going on a trip with friends and family to Mountain Creek Water Park!

If you could pair charity: water up with any other organization, which one would you choose?

I would like charity: water to work with a non-profit organization called Health and Humanitarian Aid Foundation (HHAF). Their mission is to provide sustainable medical and humanitarian aid to citizens living in Ghana whose lives have been tragically affected by famine, poverty and disaster by war.  

Want to join the team? We’re looking for fall interns right now! See our openings here >

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