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Deja Jenkins, in Studio Theatre, with walls from the set of the play she wrote, "Matter of Life and Maybe death."


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Galesburg, IL 61401



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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Deja Jenkins '19

Chicago, Illinois

Major in Creative Writing, Minor in Psychology

Deja, a Mellon Fellow, has been hired to intern with NAEIR, a nonprofit based in Galesburg.

Deja Jenkins, in Studio Theatre, with walls from the set of the play she wrote, "Matter of Life and Maybe death."

What are you doing as a Mellon Fellow?

I've been hired to intern with NAEIR, a nonprofit based in Galesburg, Illinois. I'm serving as the Social Media/Marketing Intern for them, a distributor of discounted supplies for teachers, churches, and other nonprofits. I also assist with fact checking and data entry as new members join and must be added to the system. I became interested in this internship because I love nonprofit work. I believe everyone deserves equal opportunities and assistance if socially disadvantaged. I found NAEIR by researching nonprofits in the Galesburg area, and thought it was great that they provide so much for other nonprofit organizations.

How has your Mellon Fellowship influenced your future plans?

I'm still exploring my career options, and this internship is allowing me to explore my interest in communications, marketing, and nonprofit work. The company largely relies on donations and grants, which I hope to get better at writing and obtaining as I hone and develop my communications skills. I'm already familiar with social media, and I consider writing and communicating in general to be my strong suits, so this seemed like an ideal fit for me. I look forward to working with them beyond just this summer and learning more about the day-to-day operations that keep nonprofits going.

What surprised you about Knox?

I visited campus at least three times before deciding to attend Knox, but I was still surprised by how small the campus is when you're actually walking around it. It's so easy to get to know lots of people on campus and in the nearby community. Chicago's huge and I always commuted to school, so I didn't have a strong sense of community around where I lived. I was blown away by the fact many local banks in Galesburg recognize their customers when they walk in, and several people now address me by first name after only meeting me once or twice at volunteering events. It feels super home-y.

What activities do you participate in on campus?

I submit original plays and sometimes excerpts for staged readings in Studio Theatre's Playground as often as I can. It's always nerve-wracking and exciting to see something I've written come to life—it inspires me to write more. I've also tried directing and acting. I have several work-study jobs that take up a lot of time, and the Audio Visual Department and Advancement Office are both fun and provide opportunities to gain non-academic skills that come in handy when working in more formal scenarios, like my internship.

Deja Jenkins '19 is a Mellon Fellow. She works at the Audio/Visual Department and Advancement Office at Knox, and participates in theatre productions, such as Studio Theatre's Playground.

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Printed on Saturday, August 24, 2019