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Southern Miss Student Lands Paid Internship with United Way PDF Print E-mail
Friday, November 06, 2009
Contact Tearanny Street, 601.266.6823   
HATTIESBURG, Miss.   Paid internships are a rarity in today’s economy, but The University of Southern Mississippi and the United Way of Southeast Mississippi partnered to give one student such an opportunity at a local non-profit organization.

Grace Hall, a senior from Petal, interns with Friends for Financial Freedom, a United Way initiative supported by Christian Services, Inc.; The Salvation Army; Christian Women’s Job Corps, Inc.; and Catholic Social Services to help people break the cycle of dependence on federal or state funded assistance.

Over the course of the academic year, Hall will schedule interviews with potential program participants, call banks to set up classes, follow-up with participants and learn budget development. “This program offers classes that train people on how to budget, manage money and make responsible decisions which are just basic “life” skills that one needs to get ahead,” said program director Janice Swiggum.

From March to June 2009, the program has experienced tremendous growth and support from the Hattiesburg community with a total of 350 referrals, 33 class participants and 28 graduating participants. Swiggum and Hall are currently the only two people working on this program. Hall must complete 300 hours of work with the Friends for Financial Freedom to receive AH certification. She will receive $3,000 total for the school year.

This stipend is important as research indicates that one of the main obstacles to students finishing an internship is that they do not get paid,” said Dr. Ann Kinnell, director of the Non-Profit Studies Minor.

The Friends for Financial Freedom initiative officially launched in March 2009 and centers on four components: education, advice, opportunity and resources.

“I’m really excited to be working with this program, because it gives me a chance to apply some of the things I study in class to real work that benefits real people,” said Hall. As a Non-Profit Studies minor, Hall is required to take 18 hours of interdisciplinary coursework necessary to pursue a variety of careers in the non-profit sector.

The American Humanics/Non-Profit Studies program forged the partnership two years ago, said United Way of Southeast Mississippi Executive Director Dan Kibodeaux.

“The Non-Profit Studies minor really appealed to the United Way Board of Directors. This internship is a way to invest in people who want to go into the non-profit world, and our involvement is an expression of our board of directors that we’re serious about investing in and cultivating professionals in this field,” he said.

The Non-Profit Studies Minor is an interdisciplinary minor that provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary for work in the non-profit sector.  For more information about the minor, visit

- Grace Hall, left, a Southern Miss senior working on a minor in Non-Profit Studies, stands with Janice Swiggum, right, program coordinator, outside of the Friends for Financial Freedom office in downtown Hattiesburg on Evans Street. Hall interns with Friends for Financial Freedom as part of a paid internship with the United Way of Southeast Mississippi and the University of Southern Mississippi Non-Profit Studies program. (Submitted photo)

About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities.  In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world.  Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at
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