MUD Intern Spotlight: Rebekah McDonald

This year Missoula Federal Credit Union was again pleased to sponsor a paid internship position with MUD ( Missoula Urban Demonstration Project). Rebekah McDonald was selected as the 2016 intern. Rebekah is a Communication Studies Graduate Student with a BA in Journalism and Environmental Studies from the University of Montana. Check out her awesome experience below and some of the great work she did for MUD!

Reflections on my MFCU Internship with MUD

I started my internship with Missoula Urban Demonstration Project eager to immerse myself in a community passionate about stewardship and sustainability. My first 6 weeks were a whirlwind of learning the organization, connecting with coworkers and board members, and promoting MUD at special events like Earth Day, the Eco Expo, and pint nights at local breweries.

I was reminded of the dynamism and group effort of running a non-profit when my supervisor suffered injury, and the whole MUD family flexed around availability and skill sets to get things done. Even though circumstances were different than any of us had planned, I relished the opportunity to step up and help out around the site more, attend board meetings, initiate staff meetings, and meet for supervisor check-ins in creative places.

This summer I’m enjoying the opportunity to focus my work week on MUD projects. Collaborating with board members and the MUD director, I’ve developed materials to aide MUD in soliciting regular donations from community businesses and individuals, contributing donors would become part of the organization’s “Sustainability Circle”. The organization’s income is three legged – memberships, foundation and community grants and private contributions. The organization has focused its efforts to achieve a sustainable structure, while keeping tools in the hands of Missoulians. With the growing number of MUD members, low-income memberships are growing at a faster rate, and contributions from the Missoula community will help off-set our expenses in subsidizing these memberships.

These promotional materials have been the most rewarding task in my internship thus far. With a background in photo-journalism and interpretation I’m always excited to work on visual communication to relay a message efficiently and effectively. Initially, the board of directors had a rough draft of a power-point presentation for this. I pitched the idea of branding the Sustainability Circle with a simple, streamlined power point presentation with embedded videos. The videos were to be a running slide show of images, with audio, to give potential donors a robust sense of MUD’s 35 years celebrating, demonstrating and supporting sustainability in the Missoula community. I was excited about the format and vision of this product… but there was one small glitch… I didn’t have a lot of video production experience.

Undeterred by this small detail I started pulling the pieces together to achieve my goal. With the edits and support of the MUD community, we now have compelling script and audio, as well as visual slide shows to showcase the organization’s past, present and future. These videos are now a valuable resource for the organization to communicate with potential Sustainability Circle members, as well as general fundraising.

I still have a lot to learn in video production… but compared to the struggles I had with that software and process during my Spring Semester, this experience has grown my skill set exponentially.

In my Communication Studies graduate work I’m most interested in how individuals and organizations can use visual and experiential communication/ rhetoric to convey meaningful, memorable messages to others. This internship with the Missoula Urban Demonstration Project, sponsored by the Missoula Federal Credit Union, is an awesome opportunity to apply Communication Research and Theory in a tangible, meaningful way.

I’m excited to continue this journey throughout the fall, and about the path this will create in my future career endeavors. Thank you for the funding and opportunity to serve Missoula, apply my scholastic efforts in the real-world and learn valuable life skills like how to braid garlic, and what exactly is a sawzall?

Deep Roots Movie

MUD Income Movie

MUD Members Movie

MUD is Awesome Movie

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