The Mozilo Student Internship Experience focuses on student-led “compassionate capitalism.” Business in America is built on the strength of capitalism, but sometimes compassion and helping those in need gets lost along the way.
Phyllis and Angelo Mozilo set out on a mission to provide funds for experimental learning in investment and internship opportunities. With the Mozilo family donation, Gonzaga students have been able to participate in experiential learning.
In the past years, the internships offered a study abroad aspect, but this year, due to COVID-19, the projects are positioned locally.
Each intern is paired up with a nonprofit organization in Spokane to work on a project to benefit business operations and to provide a fresh student insight. At the moment, there are six interns working with Second Harvest, ONE Investment Development, If You Could Save Just One, Family Promise and At the Core.
Avery Edwards and Matt Perkins both landed an internship with Mozilo’s program as business administration seniors. Together as a student team, they will be working on a project with ONE Investment Development to start a student-led, self-sufficient business.
“It’s this combination of being able to use what we’ve learned in our classes and being able to apply it in a way to benefit the community,” Perkins said. “The real focus is about what we can give back to the greater Spokane community. I want to give back before I leave here.”
With a five-year sustainable business plan, Edwards and Perkins plan to look into vacant spaces in Northwest Spokane to open a discounted coffee shop for the community.
“It’s an incredible opportunity to live out the Jesuit mission,” Edwards said. “We want to really partner with these community members and empower them with the opportunities that lots of people take for granted.”
Getting sponsors and interviewing schools who have built similar projects are the first steps for Edwards and Perkins. They both said that they are excited for what is to come.
“It’s so rewarding to go from classes to having a real-world experience,” Edwards said.
Danielle Xu, professor of finance and GU's Phyllis and Angelo Mozilo chair, is the main support behind all of the projects. Xu manages the projects and funding while advising student interns along the way.
“It’s about looking for ways to engage in community service and the Jesuit mission,” Xu said.
Some of the other projects include operational work in human resources, managing donors, assisting activities and events and performing engagement tactics.
Katarina Knittel is the human resources intern for Family Promise. Over the course of the next semester, she will be aiding in strengthening the nonprofit’s Human Resources department through developing policies and procedures.
All of the interns share a couple of things in common. They are all business administration majors, and they all have a passion for community. Most of the recipients are also seniors and making a mark on the Spokane community before moving on is something that they are passionate about.
“I first was drawn in by the opportunity to pour back into the Spokane community,” Edwards said. “It’s been really important to me these past three and a half years. And I thought it would be cool to have an opportunity to leave a little something as I venture forth and do whatever I do next.”
All of the projects are different, but they all hold “compassionate capitalism” at the core.