Campus News

CASE Advancement Internship Program offers intensive real-world experience, mentorship

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 13, 2023) — The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Advancement Internship Program, now in its second year at the University of Kentucky, offers a unique opportunity for eligible students who are interested in pursuing a profession in advancement in academia, which includes alumni relations, philanthropy, event planning, social media marketing and communications. The eight-week intensive firsthand work experience includes weekly webinars and connecting with mentors in all areas of the profession.

Students apply for an internship online at CASE and once chosen, they are placed at various institutions across the country for the summer internship. This past year, Marci Hicks, director of Philanthropy for UK’s Alumni Association, said that UK chose to hire from their own pool of applicants.

“We are investing in what we hope is the future of our profession, and more specifically, we want to grow this opportunity for UK students on our own campus,” Hicks said.

Advancement in academia is a profession not like many others because there are so many paths a student could take depending on their interest. The internship provides insight into 10 or 15 different opportunities that help students figure out what they need to do in order to get to their area of interest.

Ansley George, a second-year master’s student at UK, spent this past summer as a CASE intern in philanthropy collaborating directly with Hicks. George came to UK from Indianapolis, and received her bachelor’s degree in communications, specializing in strategic communications. One of her professors sent out an email about the summer CASE internship and she thought it might be a good opportunity to see how marketing and communications intertwine with philanthropy and alumni engagement, and how her degrees specifically played a role in the field. George initially submitted a resume, cover letter and letters of recommendation the previous fall before the interview process opened up in the spring.

CASE interns are typically junior, senior or graduate-level students. Experience in the areas of advancement of academia or experience holding leadership positions is not required.

“We really want to see how the intern is able to interact with people and give someone an opportunity that may not always have opportunities such as this in the field,” Hicks said. “We are going to choose the best person who would really gain the insight to what this profession is and someone who we may think would be successful in any of the areas.”

CASE provides the summer curriculum and a supervisor oversees the program. Weekly webinars on subjects like annual giving, stewardship, alumni relations or major gifts are among the topics. Zoom makes it possible for CASE interns all over the world to come together to listen to guest speakers. Interns also work on weekly event planning and then share their experiences with other students.

Each intern also works on a project throughout the summer that is tailored to their interests.

"We want our interns to complete a project that directly impacts something in the future here, looking at it in a different way, and give a presentation to an executive team,” Hicks said. “Ansley was interested in looking at how we develop a more broad and more inclusive communication plan to grow our UK Traveling Wildcats program.”

Hicks explained that UK has a traveling program that collaborates with multiple vendors who do group tours, both domestic and internationally, for college alumni, not just UK. It is an opportunity for UK graduates, faculty and staff with a common interest to travel together. Last year, Hicks went with the Traveling Wildcats to attend the Passion Plays that happen in Germany every 10 years.

George had no knowledge of the Traveling Wildcats before working on this project.

"I helped write a communications and marketing plan for them,“ George said. “It was a lot of fun to think through what the promotion of the program could look like, at least in my eyes, and hopefully it would be helpful and give them recommendations that they choose to take after I leave.”

A definite high point for George’s CASE internship was the opportunity to represent UK at the CASE Advancement Internship Conference held in Washington, D.C., for two days. CASE interns from hundreds of host institutions gathered to network with professionals in the advancement field.

“It was really interesting to sit down and talk with our peers and listen to what they were doing with their summers and what their projects were,” she said. “It served as an exciting time to network with people from all over the country that we may be working with in the future. We had time for some sightseeing too which was nice.”

When asked what championing education means to her, George believes she had a unique perspective as a nonresident student at UK who worked in undergraduate admissions. She saw the total recruitment cycle of the student, served as a teaching assistant and saw faculty and staff roles within the university. After coming full circle, she saw the advancement side of things when people are making donations and learning how to leave a larger impact on the university that gave them their degree.

CASE is a global nonprofit dedicated to educational advancement professionals — in alumni relations, communications, development, marketing, and advancement services — who share the goal of championing education to transform lives and society.

To fulfill their missions and to meet both individual and societal needs, colleges, universities, and independent schools rely on and therefore must foster the goodwill, active involvement, informed advocacy, and enduring support of alumni, donors, prospective students, parents, government officials, community leaders, corporate executives, foundation officers, and other external constituencies.

When asked what "championing education" means to her, George replied,

“I see it as wherever you can make a difference in the institution, how we can provide programming for alumni to engage in, and how we may find a particular program for people to donate toward that resonated with them as students. I am passionate about people having the opportunity to receive an education. A lot of students show up not knowing exactly what they want to do but for everyone, pursuing an education is the opportunity to explore and reach their goals to figure out how you can become your best you.”

The CASE Advancement Internship Program runs from June 5-July 28, 2023. The deadline for application is Friday, Jan. 27, 2023. For additional information, contact Mandy Connolly at or 859-262-0955.

To apply to the CASE Advancement Internship Program at UK, visit

For more information about CASE, visit

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.