Interview with a Graduate: Gina Gallagher

 Gina Gallagher

Gina-GallagherWhat was your most memorable moment at the University of Michigan or the National Forum?
The most memorable experience I had was working on the Once Upon a Time grant process. This project was undertaken through UM and CSHPE by way of Dr. Burkhardt’s philanthropy class. Everything from class discussions and picking nonprofits to planning the Impact conference was a hugely memorable experience for me. The project was a great synthesis of both my education at UM and the work done at the National Forum.

What was your greatest achievement at the National Forum?
There have been so many rewarding projects that I have had an opportunity to work on while at the National Forum.  In general, I am so proud of the work the Communications Team has done this year on the National Forum’s communications strategies—the work undertaken there now reaches a wider audience than ever and will continue to grow. Additionally, my work on the uLEAD project was such a wonderful experience—the website is already such an incredible resource for higher education practitioners, and I look forward to watching it grow even more after my departure.

What was your biggest take away from the National Forum?
One of the most valuable lessons I learned this year at the National Forum was the benefit of support from peers—not just from my colleagues, but from our spectacular “legendary musicians” who continue to support team members even after they have left their official roles at the National Forum. Legendary musicians are an incredible network of people, and I am very proud to be able to join their ranks.

What advice do you have for future students at the National Forum?
Take advantage of any opportunities presented to you—do not limit yourself just to your own research or your own team’s work. If you have an interest in any function of the National Forum outside of your own role, ask questions and join in the discussion. One of the many reasons that the National Forum is a uniquely rewarding place to work is that team members are allowed and encouraged to stretch their experiences and knowledge whenever possible.

What is your favorite part of the National Forum?
My favorite part of the National Forum was absolutely the people. I feel so grateful to have worked under our fearless leaders, Dr. John Burkhardt and Dr. Betty Overton. I was also very lucky to work with Amy Puffenberger, the Office Manager and leader of the Communications Team. In addition to the wonderful leadership at the National Forum, my interactions with my colleagues there were incredible and educational. From water cooler chatter to intense research discussions, I learned something everyday from my colleagues and their work.

What are your future plans and how did the National Forum contribute to that?
I am about to embark on a career in Development—this summer, I begin a position at Indiana University as the Associate Director of Development for the School of Informatics and Computing. My experiences at the National Forum enhanced my understanding of the financing and communications strategies that go into institutions higher education. My work at the National Forum helped me see development from all angles—higher education institutions, research centers, foundations and communities.