NEWS

Mount career expert talks service learning at United Way workshop

July 24, 2018
NEWBURGH, N.Y. -

Kathleen O’Keefe, director of Mount Saint Mary College’s Center for Career and Experiential Education (right) joined a pair of panel discussions at the recent “Strategies to Inspire Volunteers, Interns & Staff for Maximum Success” workshop.

Kathleen O’Keefe, director of Mount Saint Mary College’s Center for Career and Experiential Education (right) joined a pair of panel discussions at the recent “Strategies to Inspire Volunteers, Interns & Staff for Maximum Success” workshop.

 

Kathleen O’Keefe, director of Mount Saint Mary College’s Center for Career and Experiential Education (CCEE), lent her expertise to “Strategies to Inspire Volunteers, Interns & Staff for Maximum Success,” a workshop recently offered by United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region.

Hosted at Dutchess Community College, the event brought together attendees from nonprofits throughout the mid-Hudson region. O’Keefe spoke as a member of two panels: “Student Service in the Hudson Valley,” which provided an overview of how higher education institutions are encouraging students to give back through partnerships in the area; and “Internships Designed for Success,” which delved into designing the best internship possible for both the organization and the intern.

The panels addressed many topics within the realm of experiential learning, including:

  • Differences between service learning, internships, and volunteerism
  • What motivates a student to intern and participate in service
  • The best practices for structuring an internship program
  • College expectations in terms of nonprofits hosting interns
  • The impact of students on such organizations

“It was a great platform for me to share details about the work we do in the CCEE,” said O’Keefe. “It was a wonderful exchange of ideas and practices.” 

She added that she hopes the event “inspires organizations to invest in local students.” 

When asked about successful service learning opportunities at the Mount, O’Keefe had many to choose from. She highlighted the college’s ongoing participation in the region’s Tax Aide program, which provides free tax preparation for local middle- and low-income families. The program is offered annually by the AARP Tax-Aide Foundation, the Mid-Hudson CASH Coalition, and the United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region. This season marked the seventh year the Mount has been involved. About 20 Mount students served their community in donated spaces throughout the area, including the Newburgh Ministry and the Newburgh Free Library. 

O’Keefe has nearly 20 years of experience in higher education and has worked at the Mount since 2005. She is actively involved in the community and serves on several committees including Leadership Orange, the American Heart Association, and the United Way.