Posts tagged Southwest Michigan First

Summer Internship Series: Nathan Novaria

A Summer in Pure Michigan

Nathan Novaria_1I enjoy work that positively impacts the lives of people, so when the time came to search for an internship position, I decided to return to my old stomping grounds for another summer instead of looking for a new job. Located in my hometown of Kalamazoo, MI, Southwest Michigan First (SMF) is nonprofit economic development organization that is passionate about cultivating a strong future in the seven counties that make up our region. Established in 1999 on the principle that the most powerful force for change is a well-paying job, it focuses on projects and initiatives that positively impact the lives of people.  With its unique model of philanthropy and capitalism, the organization is internationally recognized from Melbourne to Vancouver for its innovation in the field of economic development.


As a double major in Communication Studies and Organizational Studies, the position as a Communications Fellow seamlessly blends together my courses of study at the University of Michigan and provides me with the opportunity to look at my projects through a variety of lenses.  Within the position, I primarily work on the marketing team assisting with the strategic branding efforts of each part of the organization. Most recently, SMF launched an internship search site,, which provides students at the surrounding universities in Kalamazoo County with helpful application preparation and interview resources as well as a list of internships posted by local companies throughout the entirety of the year. Collaborating with a team of two awesome supervisors, I assisted in the execution of a launch strategy that helped market the site to our two target groups: college students and businesses.  Through crafting audience-focused marketing content and utilizing Hootesuite, a social media management software program, as well as other various online marketing resources, the website has seen a successful launch. Companies are able to connect directly with young talent looking for professional experience before entering the workforce, and college students can gain valuable insight into the application process before beginning their job search.


In addition to fine tuning my marketing and social media skills, the project has also allowed me to work with a passionate team of individuals and continue to develop my own work aesthetic. Organizational efficiency is a key component in the operations and practices in Southwest Michigan First. By collaborating, setting benchmarks and effectively managing each of our tasks, we are accomplishing our set goals and ensuring the mission of SMF is fulfilled.  Each individual is an integral part of the work that we do within the organization.  Though each member has their strengths and weaknesses, united together we are able to accomplish work in an efficient and effective manner that one individual could not do alone. I am thankful for this opportunity to work with an award-winning nonprofit filled with mentors and leaders that are making a difference in the lives of others.


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Nathan Novaria and the other SMF interns