Ballard Internship Propels Career


MPA student Jeff Roberts discovered many things during his internship: the best ways to help people become self-reliant, his love of social innovation, and the power of a late-night pizza party.

According to Roberts, those pizza parties helped his team reach their project goals and were some of the best experiences of his internship with Self-Reliance Services/Perpetual Education Fund (PEF).

Roberts was connected to the organization through the Ballard Center’s Social Innovation Projects—an on-campus internship program that allows students to work on projects for top-tier social innovation organizations. This opportunity propelled him into a full-time position with the organization.

Self-Reliance Services/PEF is a branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints devoted to helping people rise out of poverty. Self-reliance centers around the world provide support and resources for people to start or grow their businesses, find employment, and pursue education.  The PEF loans money to youth in developing areas to help pay for vocational training or advanced education.

As an undergrad studying finance and nonprofit management, Roberts started his first internship with Self-Reliance Services/PEF through the Ballard Center’s Social Innovation Projects. The knowledge gained from that internship prepared him for his current position as project manager, overseeing global projects and Ballard Center interns.

“My favorite part about my job is the purpose and the people,” Roberts says. “I get to work for an initiative that is helping tens of thousands of people across the globe become temporally and spiritually self-reliant. The idea that even some of the tasks I perform are having real impact is extremely rewarding.”

The Self Reliance Services/PEF is just one organization that partners with Social Innovation Projects. Teams of students from all majors are paired with organizations like Google Community Leaders and Kiva to innovate solutions for worldwide social problems like poverty, education, and healthcare so they can make a difference in the world from our very own valley.

Click here to learn more about the Ballard Center’s Social Innovation Projects.