Story by Christopher Elliott
In the past two years, UNM staff gave $5,000 to a first-of-its-kind endowment to create an internship program in memory of David Northrop, associate director for Information Technologies at UNM. Using payroll deduction, one-time giving and United Way campaign contributions, Northrop's friends and coworkers are endeavoring to raise $70,000 over the next five years.
"We were encouraged by his enthusiasm and vision for technology," said Valerie Anzalone, who worked with Northrop and chairs the committee creating the David J. Northrop Memorial Internship Program. "He was a very strong mentor, always giving back, preparing students for the real work environment. This is a fitting tribute to his memory."
Working with Judith Davenport, manager of endowment relations at the UNM Foundation, the committee set out to establish an endowment as a source of long-term funding for the internship.
Anzalone estimates that 20 UNM staff donate each year. According to the UNM Foundation, 13 of those donated through automatic payroll deduction.
Duane Arruti, director of applications for IT, recognizes that the $70,000 goal is ambitious, yet he and the committee remain optimistic.
"At this stage donors have primarily been internal IT staff," he said. "We want to reach out to the campus community and invite them to be part of this. To make this a standing internship funded on a year-to-year basis, we really need to hit our goal."
Arruti stressed that even small monthly contributions make a huge difference.
UNM Career Services Director Jenna Crab said this internship will help information technology students be more successful in their careers and have a competitive edge during trying times in the job market.
"Internships help students meet their future mentors," she said. "This generation of students is looking to their supervisors and directors for mentorship. They want to learn the principles and values of the organization and apply it to their careers. Programs like this help them clarify their own career values and goals."
"I think something like this, where so many people knew David and he touched so many lives, really brings it home," Arruti said. "I personally started giving to this internship because it has the potential to benefit students in so many ways. Real world experience and mentorship are invaluable to students. Associating that with David Northrop's memory makes it all the more meaningful."
As many as 150 UNM employees contribute to UNM programs monthly through payroll deduction, not including those who donate through United Way.
To learn more about the internship, visit djnintern.unm.edu. To donate online, visit unmfund.org/online-giving and specify "The David J. Northrop Memorial Internship Program." To donate using United Way, specify the internship on the online or printable pledge form.