Faith Chang ’23 fulfills her lifetime dream
When she walks across the stage during the 65th Commencement, Faith Chang will have achieved one of her lifelong dreams: to earn a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. For the newly minted alumna, the four-year Chaminade experience has only strengthened and bolstered her beliefs in community service and religious faith.
“I’ve always believed in helping the community ever since I was a kid,” says Chang, the 2023 recipient of the Hogan Entrepreneurial Leadership Program’s Aloha Spirit Award. “During my freshman year, I participated in a Service Learning opportunity at Kaimuki High School, where I helped high-school students with any of their class projects.”
Having the opportunity to intern while still studying affords college students a chance to build a professional network with industry leaders, and to hone their skills before entering the workforce. Internships also allow the intern to figure out one’s true passion.
For Chang, this meant following a path to seek a position with a nonprofit group, which could utilize what she learned at Chaminade and what she experienced as an intern with Make-A-Wish Hawai‘i.
“Faith was also an intern with Chaminade University’s Economics Education Center for Excellence (EECE) from 2021-2022,” says EECE director and associate professor, Dr. Guanlin Gao. “During her time there, she identified and adapted over 50 lesson plans in economics, personal finance and Hawaiian history for K-12 teachers. In addition, she presented her lesson plans and shared the resource pool she built with over 30 local public school teachers at the EECE 2022 Summer Workshop, which benefited the teachers and ultimately the next generation.”
During her stint with Make-A-Wish Hawai‘i, Chang interned with the Finance and Operations department, where her financial responsibilities included processing donations and payments, paying vendors, ensuring the monthly financial statements are accurate, and preparing for the annual budget, financial audit and Form 990.
“We rely a lot on our interns,” says Shari Young, Make-A-Wish Hawai‘i’s Director of Finance, who supervised Chang during her internship. “Faith had all the qualifications that we require of our interns, including being an active community member, a willingness to grow and learn, and she possessed the heart for our mission.”
A survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers indicates that the starting salary for college graduates who completed an internship and were employed in a private, for-profit company was $53,521, while those who didn’t complete an internship started with an average of only $38,572. The same study found that 72.2 percent of college graduates with internship experience got a job offer, in contrast to 36.5 percent for those who didn’t complete one. These numbers indicate that pursuing an internship during your college years can add a competitive edge on the side students, increasing their opportunity to get a well-paying job after graduation.
The same held true across industry sectors—nonprofit ($41,876 vs. $31,443), state/local government ($42,693 vs. $32,969), and federal government sectors ($48,750 vs. $42,501).
“I sought the internship to enhance my resume, and gain a better understanding of nonprofit finance operations and expenses,” says Chang who won this year’s Hogan Entrepreneurial Program’s Aloha Spirit Award, which is given to a student who best embodies the spirit of the program. “Another takeaway from this internship was the reward of working with a nonprofit organization, like Make-A-Wish Hawai‘i, which is dedicated to the community, granting wishes and providing little girls and boys a lifetime of joy during a trying stage in their lives.
“I remember this one girl’s wish was to have a playground built in her backyard,” Chang recounts. “And when it was time for the reveal, her reaction and joy made me cry. And I immediately sent the video to my parents. It was just so heartwarming.”
With her expanded skill set, Gao predicts that Chang will continue her journey of making a real-world difference. “She is involved in so many community projects, including Chaminade’s Compassionate Cat Counting project, ‘Inana sustainability program, Earth Day thrift sale, as well as her church service at the Inspire Church conference,” Gao adds. “She has raised funds to sponsor children in Guatemala, as her passion is to make a real-world difference and give back to the community.”