Our Student Interns

At Compassion Coalition, we aim to do more with less and to always be good stewards of our resources. As a small non-profit, our resources are limited, and we have found that one of the best ways to leverage those resources is through partnering with regional higher education institutions to provide quality internship experiences for students. Meet some of them below! If you're seeking a quality, structured student internship and would like to learn more about our opportunities, contact us.

Maci Hughlett

Human Services and Bible Major

Johnson University

Graduation: May 2018

Start Date: September 2017

End Date: December 2017

I have loved my experience interning at Compassion Coalition! From my first day here, I could tell this organization was special. Quite quickly, my eyes were opened to the world of poverty within the Knoxville community. Growing up in Knoxville, I felt as if I had a strong grasp of the culture and the issues our community faced on a regular basis. As it turns out, I did not know even half of the difficulties our brothers and sisters face here – nor about the helpers healing our community. The staff at CC graciously showed me just how much I must learn about the place I call home.

Though CC is comprised of a small staff, the organization runs like a well-oiled machine, always moving and always helping. I jumped straight into writing the chapter on disabilities for the fourth edition of the Salt and Light guidebook. This experience has sparked growth not only as a writer, but also has prepared me professionally in teaching me how to be an effective communicator.

One of my favorite parts of the internship was speaking with clients via the Connection Point clearinghouse. While hesitant at first, the entire staff provided me with the necessary tools to help clients in their time of need. I was blessed with the unique opportunity to meet my very first client halfway through the internship. Seeing someone face-to-face whom you have helped is an experience I will never forget. Prayer became the primary vehicle in which I approached Connection Point, a lesson I learned from the wonderful Compassion staff.

Overall, interning at Compassion Coalition has been a highlight of my college career. God has used this experience to grow my faith and solidify my calling into social work. I would highly recommend this internship to someone who is willing to serve as the hands and feet of Jesus in our wonderful community.

Alexandra Stewart

Religion Major

Maryville College

Graduation: May 2016

Start Date: September 2014

End Date: December 2015

I had a wonderful experience interning with Compassion Coalition. Each day is different and I am continuously learning more about myself and others. I was told before I began interning that Compassion Coalition is like a family, and I see that more and more each day.


I love everything about working with Compassion Coalition. When describing my experience, I always tell others that Compassion Coalition for me, has become what I envision as the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. What stands out to me about this organization is the diversity that each person brings and the way that we all work together. Each staff member is from a different background and of a different denomination. We each have many differences, but we all come together with the same passion, for helping to improve the situation of those in need, and seeing the outcome of that is always amazing. 


I would definitely recommend others to work as an intern for Compassion Coalition, especially college students. College is a time when you are exploring your options and working with Compassion Coalition definitely allows for that. I am constantly reminded that not only are the staff receiving help from me, but they also want to be sure that I am getting everything out of my internship that I want to. 


I always felt a call to ministry, and youth ministry has been very important to me. Working as an intern with Compassion Coalition has allowed me to discover and explore other ways in which I can use my vocational calling. I have not only learned more about others and the community around me, but also I have learned more about myself. I now know that my calling is not just working with youth in a church setting but also building relationships with youth in my community who are in need, to hopefully one day stop the progression of generational poverty. 

Sandy Bumbalough

Non-Profit Management Major

Johnson University

Graduated August 2013

Start Date: January 2013

End Date: July 2013

I had a wonderful revealing and spiritually enlightening learning experience interning with Compassion Coalition from January through July of 2013.  I provided 260 hours of service to this organization that is equipping churches, government agencies, other nonprofits, and individuals to work together for the "well being of our city.”


Every staff and board member cares about the mission of the organization as well as the lives that were touched daily through the Clearinghouse and supporting organizations.  Everyone treated me with respect and allowed me to participate in prayer time, assume responsibility for coordinating the Restorative Justice program, participate in all training programs, and provide input during staff meetings. Prayer is of utmost importance before undertaking anything in this organization.  


Duties of my internship included: mentoring with Grant Standefer; interaction with the board, staff, and community; familiarity with various trainings; and Restorative Justice management.  I enjoyed most interacting with those within the organization and in the community.


This internship is for those who have compassionate, caring hearts and want to take steps of faith to help others in the Knoxville community.  It is about team work—working together with others to help those in need doing it all in the name of Jesus and not for personal gain.  Working in a faith-based nonprofit challenged me and helped me to grow spiritually.


Through this internship, I was able to more fully develop my leadership skills and learned about my strengths and weaknesses. Grant did an excellent job of mentoring me, stressing prayer and ways to discern God’s will. I was able to see the huge diversity of the Knoxville community and how Compassion Coalition is working to break down the barriers of economic disparity.

Rachel Clingenpeel

Human Services and Spanish Major

Carson-Newman University

Graduation: Dec 2016

Start Date: September 2013

End Date: December 2016

Working with Compassion Coalition has been the highest quality experience of my college career so far. The small staff of CC not only invests in bettering the Knoxville community, but also in caring for each other and their interns. The CC office is a Christian environment that provides teamwork, flexibility, and plenty of appreciation.

Compassion Coalition is great for interns who are interested in community development, poverty relief, social work, religion, and so much more.

While working with CC I have learned about the causes, mental models, and solutions to poverty. I have experienced the power in various denominations coming together to serve neighbors in need. I have gained knowledge of the hundreds of Knoxville churches and organizations who are implementing programs to serve the many needs of the community. I have observed true passion for the furthering of God's kingdom through service to others.


I have developed both professionally and personally. I have been given encouragement to pursue my gifts and talents. I have been trusted with completing projects that truly make a difference in the community. I have been given the opportunity to participate in training courses that will have a lasting influence on my life and career.

Grayson Hester

Communications and Religion

Carson-Newman University

Graduation: May 2017

Start Date: March 2016

End Date: August 2016

My first day at Compassion Coalition looked a little something like this. I arrived with a fellow intern, slightly anxious with the disquiet of the opening of a new chapter yet excited with the promise of good work and new experiences. We walked upstairs and into Compassion's modern workplace, and as soon as I entered, the staff greeted me with enthusiastic "welcome's!" and warm hugs. Within the first five minutes of working here, I felt at home. 


Truly, Compassion Coalition embodies the ideals of community at every level -- from the broad community of Knoxville for which they serve, to the subculture of churches and nonprofits they bring together, to the microcosmic culture of the office in which they work daily. Individuals joining together to become something greater than the sum of its parts, all with the intent of affecting the greater good, is a beautiful reality created in part by the work CC does here. 


I'm honored and made better for working alongside them as a contributing writer to their Salt and Light guide. Their expertise has educated me on a variety of issues facing Knoxville and its people, while their grace and acceptance has inspired me to emulate the same in all I do. This place changes lives -- and my life proves to be no exception. 


In discerning my call, Compassion has helped me realize my passion for social justice and has equipped me with the skills to fight for it.

Ruthie Thomas

Business Administration Major

Carson Newman University

Graduation: May 2016

Start Date: January 2016

End Date: May 2016

Working with Compassion Coalition has been one of my favorite and most beneficial experiences in my college career. My goal in life is to work for a non-profit who is helping the local community where they are at, and CC has shown me what a future in this career will look like. I have gotten to see firsthand the day-to-day operations of a non-profit and the teamwork that makes this organization so great. Everyone here has worked with me and my busy schedule as an upcoming graduate to ensure that I am learning as much as I can about the non-profit business.


What I have loved most about working with CC is how much I have been able to learn about the city of Knoxville and its people. It is very evident that everyone at CC cares deeply for their home and the people in it. The staff at CC loves their city so well. I have gained an appreciation for all the work that goes into non-profits and helping those in need.

This experience has helped me to grow in many ways that I will forever be grateful for. I have been encouraged in my desire to make a career out of helping people with the skills and abilities God has equipped me with.  My time here has been crucial in growing my knowledge of not only how to work in an office setting, but also the great need for people of all backgrounds and denominations working together to purposefully aid those in poverty. Everything that I have learned during my time here will be of great help to me in the next chapter of my life as a postgraduate. 

Madison Allen

Nursing Major

Carson Newman University

Estimated Graduation: May 2018

Start Date: September 2014

End Date: May 2015

I had a very good experience interning with CC! The work that is being done is very valuable for the community. Being able to work with this organization helped me to not only gain valuable skills for the future, but also it is opening my eyes and heart to the needs that surround me everyday. CC gives me a chance to do something about these needs.


My favorite part about working with CC is the people that I work alongside. The CC staff are passionate about improving the world that they live in, and they have a lot of knowledge on how to do that. I highly recommend an internship for anyone interested in having an experience that goes beyond just gaining skills in an office. This is ideal for people who are interested in learning what it takes day to day to run a non-profit and all of the struggles and victories that come with it.

Through this internship I am gaining practical knowledge of how to work in an office setting, I am learning about all of the things that are crucial to the success of a non-profit, and I am learning of the many needs that are in the knox area, as well as seeing the things that are being done to help the amazing people in Knoxville.

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865-251-1591 x1 for assistance


Compassion Coalition, Inc. is not affiliated with, sponsored, or endorsed by Compassion International, Inc.