A letter to RMHUC members from Brianne Holland-Stergar

Brianne's internship in the 2012 CLIMB program was underwritten by the Club.

Dear Members of the Rocky Mountain Harvard Club,

I’m writing to offer up my sincere thanks for helping subsidize the costs of the summer internship in Denver that I recently completed. Hosted through the CLIMB program, I spent an engaging and worthwhile eight weeks assisting the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative in their marketing and development endeavors, as well as taking in the wonderful opportunities made available by the organizers of the CLIMB program – an institution that I cannot hold in any higher regard.

I stumbled upon the Fourteeners Initiative/CLIMB application while meandering through the internship postings on Crimson Careers, and was amazed at the opportunity I saw before me. I immediately applied, even though I had received a few offers from companies in New York City; I realized that the opportunity to received free housing as well as a paid internship working for a forward thinking non-profit in the heart of the Rocky Mountains suited my fancy far more than living in the congested confines of NYC. The job offer followed, and I prepared for my Denver summer.

However, although I was ecstatic to have been blessed with this unique opportunity, I was skeptical of the CLIMB program’s ability to successfully facilitate the internships, housing, and general well being of numerous college students, all of whom had very different interests and backgrounds. I anticipated chaotic CLIMB sponsored events that would, quite frankly, be colossal wastes of time that could be better spent exploring the mountains to the west of Denver; there were simply too many details to take care of for everything to continually fall into place. But when I pulled up to the orientation barbeque at CLIMB founder, Howard Holme’s, home, my fears were instantly allayed. The other CLIMB interns were friendly, open, and willing to join me in my adventures around the state; we immediately made plans for group dinners, hiking excursions, and started a google document to arrange carpools for the CLIMB sponsored rafting trip.

In terms of the program itself, Howard and the program administrators immediately set a tone that made it clear that our summer would be full of professional insights into the business world, as well as opportunities for networking and the development of important relationships. They introduced us to the Wednesday night dinner and speaker series, which allowed us to hear from successful individuals engaged in every facet of the business spectrum, from biomedical researchers to start-up CEOs to urban planners. This broad-based program allowed me to see all of the opportunities that are opening themselves to young professionals like myself, and I could not be happier to have been able to have this experience.

Of course, I also believe my time with the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative will prove invaluable as I begin preparing to launch my own career. The organization allowed me to wade through the various fundraising strategies, marketing techniques, and general development procedures that many non-profits find themselves mired in. And as an added perk, I was able to assist in a few field projects building trails to the summits of Colorado’s 14,000 foot peaks; you really haven’t lived until you’ve sat in an alpine meadow with a grizzled old cowboy and watched a team of pack mules graze on mountain flora. This combination of professional  experience and once-in-a-lifetime conservation work truly prepared me to tackle any employment opportunity that presents itself in my future.

So, in closing, I would just like to reiterate my appreciation for the Rocky Mountain Harvard Club’s assistance with my CLIMB experience. I could not have asked for a more fulfilling, educational, and (most importantly) fun summer. If any of you would like to ask me more questions about my Rocky Mountain summer, please don’t hesitate to reach out; my email is bholland-stergar@college.harvard.edu, and I can be reached by phone at 406-498-8387.


Brianne Holland-Stergar
Harvard College, Class of 2013