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Austin Hepburn

Liberal Arts Major(s): Criminology
Other Major: Master of Public Policy (integrated undergraduate-graduate program)
Minor: Communications Arts and Sciences, Rhetoric
Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland
Experience Time: Summer 2020

Give us a brief summary of your experience?

Ameelio is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide free communication between families and their incarcerated loved ones. With the title of Growth Manager, I managed diversity growth within the user base by collaborating with historically black colleges and universities and their corresponding campus newspapers. I also led a successful Maryland Outreach Project in which local user growth experienced a 200% increase. In addition, I identified partnership opportunities within the criminal justice academic and professional community through inbound lead follow-up and outbound cold calls, emails, and client visits. Finally, I utilized marketing strategies for client acquisition, interviewed users to determine areas of improvement, and collaborated with senior management and other marketing teammates to align our internal goals with new and existing partner relationships.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I have learned a lot through this internship. My internship with Ameelio involved a lot of research components, including, but not limited to, researching communication and mail policies in prisons, effective outreach and marketing strategies, and the impact of costly prison communication on families. One of the biggest things I have learned is how expensive communication is in the prison system and how much there is a need for something like Ameelio's free communication service. experience with Ameelio has increased my curiosity and passion for advocacy work.

How will this experience impact your career goals?

In terms of career goals, my experience with Ameelio has increased my curiosity and passion for advocacy work. I loved helping people and hearing the stories of others. Part of my duties was doing in-person outreach. I was in the heart of Baltimore talking to those who have been impacted by crime and know firsthand how expensive communication with an incarcerated loved one can be. One of the most impactful experiences I had is when a 16-year-old boy came up to me while I was tabeling. He told me both of his older brothers were in prison and his family can't afford to communicate with them. He thanked me for Ameelio's service and said it will be a life-saver for his family.

How has the College of the Liberal Arts helped you to find and/or succeed in this experience (e.g., adviser, faculty, staff, enrichment funds, etc.)?

The enrichment funds helped me tremendously as I had to get a new computer and upgrade my wifi to keep up with the constant technological requirements.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website. 
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