The Eleanor Wolff Scholarship
Eleanor Miltimore Wolff became a committed vegan late in life. Once she learned and understood that dietary choices affected not only one's personal health, but also the health of the planet and the well being of the animals, there was no looking back. Leather shoes and purses, along with non-vegan food products went out the door. Her children and grandchildren were showered with vegan reading material. When she exercised she would sport a T-shirt proclaiming: "I think, therefore I am -- a vegetarian". Eleanor was a military censor during World War II, but there was no censoring her commitment to a plant based diet and lifestyle.
In her memory, the Eleanor Wolff scholarship is a $2,500 paid internship at the VRG office in Baltimore (plus $1,000 toward housing) for a student who:
- Wants to be an effective change agent on behalf of vegetarianism
- Is motivated to use knowledge gained from the internship to make a significant impact within his/her world
- Could not participate in this development effort without a little financial assistance
Currently, the Eleanor Wolff Scholarship funds one internship per year. VRG also has unpaid internships available.
If you would like to apply for a VRG internship, please send a resume, writing sample, and cover letter detailing your interests, skills, goals, and vegetarian knowledge to:
The Vegetarian Resource Groupor e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Most internships are not paid. If you are looking for a paid internship, please indicate your financial need.
P.O. Box 1463
Baltimore, MD 21203
VRG also awards two $5,000 college scholarships to graduating U.S. high school students who have promoted vegetarianism in their schools and/or communities. Click here to learn more.
Also see VRG's Essay Contest, 1st prize for which is a $50 savings bond and printing of your essay in the Vegetarian Journal.
What previous interns have said of their experiences at VRG
The following is a thank-you letter written by Bobby Smith, 2008 recipient of the VRG Eleanor Wolff Scholarship:
"My internship is going really well. I'm doing clerical database work, research, packaging, and I'm also writing articles for the Vegetarian Journal. This internship is really opening my eyes to the behind-the-scenes work of grassroots activism and the hard laborious work of non-profits. The two conferences I attended (Book Expo America in Manhattan and American Library Association in DC) exemplified how VRG makes connections, popularizes vegan literature, and spreads the word about much-encompassing issues surrounding vegan and vegetarian lifestyles. Everyone who I met--in and out of the office--affiliated with VRG has been extremely friendly, personable, and inspiring. The hands-on work, conferences, and amazing group of people at VRG has made my experience and work really rewarding.
With the help of Jeannie and a few others in the office, I've become vegan. I was always afraid to take what seemed to be the impossible step of giving up dairy products. The transition has been smooth and I actually feel healthier. I always have had a varied and nutritious diet; veganism has actually gotten me to try things I wouldn't try before I was vegan, thereby expanding, not limiting, my dietary choices. Admittingly, if one is to make the switch to veganism, there's no better place to work than VRG.
I'm currently at Ithaca College studying journalism and politics and aspiring to write for a progressive political magazine. I also was accepted to the American University nationally recognized international relations program. Wherever I end up, I will undoubtedly bring what I've learned from VRG with me and continue the vegan/animal rights activism on campus.
I couldn't thank both of you (donors to the Eleanor Wolff Scholarship) enough for making this opportunity a reality for me. Being the first person in my extended family to attend college, I've been exposed to educational and networking opportunities that were not possible for anyone else in my family. My VRG internship is another example of one of those great opportunities, and it is because of your generous contributions that I'm able to be here. So in conclusion, my internship has been a wonderful experience and thank you again!"
The following was written by Kristen Lambert, 2009 Eleanor Wolff Scholarship recipient:
When I first boarded the plane traveling from Salt Lake City to Baltimore my stomach was upset with a mixture of anxiety and excitement. Earlier that year I was offered an internship with The Vegetarian Resource Group, which I happily accepted, and I was now beginning my multi-month journey.
Previously in my life I had never traveled further East from Utah than Colorado, especially not alone, so this was a big step in the direction of personal independence.
The plane ride, compared to a Greyhound bus ride, was over in no time, and before I knew it I was at the Baltimore airport being greeted by Jeannie McStay and Charles Stahler of the VRG. The car ride to what would be deemed 'home' for the next two and a half months was filled with fun and interesting facts about Baltimore's history. Since starting my internship, one thing has remained constant the entire time; People I have met since being here always seem to go out of their way to make me feel comfortable and accepted. If it were not for my colleagues at the VRG, who I now consider friends, I would have slipped into a self-pitying black hole of loneliness.
My first week working entitled a tour of the office (I did not expect the extensive library), an introduction to a few of the people responsible for a smooth running organization, and a crash course on what happens behind the scenes of the VRG which includes what I would then be responsible for.
Major projects for my internship:
- Write a FAQ for the upcoming teen section of the VRG website. I had some trouble with this. The question I originally chose to answer was very broad and did not apply to personal experience I had. After consulting with Reed Mangels and Charles, I decided to go a different direction. Here is the question I answered:
"There is a small local restaurant that offers vegetarian options that no one knows about. What can I do to let people know?"
- Write a Vegetarian Action piece that will be featured in an issue of the Vegetarian Journal. I chose someone close to home to write about; Kelly Green is the founder of the vegan bakery 'Cakewalk' in Salt Lake City, Utah. She was extremely helpful to me during our interview, and even provided some samples (vegan cupcakes, and vegan twinkies called 'dillos') that my family was more than happy to devour. It is hard to describe the way I felt when Debra showed me the format my article would have and how it would look in the Journal. Proud? Yes.
- 2009 survey on Vegetarianism.
"Nothing is ever easy as it seems," would be my choice phrase for describing this project. What I learned from this task is that organization can be my best friend, and math can be my worst. I was required to learn how to use a mail-merge program and make numerous phone calls regarding surveys. The importance of team work and keeping others informed also prevailed, although maybe not so much at first. I would not have not accomplished anything without the guidance of the computer master, a.k.a., John Cunningham.
Attending The Book Expo America was a great way to experience New York for the first time. The first day I helped to carry supplies and set up our booth in preparation for the event the next day. Debra suggested that we see the city while we still had energy and were up for the walk, which meant before the expo began. So that night I toured New York with my native guide (Debra), and the tour even included a restaurant stop in Chinatown for, you guessed it, Chinese food! The next few days would be filled with manning our booth, networking, and collecting books. I was introduced to an array of people that were in some way affiliated with the VRG, and I handed out issues of The Vegetarian Journal to passers by. Occasionally I would talk to someone interested in the VRG and refer them back to Charles or Debra. It seemed like \93Oh my [insert female relative noun] is a vegetarian/vegan,\94 was stated frequently from people picking up the journal. There were also people who felt their need to justify why they still ate meat after you offered them the literature, which I still don't completely understand. By the end of the expo I was exhausted from all of the work and socializing, so I slept and snored on the car ride back to Baltimore.
The rest of my internship time was filled with less 'major' projects, but still important ones. These assignments included:
- Helping with restaurant listings. I've never wanted Thai food more in my life then after doing this.
- Clerical work (like packaging books to be shipped out). Jeannie is a pro at packing boxes, my tape never laid as flat as hers.
- Learning basic HTML, all thanks to Heather's help.
- Writing, editing, and sending press releases. This would not have worked out so well if it weren't for Rachael, the other intern.
My overall experience interning at The Vegetarian Resource Group has been a very rewarding one; I am going back to Utah having gained knowledge and friends. I think when it comes to working for a non-profit, you really have to love what you are doing, and I loved interning here. Thanks to everyone involved in making this encounter possible, and positive.