Northwestern University and NNSI alumna Emily Comstock (’18) started out as a college athlete — a fencer — but after two years, she left the team in order to make time for working jobs on campus. Comstock graduated this year and recently began a new job with the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.

“When I was working at NNSI, I was also working at a coffee shop,” Comstock said. “Someone at the coffee shop asked me about my ideal job, and I basically described this job. I want to help people but I also want to write and research, so this job is really lovely.”

Comstock is a program development specialist working with a supporting organization of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago called the Center for Housing and Health, where she is delegated grant opportunities. She is currently working on a grant to submit to the city of Chicago to fund their Outreach Coordination program.

Originally from Arizona, moved to Oregon on her own during high school before relocating to Illinois for college. She identifies as a first generation college student and says her background provides a strong context for how she has developed and grown.

“I’ve had a lot of time to experience and come back to these things and consider how it all changed me,” Comstock said.

Comstock funded her summers at NU by writing grants for research, which sparked her initial interest in research writing. She first heard about NNSI while interviewing NNSI director Michelle Shumate on summer as part of her research.

“[Michelle] was like ‘You should really consider working at my lab because you have so much interest in nonprofits!’ and that was when I was really developing my curiosity about nonprofits and how to make them efficient,” Comstock said.

Working at NNSI gave Comstock her understanding of where she fits in the greater research community, and it’s also where she developed her familiarity and content knowledge about nonprofits.

“I never saw myself as a writer and I never saw myself as a researcher, but now I’ve combined both of those worlds into one to do my job,” Comstock said.

In reflecting on her time at NNSI, Comstock said what she loved the most were the people.

“The people at NNSI are really exciting beings who are so equally passionate — honestly, more passionate than I could ever be — and they just inspired me to be really motivated about the work we did,” Comstock said. “I always found the work to be exciting and innovative, but these people really care — and the work they do and have done is a testament to their commitment to helping people. Every job is important at NNSI.”