Internship Insights

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Name: Olivia Santarelli, 2013
Major(s): International Business & French
Company: Seventeen Magazine
Location: New York, NY

Describe your responsibilities as an intern:
I worked in the fashion closet as the fashion credits intern. For the August, September and October Seventeen issues, I wrote all the credits (where you can purchase items and how much they cost) for the jewelry and clothing. I checked all of the clothes in and out of the fashion closet. We had to take pictures and logs of everything we used. I also went on a couple of photo-shoots and helped with setting up and organizing all the clothes, and recording each item that was used.

What did you gain from this experience?
Working at Seventeen helped me significantly in deciding on my career goals. Before this summer, I knew I wanted to work in fashion. Because of this internship, I now know that, after college, I want to work in the fashion department at a magazine such as Elle, Vogue, or Seventeen. It was a great experience because being in New York taught me so much about real world experiences, I had never been on the subway before! I also learned how to work with so many different kinds of people.

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Name: Carolina Sànchez-Hervàs, 2012
Major(s): International Studies
Company: Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)
Location: Washington, DC

Describe your responsibilities as an intern:
Food Day was celebrated on October 24 and is a national day to advocate for healthy, affordable food produced in a humane, environmentally sustainable way. I helped organize Food Day events in all 50 states. I also led the foreign embassies project and worked closely with representatives form several foreign embassies located in DC in order to plan Food Day events celebrating cultural diversity. Additionally, I served as the Memphis Food Day Coordinator. I organized a healthy concessions stand at the homecoming football game, a local chef takeover of the Refectory, a Food Day Film Series, and a lecture by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and his wife Ann Esselstyn. I also helped collect healthy plant-based recipes from local chefs as part of a joint initiative between the Shelby County Health Department and Healthy Memphis Common Table.

What did you gain from this experience?
Receiving the training I needed in DC this summer prepared me for this semester′s internship in Memphis. I learned valuable computer skills, became very confident in initiating phone calls and organizing conference calls, had the opportunity to use Spanish and Italian on a daily basis in a formal setting, received access to an endless wealth of contacts, and had the opportunity to learn from leaders all over the country. Having the honor to work alongside the Food Day team and become part of such a tight-knit group of people was probably one of the most rewarding parts of my experience. Through working at CSPI this summer, I was able to get a taste for what it is like to be part of a community of people who are all passionate about food issues. It made going to work everyday a privilege and an absolute pleasure, and this is something that I hope to find in my future career.

What advice do you have for students interested in an internship like yours?
Any student who is interested in an internship like mine must have excellent time management skills, great people skills, and a willingness to work independently. The student must be able to set personal deadlines and meet those deadlines. They must also be able to communicate and interact with people form very different backgrounds. I have had very formal meetings with government officials and I have also had very informal meetings with community gardeners. Also, some people do not do well without a structured internship; this internship does not have a physical office space or constant interaction with supervisors. This is very much an independent internship and what is materialized depends solely upon how hard the student works.

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 Name: Sameer S. Warraichh, 2013
 Major: Political Economy
 Company: Illinois Policy Institute
 Location: Chicago, IL

 Describe your responsibilities as an intern: 
Last summer I worked at Illinois Policy Institute as a "Milton Friedman" Policy Intern. Illinois Policy Institute is a free-market public policy think tank based in Chicago. As an intern, I had the opportunity to conduct policy research on both short and long term projects, ranging from low income housing in Chicago to minimum wage laws in the state of Illinois. I also had the opportunity to write weekly blogs about current economic issues, accompanied by monthly policy briefs and reports concerning the fiscal policies of Illinois. The interns also had the opportunity to travel to Springfield, where we assisted state legislators and policy directors with statehouse activities to promote more transparent and swift decision making.

What did you gain from this experience?
While working at a public policy think tank, I finally had the opportunity to apply my theoretical knowledge of economics to real world policy recommendations. My supervisor helped me write sophisticated policy briefs that effectively communicated free-market principles in a manner that an average citizen would easily be able to comprehend. Before my internship, I was uncertain as to what my career ambitions were, but now I know that I want to pursue a career in public policy.

What advice do you have for students interested in an internship like yours?
One piece of advice I have for all future interns, regardless of their interests, is to not just assume you will be doing the mundane office tasks such as making photocopies, filing papers, etc. Many internships allow students to take on interesting projects that unleash their capabilities. In the process, the student learns a great deal about his or personality. While working at Illinois Policy Institute, I was presented with an opportunity to design/recommend my own policies, something that I had no idea I′d be able to do before.

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Name: Anna Reilly, 2012
Major: Psychology
Company: YWCA of Greater Memphis
Location: Memphis, TN

Describe your responsibilities as an intern:
I interned with the YWCA of Greater Memphis and worked specifically with Common Ground, a race and diversity education program started by Wendi Thomas, a writer for the Commercial Appeal. Common Ground is a six week long program that uses dialogue groups to facilitate discussion about race and acceptance, which in turn facilitates better race relations within the Memphis community. At the end of each session, the groups also develop a plan to give back to the community, whether it be through starting a tutoring program at a local school, promoting voter registration, or working in a community garden. Throughout my internship, I really got to get my hands in every aspect of this non-profit. I worked with promoting the program through media outlets and community service fairs, fundraising, organizing materials for the sessions, and now I have come full circle and am participating in the sessions. I like that I am being able to experience firsthand the final product of all the hard work that was put in by multiple individuals.  

What did you gain from this experience?
The experience really broadened my view of Memphis and helped me realize how racial issues still plague this area. You want to believe that true equality really exists but once you go through something like this, you realize there is so much work left to do to reach that point, especially in the greater Memphis area.

What advice do you have for students interested in an internship like yours?
Get out there and find something that will broaden your view point of Memphis. Working with non-profits is a great way to really get hands on experience in a lot of areas.