A group of Hamilton seniors gathered in KJ 201 on Sept. 14 to discuss their respective internship experiences as part of the “What I Did This Summer” Communications Panel. Each member of the five-person group came upon his or her internship through a different means, and all had useful and pointed perspectives to share on the process of finding summer work. A pair of moderators led an informal Q&A session with the panelists, who took audience questions at the end.
Rachel Alatalo ’18, a creative writing major, spoke about serving as the communications intern at OutRight Action International, an LGBTIQ human rights, non-governmental organization (NGO) based in New York City. At OutRight, she worked to prepare press releases and statements, contact journalists regarding articles and interviews, and research and write blog posts for the organization website and other publications.
After discovering OutRight on HamNet, Alatalo applied, excited to work for an organization whose mission she found personally resonant. “More than anything, during my time at OutRight, I learned that knowing when and how to ask good questions is essential,” Alatalo said in a statement that was echoed by her peers.
Next, Alan Yeh ’18, a literature and French double major, discussed his work at CONAN as a general production intern, an entertainment industry job that is notoriously competitive and unforgiving. Though tasked with what Yeh described as “Devil Wears Prada cliché intern work,” his time at CONAN served as an opportunity for Yeh to make good impressions and forge important connections with professionals in the field.
Natasha Espinosa ’18, a sociology major, also worked in the entertainment industry as a standards & practices intern with Viacom, a mass entertainment company that owns various networks like Nickelodeon, MTV, Vh1, Comedy Central, and others. As an s&p intern, Espinosa reviewed network content to ensure its appropriateness for the brand and intended audience.
Meanwhile, Julia Smith ’18, a fine arts major, concentrated on the graphic design component of brand creation. For the past two summers, she has worked with Boston-based marketing agency Partners & Simons. Last summer, Smith experienced the accounts side of advertising, a department she quickly realized was not especially well-aligned with her interests. Instead, she has found herself at home in the creative department, designing logos, and developing brands and websites.
Finally, Nelly Green ’18, a creative writing major, discussed her experience at McIntosh & Otis, a full-service literary agency based in New York City. During her time at McIntosh, Green brought the company up-to-date on their backlog of over 700 queries (a query is a one-page summary of a book sent to literary agents), and read manuscripts for the adult thriller genre.
Though each participant honed a different set of skills at their respective jobs, all came away with important insights as to the qualities of a successful worker in the professional sphere. All emphasized the value in knowing when to ask a useful question and in showing initiative when it is opportune. “It is important for interns to remember that they’re not supposed to know everything. Diving into something you don’t know how to do perfectly is the best way to learn it,” said Smith.