Add value to your degree with internships

My name is Adonna Biel, and I am a senior at NC State looking forward to graduating in December 2017.  I transferred to State as a sophomore majoring in Political Science. During the last three years, I have been fortunate to have successfully completed four internship programs.  While each internship was different, they all allowed me to gain new and distinct skill sets that I’m confident will be professionally advantageous.  At some of the organizations, the internships were not structured programs, so it was important for me to be self-motivated and self-directed in order to create opportunities for learning along the way.  Knowing how to be a self-starter is a valuable skill in any setting.

I spent my sophomore and junior years interning at the state level with Senator Floyd B. McKissick Jr.  During my time there, I obtained an understanding of the legislative process in North Carolina.  I worked closely with Senator McKissick and his legislative assistant in order to create and execute a social media plan. This was where I first got a taste of digital media and the important role it plays in politics.

In the summer of 2015, I was honored to be selected as the recipient of the Latta Washington Internship Scholarship. The funds I received through the Latta Scholarship allowed me to accept an internship with Congressman David Price in the Washington D.C. office. The internship at Congressman Price’s office was very structured, but interns were able to voice their specific fields of interest.  After my positive experience working with social media in Senator McKissick’s office, I requested to work in the communication department. Working with the Communication Director, I helped design graphics to use for communication purposes and even accompanied the Congressman on interviews. Due to this internship experience, I became aware of the impact media can play in politics and added a communication major.  

I returned to Senator McKissick’s office that fall and at that point I had been working with him for almost a year. I was given the opportunity to take the lead role in his social media presence.

During the summer of 2016, I returned to Washington, D.C. to work as digital media intern for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. This internship exposed me to the campaign side of politics, especially with an upcoming election. I was able to meet and work with congressmen and women on a daily basis throughout their campaigns. My internship position was more administrative than I was used to, but it allowed me to seek out opportunities in other departments which exposed me to the full spectrum of campaign activities.

After serving as a digital media intern, I decided to pursue an internship strictly in media. In September of 2016, I was hired as a news intern for the local ABC affiliate, WTVD. In the fall, I worked directly under one of the producers, which gave me an inside look at a newsroom and the important steps that go into each day. The fast-paced environment only further confirmed my goals, and I worked hard to prove to be an asset to the team. I was asked to stay on as the troubleshooter’s intern, which has allowed me to significantly improve my writing skills both for web stories and scripts.

The biggest benefit I have gained from my internship experiences is the professional network. Because of my internships, I have been able to create a network of resources and contacts in the field I am pursuing upon graduation. Many of these internships were not paid and at times I was responsible for the grunt work, but I have created relationships and connections that will advocate for me as I begin my career. It is extremely important to strive for excellence while in college, especially with academics. However, I have found that often internships add something to a resume that a grade point average simply cannot. While all of my internships were political or communication related, I gained a new skillset from my time spent at each one. I believe internships show employers that you are able to apply the skills you have learned in the classroom and are proof that you can be successful in the real world work environment.

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