Hannah Fink, a senior communication student at Western Carolina University, completed her summer 2019 internship at Johns Hopkins University. Fink, also a resident assistant at WCU received the link to apply for this internship from her previous supervisor, Graduate Community Coordinator Savannah Matherly. Fink’s internship provided her the opportunity to use the skills she has gained from WCU in a real-world scenario. Fink describes her internship experience in the interview below.
Communication students must complete at least 150 hours at their chosen internship, as well as take an internship course that helps them keep track of all they did while at their internship. How long was your internship and what were your required duties while there?
My internship lasted from May until August. My official title was graduate summer conference coordinator. I actually applied for this position not realizing it was meant for graduate student. However, I was accepted and allowed to complete the internship anyway. I had many duties to complete. I assisted with the supervision of the summer conference students, I worked in conjunction with the administrative coordinator, I provided supervision and guidance to large conference group check-ins and check-outs, I served as point of contact with each conference leader throughout the summer, I maintained accurate records for the summer conferences and I created the weekly work schedule for the participants of the program.
Each communication student is required to complete a certain number of credit hours before able to complete their internship. How did your classes prepare you for your internship?
I have taken many communication classes that were beneficial to my internship experience. Interpersonal Communication was a great course that helped throughout my internship. Learning how to communicate with different dynamics in a professional work environment really helped me. I was required to work with numerous departments and conferences, as well as a large staff. I had to make sure I was communicating professionally with every aspect to ensure the place was ready for each conference. Introduction to Professional development was also a great course that I felt prepared me for my internship. This was a great class that helped prepare me to enter a professional work setting. I was able to construct a well-written resume and cover letter. I also gained interviews skills which were very helpful when being interviewed for my internship.
Students learn a variety of skills throughout the course of their internships that they are able to take with them into their professional futures. What did you learn from your internship?
My internship taught me how to communicate with people in a real world way. I learned time management as well as organizational skills. I was placed into real-world scenarios including crisis management and situations where I had to think on my feet and immediately come up with a solution. I was also in charge of a staff of 10-15 undergrad students which allowed me to understand what all goes into being in a managerial position. I gained a lot of confidence throughout this internship. I had to make decisions on my own and I was dealing with real people in real life situations so I had to make the best decisions I could based off of what I had learned.
How has being a communication major at WCU and completing your required internship prepared you for your future career?
The communication department has opened my eyes to the variety of possible careers in the realm of communication. It’s more than just our major and concentrations. Communication is necessary in every career and in everyday life. Thinking of my future career, I could see myself doing something similar to a communication coordinator or an event coordinator