My time at GBSN has come to a close, but these past three months have proved to be much more than just another summer internship. What I’ve learned this summer has been more enriching and fulfilling than anything I could’ve imagined.
The saying, “you’ll learn everything on the job as you go,” proved true throughout my experience at GBSN. My education and previous internships have given me the basic tools to succeed, but interning at GBSN has given me the first-hand, real world learning experience I need to flourish in the future.
As a rising 5th year senior at the University of Maryland, I sought something a little different when seeking an internship for the summer. I have been fortunate enough to intern at the United States Embassy in Manila, Philippines, at a public relations firm in Rockville, MD, and at a digital political campaigning firm in Columbia, SC, but none of those positions compare to what I’ve experienced at GBSN.
My favorite thing about interning at GBSN is the fact that I never actually felt like an intern, rather a colleague. In a structured internship program, like at GBSN, there's considerably less room for busy work or (even worse) dead time. Forget the coffee runs (only had to make one all summer,) printing paperwork and data entry. Instead interns' schedules are filled with meaningful projects, staff meetings, and strategizing sessions. Interns are given ownership over projects and real responsibility with day-to-day operations. During my time at GBSN I was given a variety of projects and assignments that ranged from: writing blogs, designing social media share images, drafting membership emails and invoice proposals, fabricating email blasts and monthly newsletters using Adobe Dreamweaver, creating marketing reports and executive summaries using Adobe InDesign, website development, and developing marketing materials for online webinars. In my opinion, the secret to internship fulfillment is: knowing your work has value – GBSN’s internship program does exactly this.
It would be remise of me not to mention the individuals that made this experience possible: the GBSN staff. Guy, the CEO and founder, warms your mornings with his friendly charm and takes much pride in making everyone feel welcome. I had the pleasure to work with Lisa, the go-to person for anything membership or conference related, in organizing GBSN’s upcoming webinar, Design Thinking Pedagogy and Practice, and designing email blasts and webpages for GBSN’s 10th Annual Conference. Amanda, who’s responsible for capacity building programs, always kept the office mood light and refreshingly serene (world famous beverages were a plus.) Page, the COO and final decision maker, challenged me to find my niche and explore why specifically I’m interested in the field of Public Relations. Page is extremely good at what she does, and despite her busy schedule she always made a point of giving useful and constructive feedback. Last but not least, Nicole, my day-to-day supervisor and office manager/technician/accountant – i.e. the cog that turns the wheel. Without Nicole things would not operate as smoothly as they do, she has undoubtedly earned my respect and admiration for the work she does at GBSN and the patience she’s shown me.
This internship has been an extremely fruitful and rewarding experience and I know it will be very beneficial in the future. Thank you for making me genuinely feel like part of the GBSN team!
Jasper McElrath was the Event and Communications Intern at GBSN. He is a senior pursuing his degree in Communications: Public Relations at the University of Maryland.