Hokies traverse the world through unique summer internships
Jess Calvert, a junior majoring in professional and technical writing, was called to London for a study abroad trip, but in the last two weeks of the program, her trip was transformed into an internship experience with a prominent public relations company in the city.
The College of Liberal Arts’ “London Calling!” program places English and Theatre students in England’s biggest city to learn about literature, social issues, and public discourse. "I had some unforgettable experiences that went beyond the traditional touristy spots," said Calvert. "It was a literature nerd’s dream."
This year, an added component of the study abroad was a two-week internship opportunity. Jess connected with Richmond & Towers, a public relations and digital marketing company located in the heart of London. In what she described as an "ideal work situation," Calvert partnered with other young professionals to conduct research, create content calendars, coordinate photoshoots, and more. “It was a great balance between working hard and making lifelong relationships,” she said.
Despite her love for Blacksburg, she will miss the excitement and experiences of England. "I actually feel a little homesick for the city," said Calvert. "London has my heart."
Why would a public relations major browse the booths at the annual engineering expo? For Melaine Do—the sole humanities major surrounded by hundreds of STEM students at the event—the tactic was part of a successful strategy that led her to an internship at one of the one of the most highly-ranked and respected engineering companies in the world. Do spent the summer working in the greater Washington, D.C. metro area. As the sales and marketing intern at the Arlington, Virginia offices for Jacobs, Do’s responsibilities included writing proposals and articles. But her role didn’t confine her to the office. Do visited construction sites, attended lunch-and-learn events, and even made it to a few company-sponsored baseball games. “Jacobs has had to be one of the most friendly and welcoming engineering companies,” said Do. “They have a core value of safety and caring for others, and it filters out to the work culture.”
Do also had the opportunity to work side-by-side with supervisors and veteran members of the team as they secured multi-million dollar projects for Jacobs. Thanks to the company’s caring culture what might have been an intimidating experience was actually an amazing educational opportunity. “I learned so much from them,” said Do. “My team made me want to be a better person and ultimately a better mentor for those I work with in the future.”
In the United States, millions of children live in poverty and don’t have access to adequate educational resources. The issue, known as educational inequity, has far-reaching adverse implications, which Teach for America is working to resolve. Through a seven-week summer fellowship program, the organization brought together a team of 30 college students from varied academic and personal backgrounds, to partner with schools and nonprofits to work toward resolving the problem. Brendan Coffey, a senior majoring in multimedia journalism, was among the participants, who spent four weeks living and working in Chicago and then another three weeks in McAllen, Texas.
While in Chicago, the team worked with a school to create a curriculum to introduce elementary students to post-secondary options, such as college and vocational school. After transitioning to Texas, the group worked to connect a growing population of students with diabetes to needed support from the region’s teachers. “From those in my cohort to the professionals in the schools, I met incredible changemakers from across the country,” said Coffey. “I learned how leading with my identity and strengths can elevate my impact, and accelerate my ability to live out Ut-Prosim.”
--Written by Brendan Coffey