The College of Humanities and Social Sciences encourages students to participate in internships that help them explore career options and acquire real-world experiences. In this Q & A, Briana Ullman demonstrates the power of proactive research in acquiring internships, and shares how her internship provided new skills, knowledge and insights.
Briana Ullman is a sophomore Communication major with a concentration in public relations. She found a summer internship after her freshman year, thanks to some curiosity, proactive communication, and self-advocacy. Take-away: Sometimes all you have to do is ask!
How did you locate your internship?
I found my internship by complete chance. My parents gave me a DoubleNest Hammock as a present, and my dad mentioned that the company, Eagles Nest Outfitters, Inc.(ENO), was based in my hometown of Asheville, NC. The company is an industry leader in packable travel hammocks and other outdoor accessories. I thought it would be great experience to work for a company that makes something I love. So I did a little digging on LinkedIn and found the page of ENO’s marketing coordinator. I sent her an email introducing myself and asked if there were any summer internship opportunities available. I was amazed when she said yes! I interviewed in May and began working at my dream job as a PR and marketing intern.
Describe the internship.
I worked about 20 hours a week from May to August managing social media, creating original content, editing and publishing entries for the company’s blog, and contacting media about promoting or reviewing our products. I saw how the company works from taking product photos (and lying in a hammock for some photo shoots!), managing the distributor access site and vendor portals, and interacting one-on-one with customers. I connected with writers from newspapers such as the Chicago Tribune, leading industry magazines, and high-profile blogs, and became familiar with Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Bit.ly and WordPress. I learned something new every day!
How did your internship relate to your major, your career goals, and your personal interests?
My internship perfectly coupled my love for the outdoors and my desire to learn more about my major. My favorite thing about ENO is that their products can motivate anyone to get outdoors and enjoy themselves. It’s fun to see where people will hang their hammock. Not only did I learn what a day on the job looks like in the public relations field, but I got to explore what it’s like to represent a company that its consumers are so passionate about. It was absolutely inspiring, and made me even more excited to continue along my career path.
What did you learn?
I found that the best way to find success in what you do is to learn as much as possible. I tried to take on as many tasks as I could each day to gain experience. Even though it involved asking a ton of questions and sometimes getting frustrated when a task was difficult, I feel that I made the most out of my experience at ENO because I learned everything I could.
What were some of the challenges?
Some of the challenges I faced were struggling to learn how to work programs that were totally foreign to me and getting frustrated that I couldn’t grasp them right away. But now that I have so much more experience under my belt, I’m grateful that I was thrown into these new situations and had to learn quickly.
What were some of the rewards?
My work with ENO has given me so many rewards both personally and professionally. I learned about one of my favorite products, how the brand interacts with their customers, and the outdoor retail industry as a whole. I expanded on existing skills and discovered new skills that are critical for public relations work. I reaffirmed my love for what I study, and gained experience in the workplace by interacting with an incredible staff. I couldn’t feel more rewarded by this experience.
This Q & A was conducted by Dara Leeder, director of student recruitment and retention in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.