By Juliana Schott, WE Citizenship Intern
As the great Sheryl Crow once said, “Every day is a winding road.”
My winding road brought me to a summer internship with the citizenship team at Waggener Edstrom. From almost majoring in gender studies, to actually majoring in international relations, to interning at the Department of Justice, and, most recently, to working at a telecommunications company in Portugal, it has been a winding road indeed. Although I have wandered a bit to get here, each job and each experience propelled me to discover the next one, gradually helping me narrow in on what exactly it is that I want to do with my life, or at least with my life right now.
I had a feeling this was the right place for me to spend my summer before graduate school when, during my interview, the leader of the citizenship team said to me, “We want this to be a learning experience. It is equally as important for you to learn what you want to do, as it is what you don’t want to do.” As this internship is my first foray into the world of public relations, the citizenship team and the intern leaders have put in considerable time and effort to make this the learning experience they advertised. They showed me patience when I had to ask what a “comms plan” is. They offered me encouragement when I wrote a coverage report right. They congratulated me and the other interns when we successfully produced a communications strategy for a pro bono project.
As promised, this summer has clarified for me what I want. I have realized that the WE culture is one that I hope I will be lucky enough to encounter again. Everyone is unreservedly supportive and helpful. They are also proud of what they do. When collaborating with my team on a document, I suggested a minor word change, and I was not met with a “meh, its close enough already” attitude, but rather an attitude of “let’s see if we can come up with something better.”
Finally, people have fun here. Where else would employees jump at the chance to compete in superhero trivia for a life-size cut-out of Aquaman? Fun is important.
As I prepare for the next stop on my winding road, a master’s program in media and communications, I am lucky to have landed an internship at a place where I have been able to learn so much, so quickly. I can only hope my path crosses again with the paths of the great people I have met here!