DePaul Diaries: Life as an ED Intern

By: Sean Nasi, DePaul University digital cinema major ’15

DePaul Diaries is a day-in-the-life blog series written by DePaul students. The series unveils DePaulians’ experiences as interns in their field of choice. Students share their honest thoughts about their experiences, what they learned as an intern and advice for students who are interested in the same field.


Arturo Chang, a political science major, who interned full-time at the United States Department of Education (ED) in Washington, D.C. this past fall. At ED, Arturo’s colleagues and superiors treated him not as an intern, but a full-time staff member. Arturo was given the privilege and responsibility to share his opinions and have his voice heard.

“I had just begun my new internship, and two hours later I was answering questions for the assistant secretary of education,” Arturo said. “It was a shocking experience at first, but it definitely made me feel appreciated and accountable for our successes and failures.”

Arturo enjoyed many aspects of working at ED, including the environment, which he described as a healthy balance between professional and friendly. He always felt comfortable asking his co-workers for guidance as needed to improve his skills. Through the internship program, Arturo improved his writing and communication skills by publishing articles for the Federal Registry for Education Excellence. He also learned the necessary leadership abilities to be successful in his industry, as he had to occasionally lead discussions and even provide advice to people with decades more experience.

Through the internship program, Arturo improved his writing and communication skills…

“This kind of treatment is not common at an internship level, and I appreciated the freedom to work on my own,” Arturo pointed out, who “would be given projects, priorities and expectations without a large amount of direction or overview.”

“ED gave us opportunities to tour the White House, the Supreme Court, and the Capitol Building, and would even organize networking socials at bars in Washington,” Arturo said. These field trips expanded Arturo’s network of connections in Washington. Additionally, the experience allowed him to voice his passions for education at the highest branch of government.

“Understanding how policy functions at the federal level is incredibly useful, and I now feel more prepared to tackle issues at the city level,” Arturo said. He believes the skills he gained at ED will assist him in his current position at the Chicago Board of Education.

Arturo found the internship opportunity after searching the Department of Education’s website, and would strongly encourage anyone interested in the political sphere to check out the opportunity. However, Arturo warns that students shouldn’t expect to be handed a ton of responsibilities right away. “When you work at high-level institutions, you need to prove yourself,” he says. “Use your judgment, and leverage your abilities efficiently to show that you are a great worker.” By leveraging abilities and proving to be an exceptional worker, a student can expect to learn valuable career development skills, impress employers and expand their network of connections, and make a positive, long-lasting impact at their organization.


Want to learn about DePaul’s University Internship Program? Check it out, here, or send inquiries to UIP@depaul.edu. Need help finding an internship? Visit depaul.joinhandshake.com, or come into DePaul’s Career Center to meet with an advisor.

DePaul Diaries: Life as a Software Tech Intern

By: Sean Nasi, DePaul University digital cinema major ’15

DePaul Diaries is a day-in-the-life blog series written by DePaul students. The series unveils DePaulians’ experiences as interns in their field of choice. Students share their honest thoughts about their experiences, what they learned as an intern and advice for students who are interested in the same field.


After attending one of DePaul’s internship fairs, Zachary Graceffa, DePaul graduate, received an offer to intern at Nansen, Inc., a digital agency headquartered in Sweden, with offices in Chicago. After discovering that participating in the internship program at Nansen would lead to a full-time position within the company, Zach happily accepted the internship. This year, he attended the same job fair, but this time as a representative for Nansen rather than a job seeker, coming full circle in under a year.

Zach started his internship at Nansen by watching tutorial videos, which taught him the basics of .NET MVC and EPiServer. As his technical knowledge expanded, his responsibilities gradually transformed from fixing bugs to implementing new features into the system. Zach said that one of his favorite parts of the internship was the collaborative environment. His coworkers were always around to offer up their advice and expertise. “The tools are there to help you succeed, whether it be your top-of-the-line laptop and software, or the people who are incredibly knowledgeable in their field and more than happy to help you learn more,” Zach said.

In the end, Zach ended his internship with more than just an increase in technical knowledge and an outlet to apply his classroom learning to a real-world environment. He ended his internship with a career. “You can read countless articles and documents on the Internet, but there is nothing better than being taught by someone who is successful in the field you wish to be a part of,” Zach said. Perhaps one day, Zach will come full circle again and be a mentor for his own intern.


Want to learn about DePaul’s University Internship Program? Check it out, here, or send inquiries to UIP@depaul.edu. Need help finding an internship? Visit depaul.joinhandshake.com, or come into DePaul’s Career Center to meet with an advisor.

Get Real With: Bloodshot Records

By: Olivia Alfaro, DePaul University health sciences major ’18

Gettin’ real with Sales and Distribution Manager Pete Klockau of Bloodshot Records. In this employer spotlight post, get an inside look at what it would be like to intern with a record label.


 

monochrome hipster vintage label , badge " let's rock " for poster , flayer or t-shirt print with plectrum, starburst and rayBloodshot Records is a record label dedicated to helping passionate and talented musicians in their path to creating memorable and exciting music. Bloodshot helps musicians who create music in various genres such as punk, rock, country, soul, and other genres. If you have a love for music, enjoy working hard, and are interested in pursuing a career in the music industry, an internship at Bloodshot would be excellent. Pete Klockau, sales and distribution manager of Bloodshot, has shared with us what it is like for interns to work at their company, what they should expect, and what Bloodshot looks for in the interns they hire.

An intern at Bloodshot must be a hard worker ready to devote one full day of their week to work. Interns will get the feel of running a record label. “The more inquisitive and ready to learn about the nuts-and-bolts they are, the better,” Klockau said. When going in for an interview, they want potential interns to be knowledgeable about their label, and demonstrate a true affinity and excitement for the their artists.

Bloodshot is supportive of the bands they work with, and the employees are always eager to work. The most exciting and hardest part about working here is to see how a, “small and efficient community the independent music industry can be.”

Just how small you ask? Well the company has a total of six employees. Due to the small staff, each member has many important tasks including communicating with the bands and answering emails and phone calls. They also create spreadsheets, generate mailings, “and due to the tiny DIY nature of the indie biz,” they stuff envelopes and unload trucks themselves. The environment is laid back, but with all those tasks it can get hectic, yet that is all part of the fun.

Klockau shares that the intern’s various tasks, “range from helping stay on top of our radio, press, and social networking and helping talk to record stores, to helping with promotional mailings, posters, and postcards. We try to tailor each intern’s experience with where their interests lie.” This business is not just a place to get a real hands-on experience, that is helpful for undergraduates down the road for graduate school, but it is also an educational experience where interns are encouraged to ask questions and retrieve as much information as they can during their time there.

When it comes to skills, Klockau mentioned, “The most crucial thing is really just experiencing and knowing more fully what it takes to work with bands and promote a record at a full-service record label in the modern era.” If an intern thinks working in a record label is glamorous, they’re mistaken. It is a lot of hard work, but those who truly have a passion for this type of work must love it and believe in what they’re creating. The staff work to, “paint a realistic picture for what to expect after college should they choose to pursue the indie route.” Many of the staff at this record label started off as interns, and now THEIR interns pursue many different jobs within the industry.

Even though landing an internship can be difficult, it can also be one of the best and most rewarding decisions. Klockau‘s advice for people pursing their dreams is, “No matter where you work, make sure you love what you’re doing, love what you’re promoting and embrace it, wherever you are.” He also says to never be afraid to ask questions because it is the only way to learn and is the smartest thing you can do. So, interns, make sure you get the best out of what you are pursing and love what you are learning.

No matter where you work, make sure you love what you’re doing…


Inspired and interested in finding a job or internship in the music industry? Check out Handshake for new career listings!

DePaul Diaries: Life as a US Army Intern

By: Sean Nasi, DePaul University digital cinema major ’15

DePaul Diaries is a day-in-the-life blog series written by DePaul students. The series unveils DePaulians’ experiences as interns in their field of choice. Students share their honest thoughts about their experiences, what they learned as an intern and advice for students who are interested in the same field.


For Bai O’Donnell, a DePaul political science major, the best internship programs are the ones that feel just as important as full-time jobs, such as the United States Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute (PKSOI). “At PKSOI, interns were not treated like interns. We were never asked to file papers, make coffee, or mail letters. Instead, we were treated like full-time members of the PKSOI staff.” While that amount of responsibility was stressful at times, Bai found the real-world experience beneficial to her own career development.

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 2.28.43 PMThe internship program at PKSOI allowed interns to work on projects that matched their area of interest. In addition, students also received their own mentor to assist them along the way. Bai developed a training model that coached UN peacekeepers on how transnational crime might affect the organization’s peacekeeping operations. Although Bai was raised in a military family, her experience gave her new perspective on military operations, and she believes it will do the same for other students. “Working on a military post, with high-ranking men and women in uniform, is an extremely humbling experience, and one will surely come to respect these men and women more than they ever have before,” Bai said.

Bai’s fellow interns really helped solidify her amazing experience at PKSOI. “My fellow interns were remarkable people. Many of them have traveled throughout the world, can speak multiple languages, and have even served in the military themselves. I got to experience people from all ages and backgrounds, which made the summer extremely fulfilling.” More importantly, Bai learned of different opportunities available within her industry from fellow interns. “PKSOI reaffirmed my wish to work for the U.S. government, and in many ways, provided a roadmap on how to ‘get there,’” Bai said.

PKSOI reaffirmed my wish to work for the U.S. government, and…provided a roadmap on how to get there.

Interning at PKSOI was a dream come true for Bai, who has known exactly where she wanted to intern since high school. “PKSOI was located down the street from my house. My goal was always to participate in the internship program, and I am extremely fortunate this wish came true,” Bai reveals.

“The key advice for any future intern is to always give their best, always take responsibility, and always be accountable—for the things that go right, and more importantly, for the things that will inevitably go wrong,” Bai explained.

Bai proves that with hard work and dedication, anyone can achieve their goals.


Want to learn more about DePaul’s University Internship Program? Check it out, here, or send inquiries to UIP@depaul.edu. Need help finding an internship? Visit depaul.joinhandshake.com, or come into DePaul’s Career Center to meet with an advisor.

DePaul Diaries: Life as an IT Intern

By: Sean Nasi, DePaul University digital cinema major ’15

DePaul Diaries is a day-in-the-life blog series written by DePaul students. The series unveils DePaulians’ experiences as interns in their field of choice. Students share their honest thoughts about their experiences, what they learned as an intern and advice for students who are interested in the same field.


After spending three months in the summer as an IT intern for Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, Jeffrey Hoffman, DePaul information assurance and security engineer major, felt more confident about networking diagnostics. As an intern, Jeffrey was tasked with various important security responsibilities, such as vulnerability scans, creating security policies, and general help desk.

“I worked with a small team of people, so I really had some unique hands-on learning experiences,” Jeffrey said. “I was able to sit down with my managers and discuss how certain things work, such as new networking systems I’ve never seen.”

At Mercy Home, Jeffrey felt “extremely valued as an intern,” and was grateful for the opportunity to apply new skills that he learned through hands-on work experiences, such as problem solving, communication, presentation, and technical skills.

“I learned a lot of technical information, but I applied that knowledge in a critical thinking, problem solving environment,” Jeffrey said. In doing so, he also learned more about business operations as a whole, and how information security fits into the puzzle.

Jeffrey believes that the best interns take the initiative to make the experience a positive one. Some advice he would give to future interns are:

  • Actively listen and keep an open mind
  • Ask questions
  • Absorb everything you can. Internships don’t last forever, so get as much out of it as you can. It will be your foundation when it comes to looking for a different job

Jeffrey certainly got the most out of his internship; He is now working part-time at the organization, proving that asking questions and keeping an open mind pays off.


Want to learn about DePaul’s University Internship Program? Check it out, here, or send inquiries to UIP@depaul.edu. Need help finding an internship? Visit depaul.joinhandshake.com, or come into DePaul’s Career Center to meet with an advisor.

Get Real With: Page One PR

By: Renee Radzom, DePaul University graduate, former University Internship Program (UIP) assistant

Gettin’ real with Page One Public Relations Founding Principal Megan (Richards) Martin. In this employer spotlight post, get an inside look at what it would be like to intern with a PR agency.


The public relations field can be tough. All positions are extremely fast paced and you’re working with a number of companies daily. There’s a lot to learn before you jump in and become a PR manager after college. Megan Martin, owner of Page One Public Relations, shared some great insight about how the PR industry runs and how her interns run with it in her company.

An internship in PR isn’t easy, according to Megan. “Most businesses offer remote working in this day and age,” Megan said. So, how does an intern keep up with this new virtual world? Megan explained that communication is key to staying on task. Even though a lot of the work is done outside of the office, it doesn’t mean that it’s not important; it means that communicating with a supervisor is essential to keeping up.

Personally, when looking for new interns, Megan looks for PR majors that are involved with extracurricular activities. Some of the things she lists that are great to mention is being the PR chair at a sorority or volunteering at a local charity. Activities that show you’re out there contributing are great assets to have in the interview room. Megan also loves when potential interns know how to use the program Cision, but that’s not a deal breaker for her.

Activities that show you’re out there contributing are great assets to have in the interview room.

So, are you wondering what it’s like working in this mostly online world? Extremely fast paced! Megan said PR isn’t for “the faint of heart,” but there is still a lot of fun to be had. There are some really cool projects, and you’ll have the opportunity to meet and work with some great companies. 

At Page One, interns are given a variety of tasks and responsibilities. Interns will handle press clippings, assist in monthly recap reports, research event locations and details, build media lists and handle their increasingly vital social media presences. A lot of this can be done remotely, but Megan requires a few in-person meetings a month, as well as weekly check-ins in order to stay up-to-date with the intern. Megan also stated that as long as the intern puts 100 percent into their internship, she is more than willing to help the student find a job after college as a reference, resource or in any other way she can.

Another important aspect that Megan noted was that this type of job can be difficult for some students because there isn’t someone around 24/7 keeping them on task. Megan said that the best way to deal with this is to take it seriously: “Most internships are paid or students receive college credit…it [the internship] needs to be treated just as important as a class.”

There’s a lot to take on in the PR field, and while it’s not for everyone, it can be really enjoyable to those who are interested. For those seriously considering a career in PR, Megan’s company offers the opportunity to get an inside look into the field and to gain personal experience.


Inspired and interested in finding a job or internship in the PR industry? Check out Handshake for new career listings!