Sep 16th, 2019, 04:31 PM

AUP Summer Internships

By Muriel DeAragon
Image Credit: OECD Development Center/Creative Commons
From Working on Digital Media for the OECD, to Drafting Letters to Bernie Sanders, and Eating an Epic Rick and Morty Cake.

How does a student find their place in the world after college? This question is on the minds of many AUP students regardless if they are freshmen, seniors or even graduate students. Luckily, AUP has resources like the Internship and Careers Office that specifically aim to help students prepare themselves for postgraduate life through both job and internship opportunities.

After speaking to the Internship and Careers Office, it is clear that summer is the most popular time of year for students to register internships. Even though giving up your limited, warm weather months may seem daunting, four AUP students that did summer internships were happy to shed light on what it is like to intern and the abilities they learned that make them feel better prepared to integrate themselves into the greater (albeit scary) professional world. 

Image Credit: Chelsea Kessler-Bauersfeld

Chelsea Kessler-Bauersfeld, an AUP alumni from the spring class of 2019, majored in Marketing and minored in Film. These two subjects ended up being the perfect combination for her internship at Cartoon Network. Chelsea's internship lasted from February to August and she received an above-average salary of €750 per month (compared to the minimum and more common €550 per month.) Her tasked varied, but primarily she handled digital marketing and public relations for Cartoon Network's online platforms. Chelsea said:

"I could definitely see it as a career option for me. The industry is always changing."

Since Chelsea worked at Cartoon Network's branch in Paris, she helped manage and create social media content for a targeted audience of roughly 12 million English speakers within Africa's English-language territories. Working a typical French schedule, Chelsea's weekly shifts lasted from 9:30 am until  6:30 pm, totaling a 40-hour workweek. Not uncommon in France, she did also receive perks like two-hour lunch breaks and free coffee. Outside of this, she also mentioned that "[she] got a lot of cool merchandise" and loved attending work gatherings where she and her colleagues could come together and unwind.  

Cake from "Rick and Morty" Launch Party, Chelsea's Most Memorable Gathering. Image Credit: Chelsea Kessler-Bauersfeld

Cool merchandise, however, was not Chelsea's favorite part of the internship. The skills and the experience she gained from Cartoon Network are invaluable. Her experience at AUP did help her in the professional workspace. Doing business presentations in her marketing and branding class helped prepare her for 'real life.'  At AUP she learned how to copywrite and edit film. These tools helped her especially when Cartoon Network's online platforms were hacked worldwide. As much of an emergency as this was, Chelsea felt that she was well equipped to help handle the situation. There was even a term that she learned at AUP called 'KPI', which stands for "key performance indicator." She thought this term would not be applied in the professional workspace, but to her surprise, many of her supervisors used it. Her internship also improved her ability to speak French. She was already fluent, but when she was immersed in it, her confidence in the language grew tenfold. 

Image Credit: Zoë Habar-Treves

The dynamic of the social media team was very interesting. I enjoyed working with young women in powerful positions."

Zoë Habar-Treves is a senior at AUP who is majoring in History, Law, and Society, and minoring in International Law. Between June and August 2019 she interned at the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) which was founded in 1961 and currently has thirty-six member countries. Zoë is interested in creating a career for herself in international human rights law. Due to her interest in matters on an international scale, she was already aware of the OECD and its mission which emphasizes "innovation, sustainability, and growth."

Her responsibilities as an intern included but were not limited to creating new content for the OECD's social media platforms, working on graphic design, and occasionally making videos for their Instagram. This internship opened a lot of doors for Zoë and taught her skills that are beneficial in all regards. It was a paid internship that she did five days a week. It was high stress at times, but Zoë was happy to rise to the occasion. She is also from Paris which was beneficial because she was already fluent in French. 

"They trusted my vision." 

During her internship, Zoë appreciated that she was given the opportunity to suggest improvement and take initiative. Even though the new onset of responsibility was a bit intimidating at first, Zoë bought a suit and learned how to acclimate. 

The OECD offers internships for AUP students frequently. Be sure to check recent listings in the AUP internship databases. 

Image Credit: Signi Livingstone-Peters

"If you start with investigative journalism, you have an excellent basis of journalistic skills across the board. You gain the confidence to reach out to people."

Signi Livingstone-Peters is a senior at AUP who spent the summer working under a veteran reporter at the BBC. She is majoring in Journalism and minoring in Politics. Even though her internship was unpaid, the opportunity to work remotely for BBC Panorama (which is part of their current affairs sector) was well worthwhile. Since this was a remote internship, Signi did not go to an office daily but instead shared documents with her superior. They would fact-check each others' work and have bi-weekly phone calls. Most of her research was for a film documentary titled "America's Abortion War."

One of her key responsibilities was drafting letters to a few United States Congresspersons. She spent time researching data and running fact checks on certain percentages. She wrote letters to the likes of Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) and Congressman Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont). This was in efforts to get them to agree to do a video interview for the BBC film. She was in Australia during this time which was beneficial because she could get a lot of work done while her coworkers were asleep. Learning how to file FOIA's (Freedom of Information Act) was "tedious work" but knowing how to acquire this information is "beneficial for future investigative research." Signi also had access to a few interesting law cases.

"Working under someone so efficient and methodical was intellectually and professionally rewarding."

She gained experience being on the front lines of key social and political issues and is proud that she had the ability to inform the general public with a deep level of investigation. 

Image Credit: Annika Johnson

Annika Johnson is a Senior at AUP who is double-majoring in International and Comparative Politics, and History. She did her summer internship at the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which dedicates itself to climate change, biodiversity, clean water, indigenous peoples' rights and the ocean. This organization recently merged into a new nonprofit known as Earth Alliance. It was a paid internship for one thousand dollars which took place in Los Angeles. She worked there from June through August and learned about how the organization does grant-making. Annika did extensive research, especially on other  501 (c)'s (other United States nonprofit organizations that are exempt from federal taxes.). It was a very hands-on experience. 

"It felt like an extension of a university setting. People talked about politics and philosophy. It shows that there is a career path for intellectuals who are highly driven and politically active."

The program directors and even Terry Tamminen (CEO) would frequently give talks and offer mentorship on how the organization works. Annika did not gain this internship through AUP but she is very familiar with the great internship aid that AUP offers.

"Even applying to internships is a good experience. The interviewing process alone is really formative." 

Annika learned that confidence is key. "It's important for other employers to know that you're hirable."

The truth is that, though it may seem daunting to have to tackle an internship on top of school work, they are a great way for students to figure out what they are interested in without becoming professionally invested in the field as a long term career. Ask any of these students and they will be sure to tell you that internships are worth it and definitely something every student should try during their time at AUP.

The center for academic internship and career advising is located in the Quai building. Contact Danielle Savage for more information on how you can get your hands on a great internship. These four AUP students would 10/10 recommend.