Regional Partnership Intern Shares Experience
Why Internships Matter to Students
My summer internship experience at the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership has been nothing but of high quality. From the application process to getting to know the team, I am blessed to have been granted an opportunity that has impacted me for the better. Working in the talent space of economic development is definitely a role I never imagined to fulfill, but the purpose of the organization and the impact it has on the northeast Indiana region is what drew me in.
Whether it’s a great or not-so-great internship experience, I believe that any experience is great for interns to familiarize themselves with not only the industry they want to work in but the environment they want to work in. Thanks to my time at the Regional Partnership, I am now very well aware of three things: who I am, where I thrive, and how to eat.
I was never able to describe myself when asked the dreadful question, “Tell me about yourself?” It felt as if I was suddenly the least interesting person in the room. However, what the Regional Partnership has provided me with is knowledge of myself that I will take with me wherever I go. At the beginning of the summer, before I officially started my internship, I took the CliftonStrengths Assessment and learned about my top five skills that I would soon put into practice.
Unlike previous assessments that I have taken in the past, this particular test focused on what I was good at and encouraged me to delve deep into that with the help of my Strengths Coach at the Regional Partnership, Amy Hesting. Amy and I would meet every other week and touch base on my strengths. The exercises we did truly helped me understand myself and where these strengths come into play. The last strengths session I had with her was my absolute favorite. We did an exercise that made me well aware of my motivators on the job and in real life. Amy has made an unforgettable impact on me, because I feel that a lot of college students my age struggle to describe who they are, let alone translate that to others in a matter of seconds.
The second lesson I learned during my internship is being aware of where I thrive, and the Regional Partnership is a prime example of this. Working alongside thirteen talented individuals versus two hundred strangers creates an environment that I particularly love. I especially enjoy knowing everyone at the Regional Partnership by their full names, because I cannot imagine working with someone whose name I will remember for five minutes or whose name will forever remain a mystery. Although I haven’t had previous experience in a larger corporation, I am almost certain that it would not be the place for me.
Lastly, I learned how to eat. And by how to eat I mean proper dining etiquette. I am one who is always very conscious of my body language, so the times I went out to lunch or dinner during my internship, I would always second-guess the way I was handling my food. After a few first lunches, I finally mustered up the courage to consult with my manager, Sonya Snellenberger, about this thought of mine during one of our weekly check-ins. She taught me to assess others at the lunch/dinner table in order to gauge the formality of the meeting. I also learned from her the basics of proper etiquette like, for example, cutting food one piece at a time, placing the napkin on your lap, and encouraging the invitee to order first. These are some habits I have never thought about before my internship, so I am glad to have been able to put what I’ve learned into action in order to not feel awkward the next time a lunch or dinner meeting happens.
The amazing people who work at the Regional Partnership have all helped me shape who I’ve evolved into this summer. I am forever grateful to have learned what I did and experienced what it’s like to work in a real-world office. I will most definitely be building my network of professionals up from here and will keep in touch with those who made my summer the best one yet. Thank you, NEIRP, for allowing me the opportunity to be one of your summer interns this year; it’s been one heck of a good time!