Overall, interning for the Red Cross has been a fascinating experience. Although it was not my first choice of an internship, I gained appreciation for a work-life balance, developed new technical skills in Excel and SurveyMonkey, and learned about how to improve networking connections.
This summer I worked on time management. I’m not going to say that working from home by myself for eight hours a day was easy, because frankly I felt like I was back in March of 2020, but I felt that I grew personally as well as academically. As someone in Gen Z, I am much more comfortable texting and using social media to communicate however throughout my internship I worked on my phone call (via calling rental car companies) and email skills (via professional communication) which will be helpful when entering the job market.
After completing the survey, I did some data analysis work. I looked at the difference in the workers deployed to the Western Kentucky floods between December and March of this past year and compared it to the flooding happening now in the Eastern part of the state over the past few months. It is cool to see how the data that I worked on is actually being used to improve systems and make sure that staffing can be even better implemented in the future.
Before this summer, I really had no idea what I wanted to do after I graduated. I have had a lot of anxiety about going into my senior year of college and thinking about where I would be in eight months. I realized I need a strong work-life balance and prefer a 9-5 schedule as opposed to a schedule that is looser with many hours at night and on the weekends. I learned that I cannot work in a virtual environment and need to be surrounded by people, both because I am an extrovert and get lonely, but also because it is a much more conducive environment to learning and asking questions in an informal format. Finally, through my networking calls, I’ve solidified that I want to work with communities of diverse backgrounds. Whether that be in the non-profit or the educational sector, I absolutely loved learning about the regional community preparedness efforts that Monica Owns Doyle worked on in Mississippi many years ago post-Hurricane Katrina and am interested in doing that kind of work in the future.
Initially, I was going to intern with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s Faith Based and Neighborhood Based Initiatives Office. Although that internship did not work out, that would be the dream job post-graduation since it combines my interests in preparedness, community-based work, and interfaith work into government employment with a potential second career in education later in life. This summer I was lucky enough to visit with the director of the office and take a tour around FEMA. It was awesome to see their Situation Room and listen in on a meeting. It solidified my interest in working there, but I have a whole year ahead of me, so we’ll have to see about that.
Looking back at the summer, I was incredibly proud of the finished product of the survey (my main project for the summer). It had seven different parts and will be added to a larger survey around January 2023. I hope to volunteer as a disaster response volunteer this winter break and into the future.
Overall, both the internship and the support provided by the Frederick Public Service Internship award were instrumental in my success this summer and I cannot wait to learn more about what my cohort did in their internships and welcome the new class of fellows!