By Sherin Samuel
Going into the media and communications internship with Stony Brook’s political science department, I was extremely excited but also scared that I wasn’t going to be good enough for the position. I knew it was going to be a lot of work right off the bat, but I wanted to gain experience in communications. I had never really focused on that area before.
Flash forward to three months later, and I end up enjoying this internship more than any other one I’ve ever had. I was directly involved in changing and helping out the department in many aspects. I got to voice my own ideas, as a student, on what changes I thought the department’s social media platforms and websites needed. One of the many projects I assisted with was Giving Day, for which I helped to create content to share with alumni to entice them to give. I edited videos and took photographs of professors teaching in-person classes.
Most weeks, I would update the department’s website, take photographs when needed and make sure to update content on the department’s social media platforms by continually posting on them. My favorite part about the internship was conducting faculty outreach meetings with the political science professors. I learned a good amount about the research that the faculty were producing. Along with being a journalism major, I minor in political science, which is recommended for interns who take up this role. Having a background in political science really helped me to understand the projects that the faculty members are currently working on. A lot of the information I gained, hearing about their research on paper and projects, coincided with content that I was learning in my political science courses. Not only did this internship help with my minor, but it also built my journalism skills by helping me to write and edit better.
Something that really helps me in a work environment, and something that I personally find helps me to excel, is liking the people that I’m working with. Though this internship was remote, the department administrator, Michael Boerner, was mainly in charge of the jobs I was given, and it was absolutely fantastic to work with him. Michael understood that I was a student at the end of the day, and that always came first, which I truly appreciated. He let me be flexible with my weekly hours and encouraged me to take a break or move some of my hours to a different week if need be. I think one of the biggest features that made me really love this internship is how much Michael assisted me through any situation I needed help in. Not only did I come out gaining expertise with communications, but with Michael’s guidance, I also gained knowledge in web design, fundraising and web analytics.
Finally, taking additional work onto my plate besides school work meant I had to force myself to be better with time management. This internship involved deadlines that I had to meet at certain times within the week or month, so I really had to learn when it was time to do my school work and when it was time to complete my internship hours. Having my hours set in the beginning of the week really helped with this.
I could not recommend this internship more than to students who are interested in journalism and political science. It’s a great way to gain more knowledge in communications, and it ties into journalism because it involves interviewing and writing up spotlight stories. It ties into political science because you learn about new research from faculty members who were, are, or soon might be your own professors. This internship lasts for two semesters, so I will be working over winter break and the 2021 Spring semester, and I’m excited to see what else I’ll learn.