We recently had a bit of a crisis communications situation on our hands here at the National Air and Space Museum, though I won’t go into details because posting about it would defeat the purpose! But it involved one of the historical content of one of the NASM exhibits and could potentially result in bad press for the Museum. In one week there were 250 media hits and we knew we needed to get to work because the “ignore it and it’ll go away” tactic did not work in this case. We had a meeting with all of the relevant personnel and brainstormed what we could do to combat this issue and came up with a lot of great ideas including an essay and Q&A by one of our curators who is one of the best in the field, enlisting partners in the Smithsonian family such as Air & Space Magazine and the Smithsonian Network, pitching our story to media targets, teaming up with other aviation leaders and approaching various newscasters we have relationships with who we know will present the story in an objective and fair manner. It was extremely interesting to view this process from the inside because as the general public we mostly just see the fruits of these labors, not the time that goes into the planning and execution.
One of my major projects is creating a strategy plan for the fourth quarter, holiday. From the start, I have been conducting research about all things parents, students and teachers when it comes down to the holiday season. In between the HR session and the intern party, I had an hour to present my findings. While some things need tweaking and others need more insight, I feel like I did a great job presenting. Overall, presenting to directors and managers are amazing opportunities to work on my presentation skills, answering questions and coming up with solutions. While there is much more work to be done, this milestone is great for me!
6:00AM on my first day of work and boy…I could not have been happier it was sunny out! At 7:30AM I hopped in the car and drove to the ferry port to make the 8:00AM boat to Midtown. An hour and ten minutes later, I arrived all smiles to greet the 42nd street bus that shuttled me from Pier 79 on the West side all the way over to the East side where my office was. Twenty minutes later, I hopped off the bus a few blocks early to see if I could scout out the infamous Park Avenue Starbucks shop. I had heard they make some of the best made-to-order coffees but one had better know what they want or it’s to the back of the line for you! Having found the shop, I happily sipped on my chai tea latte as I lugged my oversized “duffel-bag-purse” (as my Dad calls it) up to 288 East 45th between 2nd and 3rd. The “city girl” life seemed a little more glamorous in my head…and there was definitely someone to help me carry the huge purse on my shoulder in my vision, but so far the first day was going very well and I hadn’t even made it into the office yet!
The Brand Influencers office is located right in Midtown on East 45th between 2nd and 3rd. Being at the heart of the city is an excellent location for a buzzing marketing agency such as ourselves. Though this hot spot is a wonderful place to work, we interns (especially those of us from Jersey a.k.a. commuting territory) have to travel from what seems like light-years away just to get to work in the morning. Before starting day one on the job, I strategically mapped out the most efficient route to work, which quite literally involves the car, to the boat, to the bus. In two hours time I figured out I could make it from my home in central NJ to the 15th floor of Brand Influencers’ office with time to spare to get the infamous cup of Starbucks coffee.
This past Saturday, I was finally able to begin my internship! For my internship, I am shadowing a staff member of the Division of Youth Rehabilitative Services in Delaware. This is a secure residential treatment program for boys and girls who have been adjudicated by the Family Court. I am connected with the family counselor in one of the boys’ cottages. I just met her, but I already know my new mentor is a wonderful woman and I am glad to be working with her for the next two months. She seemed pretty excited too. It took very little time to get right into the mix. My mentor told me that in the cottage we currently house 14 boys. She also told me a little bit about each boy, and how they ended up in the cottage. The boys are between the ages of 13-17 and have been placed into the program by the court system of Delaware. Each boy is required to stay at the cottage for a minimum of 90 days. After a brief description of the current situations, I was able to sit in on my first family counseling session. I spent this time listening and observing how my mentor handled the various situations that arose. I did get a piece of advice from the mother of the boy being counseled. She told me not to be stiff; reminding me I would be working with “real people.” She is right. I took notice that to be an effective counselor, a connection with your patients must be created. Along with assisting my mentor and sitting in on both family and individual sessions, I will also be helping organize events at the cottage and decorating the cottage bulletin boards. I’m excited to get started and begin these tasks.
I think of this internship as an introduction to the experiences I will likely face in the future. I hope to one day be a member of a similar staff, or become a substance-abuse counselor. I want to further my education in counseling psychology and continue from there. This internship is my first experience into the real-life working field of counseling. I am considering it my “make or break,” as in helping me decide whether or not I truly want to get into this field. I am currently a junior at High Point University, majoring Strategic Communications, Spanish and minoring in psychology. I have always had a strong passion to help people and my psychology class this past fall taught me a way I could help people as a career, so let’s see where this goes.