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Now, there are a lot of really awesome things about working at the National Air and Space Museum. But I have to say, meeting an astronaut has got to be way up there. Last Thursday there was a Meet an Astronaut program at the Museum with Dr. Thomas Marshburn who, two months ago, returned from a 5 month stint in the International Space Station. It was awesome.

7.24 Marshburn 1Some other interns and I got there a few minutes before they were scheduled to begin, but they weren’t letting anybody else in for the time being (the lecture was in the Moving Beyond Earth exhibit which has a stage and a really cool layout incorporating in a model of the Discovery space shuttle but it doesn’t have a lot of room). So for the first minute or two, we listened from just outside the exhibit room and watched on a screen. But then, when they realized we were interns, they let us in. NASM badge to the rescue!

It was extremely interesting listening to Dr. Marshburn talk about his experiences living and working in space. He showed a video that was shot in the ISS and narrated along with it live, pointing out the especially interesting parts and telling anecdotal instances he thought might interest audience. After the video was over, he spoke a bit more and then opened the floor to questions. The questions ranged in askers (from small children to 7.24 Marshburn 2professionals on their lunch breaks) and in topic (from “what did you miss most” – answer: wife, daughter, cheeseburgers – to “from a medical perspective, how long has it taken for your body to adjust to being back on earth” (answer: after two months, his body is finally close to being back to how it was before he went to space; because there isn’t any gravity in space, his muscles and bones atrophied after months of very minimal use and once he returned he had to build them back up again.) which made for an extremely interesting talk.

Opening up the floor to questions meant that topics were brought up that I would never have considered or known about otherwise. I learned that it’s nearly impossible to shower in space (you know, no gravity and all…) and therefore astronauts just use wet wipes and dry shampoo. I learned about the different projects occurring on the ISS. And I learned that Thomas Marshburn returned to earth via a small Soyuz spacecraft just big enough for the three astronauts it carried which deploys a parachute as it enters the Earth’s atmosphere and lands in the desert. Welcome back to Earth.

I loved that the Museum allowed anybody who attended the free lecture to ask a question. It made the whole event feel very inclusive and enabled everyone to get involved. The lecture should eventually be available online, although as of posting it’s not yet up. It should hopefully be available soon. When it is, I would highly recommend checking it out: http://airandspace.si.edu/events/webcasts.cfm

It was after the event was over that the event title “Meet an Astronaut” came true for the interns. Anybody in the museum was invited to meet Dr. Marshburn or get him to sign something (one man in line had a book filled with astronaut signatures, which seems like a pretty cool thing to collect). When it came to be our turn to meet Dr. Marshburn, all the interns pretty much realized we had nothing for him to sign. We all introduced ourselves to him and explained that we were NASM interns, and he agreed to take a picture with us. So we all gathered together and took a group picture, which was really nice of him and a great souvenir from the experience.

7.24 Interns with Marshburn

So basically, I came to work that day, thinking it was going to be just any other day, but instead I listened to lecture about living in space from an expert on that topic and got a picture with an astronaut. But really, the fact that the day took such an awesome turn really shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me. It’s just another day at the National Air and Space Museum.

 
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StephenMy name is Stephen Lillie, and I am entering my junior year at HPU. For the past month and a half, I have been interning at Chitika (pronounced CHIH-tih-ka). Chitika is a leading Online Advertising Network and Data Analysis company located in Westborough, MA. We recently extended our partnership with Yahoo!, and our data insights were used in Apple’s latest WWDC Conference and can also be seen on top tech sites such as TechCrunch and PCWorld. On top of all of that, Chitika was a finalist in the 2013 Boston Business Journal for Healthiest Employer.

After building a professional relationship with the recruiters, phone interviews, and several interviews including one with an executive, I landed an internship with the Affiliate Network team. The Affiliate Network team is in charge of over 250,000 publishers. The team is responsible for providing our publishers with support and innovative ways to help them generate better income by ad optimization, create marketing strategies (such as newsletters, contests, and email marketing) to keep the publishers engaged, and most importantly keeping our publishers happy and satisfied with Chitika.

I trained for the first week, and then I was given projects to work on that allowed me to collaborate with other departments including our engineering and mobile team. I am currently working on a project, which I can’t disclose too much about, but has projected to benefit the company financially in a big way. It’s exciting to be able to use my classroom experience in the corporate world when I am working with real money and real problems.

My favorite part about this internship is the knowledge I am gaining, and the responsibility I am given. In Hayworth Fine Arts at HPU, it says “to whom much is given much is expected.” This quote fits perfect for this internship because Chitika is giving me a large amount of responsibility and difficult projects to help me gain great knowledge and experience, and in return, I am expected to complete these projects accurately, and in a timely manner.

Looking forward to sharing more information on the projects I am working on soon!

Stephen Lillie

 
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TylerYesterday, I had the privilege of spending a day at Aon in downtown Philadelphia. For all of you soccer fans, Aon is the top sponsor for the Manchester United Football Club, and their name is plastered around the perimeter of Old Trafford. In the business sense, Aon is the leading global provider of risk management, insurance and reinsurance. They handle all lines of insurance and serve as a mentor for hundreds of companies around the world. Twenty interns from the Philadelphia area were invited to spend a day learning about the variety of career options at Aon, and it was a chance for us to learn about the brokerage end of the business.

The morning started off with a brief introduction from the managing principal at Aon Phila and he spent some time talking to us about the skills that will be needed once we enter into the work force. He emphasized the importance of displaying strong people skills and the ability to be a critical thinker. After that, we got to hear from individuals who specialize in client networking, health and benefits, surety, casualty, property and life sciences. Most of the presentations were very informal and they encouraged us to intervene at any time with questions that we might have. Towards the end of the day, we got to hear from an Actuary who works at Aon. This definitely was my favorite part of the day because he was someone who had the same career goals as me. Of course, only two of us were Actuarial Science majors and his presentation put a lot of the other interns to sleep. I guess that they didn’t want to hear about risk modeling and premium pricing.

Spending a day at Aon allowed me to gain a new perspective of the industry that I plan on making a career in. For the majority of the summer, I have had the chance to learn about the client end of the business and yesterday showed me the other end, the brokerage side, and allowed me to network with individuals who have 25+ years in the industry. Some of the presentations gave me insight into what questions to expect in interviews and also taught me useful tips about how to market myself to be a strong candidate. One of the individuals who covered life sciences said that “You need to diversify yourself and allow yourself to be a warm body.” He was trying to say that we all need to find ways to make ourselves stand out and make us have 1 in 1000 character traits. If that could be accomplished, then we all would set ourselves up for strong chances at employment opportunities with the majority of companies in the industry. I also got the chance to learn that some areas of the business make for a near 24/7 work week and that your work really never stops. Guess I better start getting ahead on sleep before I graduate.

 
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6.19 AmyStep 6: Email the pitch, personally addressing the reporter.

Now that the pitch has been written and the picture has been taken, it’s time to email it to the reporter. As I’ve said before, it’s important to personally address the reporter—don’t just send one email with three reporters in the bcc box. Taking the extra time to personalize goes a long way. Also, be sure to proofread. This is so extremely important because you want to look professional and you don’t want to lose a reporter because of a simple spelling error that you could have caught.

I’ve done a lot of reading on when the best time is to send a pitch to a reporter. You want to send when it has the highest probability of being read. For this reason, it’s not a good idea to send on a Friday afternoon because at that point the reporter probably just wants to get out of the office or may not see it at all. It’s also not a great idea to send on Monday mornings because when the reporter gets in on Monday, they’ll probably have a full inbox and you don’t want to be discarded because there are just too many emails to read. For these reasons I try to stick to Tuesday through Thursday to send my pitches, either morning (between 9 and 11ish) or early afternoon (between 1 and 3ish).

In a way, one of the main challenges is getting the reporter to open up your email and take the time to read your pitch. If you choose the right time, have a compelling subject line (don’t just use “Pitch” or “Hello So-and-so”) and a catchy lead, the odds just may be in your favor.

And then you wait. (That is the worst part.)

 
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7.22 on cameraIt has been a few weeks filled with various tasks and assignments including a unique visit to the newsroom from HPU! Pam Haynes, along with a couple photographers and videographers, visited the newsroom early Tuesday morning to take photos and conduct an interview with me about my experience here at WTOP. They also interviewed Amanda Meadows, a fellow HPU alum who is the traffic reporter for ABC 7 News and reports from the WTOP newsroom. We were able to do an interview together and discuss what it has been like working with 7.22 News conferencean HPU alum and the wonderful experience it has been.

Also this week, I had the amazing opportunity of attending the news conference regarding Operation iGuardian, a surge operation to identify and arrest abusers of online sexual exploitation as well as rescue their victims. I captured photos of John T. Morton, the Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, speaking at the conference located at the ICE headquarters in Washington, D.C.

I am overjoyed with the variety of opportunities I have been given so far as an intern both in the newsroom and out in the field. I cannot believe I only have two weeks left here and three weeks until I start my senior year. This summer sure has flown by!