The Value of Internships: Our Intern Reflects

Mar 5, 2016

As we’re are preparing to enter the selection process for our next summer intern, I’m thinking about Lucia Dorantes from Ballard High School and Michaela Rutschow from Chief Sealth High School (exciting for me since Sealth is my alma mater – how cool is that?) our stellar interns from the previous two summers. I recall the initial concern that having a high school intern would create more work to manage. I couldn’t have been more wrong. While they did require supervision, they added much fun and energy to our office and helped us get more projects done including things that have been in the “parking lot” (you know what I mean).

Michaela’s reflection of her time with us is below but before we get to that, I’d like to ask your business to consider hosting a student intern. The Seattle Public Schools Academies Programs: Academy of Finance, and Academy of Hospitality & Tourism, the excellent program that made it possible to have our interns is now accepting applicationsThis is a great opportunity to benefit your organization with a low-cost, high value worker for the summer, and at the same time provide a learning opportunity for a student. To find out how your company can host an intern, contact Joanne Patrick, Academy Coordinator at 206-252-0745 (she’s great to work with too!).

Michaela Rutschow, Chief Sealth International High School  

From the moment Lucia [Lucia Dorantes interned with us the previous summer] talked about the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce on a panel, I knew it was something special. She spoke as if it was the best thing that could have happened and I wanted so get a closer look at what she spent her summer doing. I knew that I was going to apply to an internship that the academy provided, I just didn’t  know which one. I’m going to be honest; finance isn’t my passion. I do love the idea of business ethics and the entrepreneurial side of things, but numbers aren’t  my strong suit. When I heard the Chamber was in fact offering an internship and Sealth students were allowed to apply, I was ecstatic! They were looking to hire an intern to continue to revamp their website, work on their social media, and of course other general office tasks. I knew that I had a shot at the internship because I had a brief background in managing web material and working in an office.

When the time came around for the interview I was of course nervous, but I was so excited to show what I had to offer. I was the last person to be interviewed and I thought that the interview had gone great. Sara and I had some great things to relate about and I was very happy to have had the opportunity to interview. One week later I found out that I had received the internship and on May 12, 2015 accepted my offer. I was buzzing that I had the internship that I have had my eyes on since that fall.

My first day was very much like an orientation, getting to know my seven other co-workers and expectations of the work place. I learned that Betty Nokes was the President of the Chamber and that the Chamber serves as a voice for businesses providing leadership, influence, programs and partnerships that advance Bellevue. Sara Garner was my supervisor and had a great demeanor which made it easy to ask questions for any other help that I may have needed. That went for all my other co-workers. They all had tasks, but were very willing to help when I needed it whether it was revising an article or showing me how to reformat a copied picture in the printer.

From this helpful environment I was able to have a positive outlook on coming back the next day and the weeks following. I learned basic office things like how to work a large Xerox machine and editorial things such as market plans and script writing. Working at the Chamber has given me more confidence in my writing ability. It has made me realize the importance of how I use my words and how they may come across. It has opened my eyes to what I want to do later in life and how my writing ability may impact my ability to do my job. I learned new styles of writing and how to format for different situations. Writing for social media was completely different than writing for a press release. In Academy we had a course in Entrepreneurship. From this course I carried over my knowledge of making a plan for social media marketing and how to use it effectively. I can now take my new writing skills and incorporate them with any future business related courses when writing for specific things.

The Chamber is always busy with the next event, reaching out to members, or just working hard. Sometimes I would finish a job faster than Sara was able to go over which made me be proactive and ask for other jobs that I could work on while I was waiting. It made me manage my time wiser because I didn’t  want to waste Sara’s time and I wanted to make sure I wasn’t cutting myself short. When someone was busy and I needed their help, I made sure 100% that I could not do it on my own and then I would ask the next best person for help. At the Chamber everyone was willing to help and work together on projects. Whenever we had an event I would bounce from one thing to another helping whoever needed it. We would work as a team to get things done quickly and efficiently.

On the 28th of August I marked my calendar as my last day at the Chamber. It was a bittersweet moment of leaving the best internship imaginable and being able to have a little bit of summer vacation left. I will never forget the food truck event of sitting in the hot sun while listening to Creme Tangerine, a rock tribute band, or that moment when I heard my script being read in front of many business professionals during a luncheon. It was there I learned how to work a monster Xerox machine and prepare to send out over 200 envelopes in a day. I would have never traded in the three and a half hour daily commute for a job where I met so many amazing people, gained amazing skills and had a summer filled with great events.

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