Josué Vega, Marketing & Communications Intern
Being a college student for the last couple of years has been—well, tough to say the least. COVID-19 completely overturned established student routines, not the least of which are internships. In April of 2021, I was completing my junior year of college and getting ready to bring my undergraduate experience to a close. However, selecting a truly beneficial internship was a nightmare. Many internships were dissolved, likely due to fear of bringing on new covid contagion risks. The internships that were available were very limited in nature—hardly what I had dreamed. While I began mentally accepting the scarcity of what was available, an email popped into my inbox from my School of Journalism and Communication at Southern Adventist University. Little did I know how much that email would impact my upcoming summer.
The Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce was looking for a Marketing and Communications Intern, the email said. I jumped at the idea. Getting to work with the brains behind much of what goes on in our city? That sounded like something I wanted to be a part of for sure! As I did the interviews and talked with the previous intern, Natalia Perez, I realized that this internship was not going to be just another fulfilled requirement on my road to graduation. I was going to learn and be stretched.
Sure enough, this past summer was one for the books. I got the privilege of working with dedicated professionals who were both incredibly knowledgeable and willing to pass on that knowledge. Amanda Ellis, former Marketing and Communications Manager, started my training before passing me on to Sybil Topel, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, and Jeremy Henderson, Creative Director, both of whom taught me beyond what I could have asked during my short three months at the chamber. While I did start work in person during the summer, another wave of COVID sent us back to working virtually about a month later. However, this did not diminish my internship experience. What a blast it was working with the entire staff! The environment at the chamber is inspiring. It brings out efficiency, teachability, and laughter in everyone. Pretty soon, it started to feel like I had known these folks for years.
Saying goodbye is no easy thing, especially if you are losing something great. But, hey, this opens up the door for someone else to have this amazing experience. Someone like…you? If you are looking for a truly great internship, one that will stimulate your curiosity and learning and stretch you in different areas of knowledge while maintaining a safe, nurturing environment, this is the one for you. Don’t let it pass you by. You won’t regret a second of it.