Coming off an 18-month hiatus due to a pandemic, A2LA’s seven interns began their experience in a training room at 9 AM on May 24th, 2021. To kick off the summer, we were given a badge, a computer, and a wealth of information.
A2LA has hosted interns for the summer since 2012, even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. While in the office, interns are offered a wide array of education and real-world career experience throughout their 12-week program. Each department head explained their career timeline and how their position is integrated into A2LA and more importantly, how their work is changing the world.
“This internship has set the foundation for what I really want to do in the future. Through A2LA’s rotation program, they’ve exposed all of us to different fields so that we are open to more opportunities in the future,” says Heather Chen, business development intern and rising sophomore at Cornell University. “Most importantly, a lot of what I’m learning in school, I’ve been able to apply here at work.”
Not only did we each fulfill tasks for departments such as government relations, human resources, accreditation services, but we got to develop our professional skills in a safe space. We upgraded our LinkedIn profiles, gave presentations to the executive board, learned how to personally brand ourselves, and began to formalize an idea of our professional futures.
Let’s not forget about the real fun, too! The summer interns spent a day of team bonding, where we were challenged with two escape rooms and enjoyed hibachi. We attended the summer picnic and played in a cornhole competition against coworkers. We created a wellness challenge for the office and competed (healthily) against each other. Day in and day out, we ate lunch together and grew alongside each other. A2LA fostered a community of friendship along with work, which the interns capitalized on this summer.
As we look back on our three months spent at A2LA, we see unimaginable growth. We began this process as shy, inexperienced college students looking to sit in on a meeting or two. We left with tangible experience and real-world knowledge in the workforce. We met state legislators, planned a 300+ person convention, drummed and created a song with Angus Clark, created videos highlighting A2LA’s culture, overhauled A2LA’s membership program, and more.
The summer internship program ends on August 14th, but the experiences we’ve gained here will lead us through the beginning of our professional careers. Thank you A2LA! For more information about being an A2LA intern, click here.