Grady College Intern Diaries – Katie Darden

The following is part of a series of reflections from our Grady College students about their summer internships.

Name: Katie Darden (Public Relations major from Johnson City, Tennessee)
Title of Internship: Communications and Strategy Intern
Company: US Chamber of Commerce
Location: Washington, D.C.

  1. What are some of the tasks you were assigned each day?

    As a member of the Communications and Strategy team, my tasks varied from day to day. Our team assisted the media relations, social media, and editorial teams, as well as the teams for different issue areas — ranging from immigration to healthcare — to formulate and execute communications plans. There was a lot of work to be done and each group had very specific and different needs. Oftentimes I conducted research, posted to social media accounts and wrote content for various newsletters and websites, but every day I also worked on something unique. The US Chamber of Commerce is a large, diverse organization, so every day really was different for me — which kept things interesting.

  2. What about your internship was the most surprising to you (i.e. What did you least expect going into this experience)?

    As such a respected business organization, I did not know what to expect in terms of the atmosphere of the office. I was so pleased to find that the people within my department were all so approachable and encouraging, and even though everyone worked extremely hard, I thought the staff managed to maintain a good work-life balance. I don't want to say I was necessarily “surprised” by this, but regardless of my prior expectations, I could not have asked for a better work environment.

  3. What do you think was the most influential experience or important skill you learned that you could carry with you as you joined the work force?

    Through my internship I really saw the value in taking initiative and being bold in your work. If there was ever a meeting I wanted to sit in on, a topic I was interested in, or a job I wanted to be more involved with, all I had to do was ask. Showing that you are engaged and anxious to learn is the best way to earn the respect of your superiors, and to land yourself some great new experience and knowledge.

  4. What part of your Grady education did you find most valuable during your internship?

    I am a public relations major, but I have found that the variety of coursework I've had in Grady was extremely helpful to me. By requiring marketing, journalism, graphics and other related courses, Grady has helped me to become well rounded and competent in many areas, which was key in helping me to succeed in my internship.

  5. What is one thing you wish you had known going into your internship?

    With lots of walking and a day that lasts from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the earliest, you must have GREAT (and I mean GREAT) shoes to work in D.C. I learned this the hard way during my first week!

  6. What advice would you give to future interns in your position?

    There was a lot of flexibility with this position, so don't be afraid to ask for more work in the areas that appeal to you most. The leaders within the Chamber truly want you to learn, to grow, and to enjoy yourself, so they were very happy to let you pursue your interests.

Date: October 8, 2014