Silver Spring, MD
It was still the fall semester in 2008, and I was already making concrete plans for the upcoming summer. At first, my plans consisted of taking six credits the following summer to supplement my degree requirements as an undergraduate Master of Art in Teaching (MAT) student. I hadn’t even thought of an internship, as I am already required to complete a teaching internship. It was by coincidence that I know the Executive Assistant to the Executive Vice-President of Interactive Media at Discovery Communications, Mrs. Gretschel.
After much thought and research into the company, I decided that I should pursue an internship opportunity with Discovery, keeping the “summer classes plan” as a backup. Navigating through Discovery’s internship application processes was a little daunting, but with support from family and MICA’s Career Development Office, I was given the footing I needed to make a great application. Eventually, with Mrs. Gretschel’s advice and experience, I acquired my internship position with the Webworks team of Discovery Creative.
Needless to say, I accepted an internship position for the Discovery Communications Summer Campus Connections Internship Program. I found summer living arrangements with MICA’s summer housing program in the Meyerhoff, and I arranged to either drive or use the Marc/Metro to get to and from Company Headquarters in Silver Spring, MD. It was a definite advantage, because with few summer obligations, I was allowed to focus on my projects at work and treat those summer months as a real preview to an average nine to five job.
The projects I worked on were all Web related or Web based. At first I was given small projects called electronic press kits (eKit), which were mini websites containing press releases, images and/or video clips to promote an upcoming show or series. These eKits allowed me to refine my abilities as a Web developer. I was able to take the techniques I learned in Interactive Media I and II and put them to the test seeing what worked and what didn’t. I’ve become a stronger coder because of it. Later, I was allowed to work on projects of greater importance, such as designing a search page to one of Discovery’s large-scale websites. I was also given the job of designing emailed newsletters that would be deployed to thousands of individuals. My most important and time-consuming project came as a request from Discovery Education to design and develop computer wallpapers, screensavers, and iChat icons for their Discovery Student Adventures Program, which takes students K-12 on educational trips to exotic locations around the world.
These three summer months I invested into the projects I worked on, the professional strategies I was involved in, and even the social interactions and occasions I was a part of, all gave me a full spectrum perspective of what it was like to work in a professional environment such as Discovery Communications. The connections I’ve made are invaluable and will hopefully last a lifetime. And I’m already making plans on returning to work for the Webworks team after graduation.