Name: Katie Brady
Major: Business & English
Hometown: Denver, Colo.
The first internship is always the hardest. The hours are long, the grown-up clothes fit awkwardly and one is filled with the constant thought of, “I don’t know what I’m doing, I’m super unqualified, and it’s only a matter of time before they all realize it.”
Chances are, you fudged the truth on your resume and you are convinced that your supervisors will either see through the act or expect things from that are way beyond your abilities. However, at the end of it all, those worries were unnecessary; in fact, if we are speaking frankly, a lot of internships end up being monotonous and boring. They become fillers for your resume and a primary source for future contacts and letters of recommendation.
However, sometimes the first internship can be eye-opening and may have longer effects than just an entry on a resume. This was the case for junior Katie Brady, who spent her first summer away from home working in Dallas as an intern for the nonprofit organization Achieve. Achieve is geared toward vocational training and employment placement for adults with disabilities.
Brady heard about the opportunity through the University of Dallas Career Advancement Department, and though she pursued it as part of her major’s internship requirements, she found the experience incredibly interesting and inspiring.
“I worked on the marketing and development side of the equation,” Brady said. “My daily assignments involved event planning, social media creation and branding.”
What made the experience remarkable for Brady was Achieve’s mission.
“It was so interesting to be working for an organization that has a greater goal in mind,” Brady said. “Achieve really makes a difference in the lives of adults with disabilities; it guides them in taking the next step after they complete their education.”
Even though her position was as a marketing and branding intern, she worked closely with the work center at Achieve.
“In Achieve’s work center, lower-functioning adults are hired and given jobs and tasks for which they’re paid every two weeks,” Brady said. “The higher-functioning adults are given guidance in finding jobs and then sent off into the world. One of my regular tasks involved creating spotlight videos of the ‘Achiever of the Week’ in the work center, so I was able to get to know the workers very well. On my last day, the Achievers at the work center even ordered me a singing telegram.”
Even with 150 Achievers at the work center, Brady was able to feel a sense of closeness with them.
“They’re so raw and warm in a good way,” she said. “They express their emotions fully without worrying about what anyone else might think; if they love you, they tell you. It was such a warm and open environment to work in.”
Though Brady doesn’t see a future working in nonprofits, her internship with Achieve gave her experience in both of her fields of interest, as well as patience and people skills. She hopes to combine her love of creative writing with her desire to work in marketing in her future career.
“My boss really wanted me to get everything I needed out of the internship, so she purposefully gave me projects and tasks geared towards my interests,” Brady said. “As an English major, I was grateful for the opportunity to write throughout the summer. But I’m also a business major, so it was helpful to be able to work on the marketing side as well.”