According to College Recruiter, 75% of college students participate in internships. Students of UM were no exception this summer from social media to Capitol Hill.   

Kristen Lively worked with bridal fashion designer Heidi Elnora in Birmingham. Elnora is known for being on Project Runway and having her own show on TLC called Bride by Design.  

The bridal shop located in Birmingham provided Lively with an opportunity to sew, help brides develop their dresses and conceptualize visual merchandising.  

“Sometimes we sewed for 8 hours a day, but it was all worth it to see a bride smile at her fitting.  It was a surreal feeling to see a bride wearing what you made,” said Lively.  

Lively said she has always wanted to work in the bridal industry, and, out of all of the bridal shops she applied to work at, Heidi Elnora Atelier felt the most right for her and the experience she wanted to gain. 

“Internships also provide you knowledge outside of the scope of your typical classes. We can speak theoretic[ally] all day, but using the information you’ve learned in class and extending it to real world situations proves most valuable,” said Lively.  

She advised people not see internships as something scary because the experience is more than what movies show. She believes if someone finds the right internship, the relationship between the company and internship should be mutually beneficial.  

According to Lively, showing interest and taking initiative to reach out to companies who don’t have internships programs could result in new opportunities.  

“Don’t be afraid to ask! If a company you’d love to work for doesn’t currently offer internships, contact them and ask anyways. Just showing interest in them sets you up for future success,” said Lively about possible opportunities. 

For Stephanie Dickson, reaching out to receive her internship opportunity was everything. Dickson took a chance when the couple mentioned they needed an assistant, and landing herself an internship by messaging them with her resume.  

The couple, Whitney & Megan Bacon-Evans, has over 44,000 subscribers on their YouTube channel called What Wegan Did Next.  

So far, Dickson has been helping the women run their business by answering emails about potential collaborations with brands and sending information out about what the couple’s channel is. She also runs a weekly Instagram story called Find Femme of the Week on their Find Femmes page.  

“I really enjoy the work that I’m doing because I’m learning more about the business side of social media influencing. It’s really great practice to see how an established brand runs their brand, and how I can apply that to my own platforms in the future,” said Dickson.  

In the future, she will be helping edit and will do more social media take-overs for the couple.  

Dickson will continue her internship through the school year, and will eventually take on editing videos and doing Instagram takeovers for Wegan.  

She feels like the stakes in her career now are significantly higher because her work takes place outside of the classroom because she can see how it directly affects the world.  

Kelly Garrett picked WVTM this summer to focus on becoming a producer. She considers her experience there something that was essential for her before she graduated because she plans to be a television news producer.  

“I knew I wanted to participate in an internship to be able to get the real-world experience in the news industry before I graduated,” said Garrett.   

Her day-to-day involved shadowing producers while they searched for stories, attending meetings, writing stories and executing the news show.  

“Take advantage of all the opportunities you can wherever you intern and try out multiple areas in the organization, you may find your favorite position somewhere you never thought of before,” said Garrett.  

As part of the College to Congress program Kendall Criswell spent the summer in Washington, DC at Capitol Hill. 

Criswell realized how important it is to be the first person that people see when they enter an office. She shared that it was important for her to be her best self for every person that walked in because making connections is important.  

In addition to working the front desk, Criswell answered calls from constituents and conducted policy research on important issues. She also took meetings in place of the Legislative Assistant.  

She shared that the most important part of her internship was the connections she made and networking she accomplished. 

“Making connections with people you meet during an internship can help you in the future when you are applying for jobs,” said Criswell. She believes that it’s important to know a lot of people who can provide great recommendations for working hard at an internship.  

Criswell also commented on how hard it can be to feel like an internship is something someone can’t handle.  

“You will always find out that you are meant to be doing the work your internship lets you do. Just go for it. You are so capable of being a young professional and making a great impression,” said Criswell.