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Robertson School summer intern shares her tips for landing an internship

Aug 15, 2019

Posted in: News

Taylor Burress, Communications Intern

Photograph of McKenna Day
McKenna Day, Robertson School, Public Relations major.

This summer, junior public relations major McKenna Day spent 12 weeks as a content marketing intern for Ellucian.

The process of interning at Ellucian started with Day applying online with her resume and portfolio. As many students do, Day had to pull from an archive of projects, assignments and work from her classes that best showcase her skill set. This often requires reaching back out to old professors for advice, assignment details, letters of reference and more. One of the portfolio pieces Day chose was an essay she wrote in her Prison Literature course at VCU with Associate Professor David Coogan.

"She was very focused and serious, always pursuing ideas about social justice and compassionate solutions to mass incarceration from class to class, book to book, in an independent and ethical way," said Coogan. "She was never glib. She came prepared and spoke only when she had something important to say. And she wrote this way, too, from a place of thoughtful consideration."

After submitting the necessary materials, Day had a phone interview, followed by a series of video interviews with hiring officials in the organization. As a pro tip to her peers, Day commented, "On each video call, I was sure to be dressed professionally and in a quiet place with good internet connection."

After Day's first week with Ellucian she felt she was in the right place. Her tasks vary from day to day, and she typically works on content creation, social media posts, tracking posts reach and engagement, writing newsletters and announcements and long-term projects. Those have consisted of creating a newsletter template, helping build a survey and making an intern video.

"As a college student, I thought it was very cool to be working with a company that has an impact on my life, my friends’ lives, and so many more people around the globe. I realized I knew more than I thought I did, and what I didn’t know, I simply taught myself or asked for help,” said Day.

Day's best advice she could give other students who are looking for internship opportunities is to not be shy.

"In an interview, you only have one chance to show who you are and what you have to offer a company, so let your personality shine bright," said Day.

She added that LinkedIn is another essential advantage for college students to know about, have and be actively using.

"LinkedIn is essentially your second resume for employers, and it’s important to get yourself out there now so you can begin making connections and building a strong profile for future employers," said Day.

Day hopes to continue working for Ellucian as a part-time remote employee after her internship ends and she returns to VCU.

"It has been an amazing experience working as an intern at Ellucian. For a tech-oriented company, they could not be more people oriented," said Day. "They truly care about their interns’ experience and helping them in building their skills towards the career path of their choosing."

To follow Day's professional journey, connect with her on LinkedIn.

Please also read about the internship experiences of other Robertson School students this summer:

Madison Blum had a communication internship at the American Chemical Society.

Kevin Nguyen studied and interned in Vietnam. 

Sarah Danial landed a fellowship at CBS News in New York.