While searching for an internship, I wouldn’t have guessed that I’d end up needing a hardhat, reflective vest, and work boots for the summer. As a senior this year majoring in Marketing and International Business, I am beginning to reflect on the college experiences that have shaped me both professionally and personally. This summer I interned at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey working in the Tunnels, Bridges, and Terminals department. Working at the World Trade Center for the agency responsible for its redevelopment was an incredible feeling.
While most days were spent wearing business attire, the most exciting days happened to be while wearing a hard hat! Throughout the summer I toured Port Authority’s facilities to learn about their design and/or ongoing construction projects. I even got to climb to the very top of the George Washington Bridge!
Some of my responsibilities included writing executive correspondence, newsletters, and mystery shopping (pretending to be a customer) to evaluate the customer service at our facilities. This internship helped me realize the various ways I can apply my degree, like working in the public sector. I was able to see how marketing and communications can be used to push out messages that are vital to the functioning of a city. I started to see marketing as more than just creating messages to sell product. At the Port Authority it is a way to bring important information to people in different languages, on different channels, and as quickly and accurately as possible to make their everyday commute safe and reliable.
My advice to students during their upcoming internships is to network! Make connections with people both inside and outside of your department. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people above you if their position interests you. I ended up writing for the Port Authority blog this summer by reaching out to the editor. Learn from as many people as you can, make them remember you, and stay in touch after your internship.
Don’t be afraid to dive into an area unknown to you…learning is what internships are for! I didn’t know much about the transportation industry before this summer, but now I have a wealth of random transportation facts. Did you know the air inside the Holland Tunnel is cleaner than the air outside? It’s filtered every 90 seconds!
Melissa Jerome is a senior double majoring in Marketing and International Business and minoring in Italian. She is a Social Media Ambassador for UD (@BlueHenMel) and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.