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Department of English

Online Internship: Arts and Humanities Nonprofit

Intern: Cassandra Griffing, Senior, English

Workplace: aha! Manhattan

Faculty Supervisor: Allison Kuehne; Deborah Murray

Course: ENGL 495

Semester: Summer 2020

Cassandra on English Sign

Cassandra’s internship at aha! Manhattan happened during, to say the least, an unusual time. With the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing in the summer of 2020, Cassandra had to adjust her initial plans for a face-to-face internship and pivot her efforts online.

During the internship, Cassandra worked with organizations of aha! that expressed interest in being promoted and wrote articles about their ongoing, “COVID-19 friendly” events and activities. She accompanied these promotional articles with pictures she took at the event or organization and then posted them on the aha! Manhattan Facebook page. While she did much of her work remotely, she also visited most of the organizations in person and interviewed the representatives in a safe and socially-distanced manner.

Despite the circumstances, Cassandra found her aha! Manhattan internship very enjoyable: “I got the opportunity to attend unique community events in Manhattan, either online or in person. I also had the wonderful opportunity to meet and work with many of aha! Manhattan’s representatives. The internship challenged me to go with the flow, especially during quarantine times!”

Reflecting on the quarantine internship experience, Cassandra stressed that she learned and practiced the important skill of flexibility. In addition, she developed promotional writing skills, the skills to write professional emails and enticing subject lines, the ability to target specific audiences, and the ability to set and meet deadlines. “My favorite gains of the internship,” Cassandra said, “were networking within Manhattan and experiencing the events and organizations that I otherwise wouldn’t have.” With all of these skills and experiences, Cassandra is feeling confident in her transition to the professional world.

Deborah Murray, one of Cassandra’s faculty supervisors for the internship, was very pleased with her performance: “I was impressed by Cassandra’s commitment to showing up for 8 a.m. aha! meetings, her persistence in repeatedly emailing folks to fact-check her articles, and--perhaps, most of all--her flexibility in adapting to the constraints of a pandemic. Her articles and her compelling photos drove attention to our aha! Facebook page--one of our most efficient ways to inform Manhattan of upcoming events in the realm of the arts and humanities in the region.”

To her fellow English students, Cassandra highly recommends aha! Manhattan as an internship site: it allows a variety of creative projects that a student may want to pursue. Cassandra also suggests that students intern before their last semester. “Doing the internship during the summer allowed for it to be my main focus, and I felt that I got more out of it this way. Now, I am able to finish out my last semester with some potential job ideas in mind through my previous internship experience.”


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