In these ways, I have also found artistic satisfaction in my ability to write effectively and attractively. To be able to write simple content is one thing, but trying to incorporate a message or a bigger idea is what stimulates creativity. Not many of my assignments have been clear-cut, and most of the time I have been given a lot of leeway to figure out how I want to position myself on a topic and to put my own spin on something.
In some of my major pieces of writing, I have articulated novel aspects of the industry, its innovations, and various concepts. To be given a project without any specific instructions, just the word count and topic, may seem to allow too much room for error; however, it fosters the creative process. I’ve been given the tools to conduct my own research, plan my outlines, and make everything flow the way I see it. I’ve had the chance to show my creative and original side while completing necessary articles and projects.
Working with the AED team in this construction-related environment has also educated me about the skills gap in the industry, specifically, the lack of qualified technicians. The magazine gives great importance to the technical trades. Almost every publication that AED produces has some mention of the lack and of the industry’s low emphasis on trades. Reading and writing about these issues brought a sort of awareness that I wouldn’t have otherwise had. Being mindful of these current topics is crucial not only to the construction industry, but to the people outside of it as well. I’m aware of available career opportunities that, quite frankly, many people know nothing about. It’s obvious that this lack of employees contributes to the struggle for survival among construction firms as well as the distributors involved. AED has given me insight that might eventually be transferred over to help those in other industries.
Spending my summer here at AED has also made me really think about my degree and my career path. Pursuing a degree in marketing has definitely been one of my favored options; however, I’ve been a little teeter-tottery about my minor. Originally, I was set on reaching for a major in marketing and a minor in writing. One of my major passions is writing; I enjoy putting together formats, giving flow to paragraphs, and delving deep into topics. However, throughout my internship, I realized that perhaps my chances in the work world would be less complicated if I pursued a different course of study that still had those aspects but was something in which I could have more flexibility. Sara Smith, director of marketing and communications, has been my inspiration to switch my minor from writing to communications. I’ve decided that I need to go after a minor that will pertain to my main field of study to the greatest degree. I don’t know if I would have made the switch if I hadn’t had the experience that AED has provided me.
Q&A: Ask the Intern
AED’s marketing intern, Katie Kremer, worked with the communications team during the summer of 2017. She was involved in a variety of marketing projects involving critical thinking, content writing, and presentation. Katie successfully executed multiple assignments and improved in the aforementioned areas. She collaborated with our team and the AED staff smoothly and brought new perspectives to AED.
With her study focused on marketing at Carthage College, Katie is excited to apply the skills and experience she gained at AED toward her education. Below is a day in the life of an AED intern, and why you should consider an internship program in your own company!
Q: What are your long-term goals?
A: I want to pursue my marketing degree. I aspire to work in the fashion industry, hopefully in the realms of marketing and communications.
Q: Where do you see yourself in ten years? Twenty years?
A: Age 29 is far away. Thirty-nine is even farther away! At about 30 years old I hope to have a stable job and a steady income, maybe even a “mini me” running around the house, too. At around 40 years old, I see myself in a strong position in a well-respected company, somewhere I’m comfortable with finances, my environment, and people.
Q: Given your experiences so far, is marketing and communications something that you are interested in pursuing?
A: I must admit, working at AED has given me insight into communications. I was already interested in marketing, but seeing how these two really connect with each other, I’m considering switching my minor from writing to either a minor or a double major in communications. Seeing how both these aspects interact with each other in a real working environment gave me new insight into what I have ambition for.
Q: What skills will you take back with you to Carthage, and how will you apply them to your studies?
A: Having this background experience in my intended major will prove to be greatly worthwhile. Here at AED, I have learned that the presentation of something matters. Whether I’m at work or in school, it is truly essential to articulate the best wording, the best colors, the best image for making an impact with a presentation. After several meetings and over 12 revisions of flyers and brochures, I have come to realize that it is so important to have the confidence to be straightforward with others. Often, I noticed myself holding back something I wanted to say, in fear that it might be shot down. However, no opinion is stupid – it’s just a process of communication and modification that creates a desirable end. Teamwork makes the dream work. Thanks to the exposure I got in the marketing and communications world, I will carry this newly gained confidence and training into my future studies in those fields.
Q: What does a typical work day at your internship look like?
A: As soon as I get to work, I sit at my desk and open my email—checking to see if there are any new projects that I need to work on, or if there are any meetings scheduled for that day. Immediately, I start working on any ongoing projects for AED, including media engagement ideas, media contact lists, and alterations on the websites of AED and AEDF. I eat lunch at around noon and then go right back at it until 4 p.m. Since I don’t regularly drink coffee anymore, I’ve started drinking ice cold water to help keep me engrossed in my work throughout the day.
Q: Do you think the experiences you have had so far would prepare you for other careers, or are they specific to this company?
A: I do believe that the experiences I’ve gained so far here at AED are certainly well-rounded, and not only help me currently, but also will be beneficial for my future career. I undertake a vast number of projects in different areas, and everything I execute has a purpose and a goal. Fulfilling these requirements and completing tasks on a daily basis will absolutely prove to be beneficial to future internships and professional positions.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge on the internship so far?
A: Honestly, the most difficult thing about this internship has been getting used to the work days. I never used to work consecutive eight-hour shifts; usually my work schedules would fluctuate a bit. Waking up at 6:30 a.m. every single weekday was honestly a struggle for about a month or so. But it was just a matter of getting used to the patterns and figuring out a routine that fits best.
Q: What have you enjoyed most about your internship?
A: My favorite thing about this internship was the real-life experience and knowledge I gained throughout my time here. Being a huge advocate for public policy, AED has opened a door for me into the realm of politics and business. These two aspects are essential to the progression of the company and its values, and it has taught me the importance of knowing your surroundings and being proactive. I feel as though I am more aware of the priorities of AED and the government, and how it really can make a difference to know what is going on in Washington, DC.
Q: Any tips for others who might be thinking about internship?
A: If you are interested in becoming an intern at AED, I would recommend you learn how to type, and how to type fast. Almost all the projects I completed included typing of some sort. Also, it is important to know how to take feedback and use it to your advantage. Feedback is meant to give you insight into the things you need to alter or work on, and it makes a big difference in the final presentation of a project. Finally, one must realize the importance and unavoidable presence of “trial and error.” Often I found myself working on a project seemingly forever, only to have it reviewed and to revise it again and again. It was simply through the process of trial and error that I improved in many areas during my internship.
Q: What would you tell a company that was thinking about onboarding an internship program?
A: I highly recommend that other companies start internship opportunities/programs. Not only does an internship help the recipient, but the company benefits as well. It’s definitely a win-win situation. While the company provides experience in a specific field, the intern also offers insight. A new face in the office can contribute a different perspective, and each party builds off the others to reach the targeted goal. I would tell the company to anticipate mistakes, but to have the patience to guide the intern through confusion. Internships are challenging, but with the right people and a favorable work environment, any internship can prove its value.