Recap: Making the Most of Your Summer Experience Panel

On Wednesday, April 17, 2024, the USC Career Center hosted a panel discussion to highlight the diverse internship experiences of eight current USC students from various class levels and majors. Moderated by Sarah Ju (Annenberg, ’26) and Jonathan Gedam (Marshall, ’27), Digital Marketing Interns at the Career Center, the discussion was designed to equip undergraduate students with valuable insight for how to be successful at their own internship experiences this upcoming summer.

Panelists Included:

  1. Mariana Hernandez – Dornsife (‘25) | Architect Intern at Barrio Planners Incorporated
  2. Sarah James – Price (‘25) | Summer Health Professions Scholar at UCLA
  3. Rohan Kalra – Viterbi (‘24) | Software Engineer Intern at Jump Trading
  4. Evelyn Paniagua – Annenberg (‘24) | BOLD APMM Intern at Google
  5. Jaden Sibrian – Annenberg (‘24) | Product Marketing Intern at IBM
  6. Anna Velychko – Dramatic Arts & Annenberg (‘24) | AIB Sales and Relationship Management Summer Analyst at Blackrock
  7. Aleah Wasserbauer – Marshall & Cinematic Arts (‘24) | Creative Distribution & Operations Lead at Splicer Films
  8. Ryan Zapata – Price (‘24) | Bus Operations Intern at OCTA; Airport Planning Intern at LAWD

Preparing for the First Day of Your Internship

Before starting the role, panelists reflected on the importance of doing research on the company ahead of time. Many panelists used LinkedIn to search the names of interns and staff members at the company. This helped build their network and learn more about the company itself. If they could go back, they would familiarize themselves with the industry and its terminology. On the first day of their internships, panelists shared the importance of reading all emails and completing any HR-related documentation. Additionally, they made sure to come prepared with an elevator pitch to introduce themselves to new team members.

Strategizing your Interactions with Your Colleagues

As the new person on a team, panelists highlighted the importance of setting themselves apart from others. By raising their hand and asking questions often, panelists made a great first impression. Their team members noticed their initiative and offered more growth opportunities. When interacting with their new colleagues and supervisors, panelists built relationships by communicating frequently. One panelist shared how she regularly updated her supervisor with progress on her work, even if she wasn’t sure if all of the updates were necessary. Outside of normal work tasks, panelists also invited their team members to one-on-one meetings, such as coffee chats and lunch. Overall, the panelists agreed that intentional, open communication helps maintain connections with colleagues.

Balancing Your Time is Crucial

At this point in the discussion, panelists shared their experiences of balancing their internship with other priorities. They emphasized the importance of taking care of their mental health. One panelist suggested setting aside time for fun activities outside their internship. Overall, it is necessary to prioritize your own needs while balancing your commitments.

Key Takeaways

All panelists shared key pieces of advice from their internships.

  • Network, network, network! – Prioritize getting to know your team members. Go above and beyond what is asked of you. Maintain your connections even after your internship ends!
  • Be honest, curious, and open – Admit that you need help. Ask questions and be willing to learn about various roles and responsibilities. You may find yourself exploring different paths or industries.
  • Stay confident in your abilities – It’s normal to experience imposter syndrome. Remind yourself that they hired you because you are qualified for this role. Don’t be too hard on yourself!

By Leslie De Quiroz

By Leslie De Quiroz
Leslie De Quiroz