Summers are for relaxing, days spent at the beach, and quality time with family and friends. If you’re anything like our fantastic IHC Master’s students Deanna Puglia and Jessica Pikowski, summer also means┬ámanaging the Upstream blog, tackling rigorous internships, and coolin’ off with fresh watermelon and iced lattes.

Here’s what they have to say about their summer internship experiences:

Deanna
(hometown: Hamburg, PA; undergrad institution: University of Pittsburg, B.S. in Biological Sciences)

What are some of the activities you’ve participated in while at UNC:
I’ve been involved with student and faculty projects on topics ranging from psychological outcomes of cancer survivors who play video games, applications for smoking cessation, and safer sex interventions. My personal research interests are also varied and have included maternal health, disordered eating, and food access.

Where are you interning this summer?
Account Services Intern at MedThink SciCom, Inc.

What are your key takeaways from the internship?

Take initiative and don’t be afraid to advocate for your ideas!

Take initiative and don’t be afraid to advocate for your ideas! My internship has also shown me just how broad the field of health communications really is, and how many different professional and research areas it spans, including careers that I didn’t even realize existed.

What advice would you give to future internship seekers?
Don’t be afraid to apply to something that looks interesting, even if you lack experience in that area. Internships are meant to be a learning experience so pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and getting exposure to new opportunities is a positive thing that often leads to personal and professional growth.

Jessica:
(hometown: New Fairfield, Connecticut; undergrad institution: High Point University, B.A. in Strategic Communication)

What are your research interests?
My research interests include looking at what factors of health communication messages make them most effective (source, channel, message theme).

Where are you interning this summer?
I have two part-time internships this summer-one at a nonprofit in Cary called The Foundation for Health Leadership and Innovation, and one at a health and wellness marketing agency in Chapel Hill called Pulse Health and Wellness.

What are your key takeaways from the internship?

The great thing about internships is that you are constantly learning from the people around you…

Overall I’ve grown tremendously from both these opportunities. The great thing about internships is that you are constantly learning from the people around you and I’ve learned so much from just watching my co-workers and supervisors perform their day-to-day activities. As an intern (especially in two different settings). I’ve also been asked to do a variety of tasks from design work to writing content for a newsletter. This has allowed me to not only develop skills I learned in the classroom, but also to learn new skills that will hopefully make me more marketable for a job in the future.

What advice would you give to future internship seekers?
Definitely start looking as early as possible and make a list of some companies you’d like to intern at based on your interests. This way, you can schedule informational interviews and make connections with people who work there before it comes time to apply.

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