Tales from the Pandemic – IDeaS’ Intern Program Goes Virtual

Our communications intern shares how she unexpectedly spent her summer.

It all started when I began applying for internships in the fall of 2019. My hopes were high, and they soared even higher when I was selected to interview with IDeaS at the beginning of 2020 for the communications intern position. Luckily enough, I eventually received an offer for the spot, and I was so excited to accept it.

Then COVID-19 happened and things quickly began to change in the corporate world as internships were cancelled and companies sent their employees home from the office to work remotely. I won’t lie—I was a bit nervous about my upcoming summer and whether I would be able to complete the internship with IDeaS at all. However, I never could have expected what came next in my journey.

The Beginning of My Summer

When I arrived at the office on my first day, I immediately noticed how quiet everything was since most of the IDeaS team was working from home. Desks were empty, community seating was closed off, and I could only hear the faint voices of a handful of people working in the office. The few people who did come into the office wore masks, regularly sanitized their hands, and followed other rigorous safety protocols.

I was introduced to five other interns. Although we had just met, I think I speak for all of us when I say we made an immediate connection. I didn’t know it yet, but the members of this intern program would become the people I communicated most often with throughout the summer and made the internship experience so much fun.

Due to the pandemic, I spent most of my summer working from home by video conferencing from my laptop, which is what most of the other interns did as well. Even though we would mostly be communicating virtually, I was so excited to get to know the other interns better.

As an English and visual communication major, I remember feeling in awe of all the skills and talents the other interns had. They were passionate about a wide variety of things such as software development, UX design, accounting, data, and more, while I brought my passion for writing and communicating to the team.

I was also introduced to IDeaS’ communications team, where I met my manager and the rest of the team members who each had unique specializations. It was really interesting to see how each person played a role in communications at IDeaS, from posting on social media to creating internal communications newsletters to coordinating posts on this very blog site. I felt excited to start contributing to this amazing team!

My Projects

Near the beginning of the summer, the interns were each assigned a project that utilized their unique skills. As the communications intern, one aspect of my summer experience was writing articles for the weekly internal e-newsletter. Specifically, I learned about the importance of influencing the behaviors of my colleagues by communicating how to use new tools in order to improve productivity. I also communicated important news and other announcements.

One of the best things about interning at IDeaS was acquiring a whole new set of communication skills. While internal communication is always important, working on internal communication at a global company during a pandemic really highlighted the importance of staying in touch with colleagues and making sure everyone is on the same page. I learned how to communicate persuasively in order to present new ideas, improve productivity, teach new skills and more. I felt like my work was valued because employees from all over the company were able to utilize the work I did as an intern.

Throughout the summer, my manager regularly made me feel valued by tapping into my areas of study in school. I completed various research projects and presented them to influence the ways IDeaS carries out internal communication. I made suggestions about how to improve visual communication as well as utilize certain tools to improve communication and innovation.

The Intern Program

Virtual Meeting

In addition to my personal projects and the friendships I made with the intern team, IDeaS also put together an enriching program for the interns. Pandemic or not, it has been recognized as one of WayUp’s Top 100 Internship Programs after all.

We had various virtual meetings with executives so they could pass their knowledge on to us and answer any questions we had. We were also given department overviews to learn more about how the company functions and informed about the many great volunteer opportunities IDeaS offers for its employees.

Throughout the summer, the other interns offered support as we all navigated our way through our roles during a time of uncertainty. We regularly scheduled video chats over lunch so we could just hang out and eat together, which minimized the fact that we wouldn’t be able to interact in person. This is indicative of the overall culture at IDeaS because this company gave us the opportunity to get to know each other and provided a means for us to connect. I’m extremely grateful I get to bring these connections forward with me as I begin my career.

The End

As I approach my final days of interning at IDeaS, I can’t help but think about how amazing of an opportunity this was. Even though it didn’t go as originally planned, I still made strong connections with my colleagues at IDeaS and gained so much valuable experience. I hope to cross paths with everyone once again sometime in the future!

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