Summer internships give senior Meredith Summey and Rickson Hill ’23 an “extra edge”

Summer internships are an important part of many academic programs for the experience, networking opportunities, and advanced skills they provide students. These roles give students a crash course in their desired field of study with built-in room to learn, grow, and make mistakes before they take their first steps into the “real world” following graduation.

“Internships are an opportunity to put the knowledge and skills acquired in school to use—where the rubber meets the road,” Kshitij Jain, a member of the Forbes Human Resources Council, said in an article for Forbes. “Good mentors and internships shape the way young professionals view the world of work and prepare them for their next steps. Great internships and mentors light a spark, giving young professionals an opportunity to experiment, make mistakes, and learn in a safe environment.”

In addition, internships also serve as an opportunity for students to learn more about their desired field, test out career paths, and determine which route is right for them. Some students may feel reassured that their chosen path is truly their dream, while others may discover a whole new world within their field that was previously unexplored.

The internship journey has a lot to provide for students and their success, perhaps particularly for business-minded students. For many students who wish to pursue business, internships are essential, not only because many potential employers look for experience, but also because they are one of the only ways for students to get a real grasp on the concepts and theories of business practice that are discussed in the classroom.

“Business Administration students who immerse themselves in internships gain a profound understanding of the dynamics, challenges, and intricacies of their chosen fields, equipping them with the essential skills and insights necessary for a successful professional journey,” Senior Instructor Amy Anderson said. “Internships are not simply a class to complete, but rather catalysts that ignite a fire of practical knowledge, igniting the path towards meaningful careers and lifelong learning.”

This is certainly the case for recent Business Administration graduate Rickson Hill ’23 and rising senior Meredith Summey, who is majoring in Communication Arts and Design with a specialization in Creative Marketing. Both Hill and Summey are currently completing summer internships in the business field and learning more about the profession, their career goals, and themselves along the way.

This summer Hill is interning at The Trademark Company, a Cary-based company that assists businesses and individuals in registering for trademarks, copyrights, and patents, among other services. For Hill, this has primarily meant learning all the ins and outs of these designations, understanding the importance of the security that such designations provide, and assisting clients with registration over the phone. Hill said he enjoys the work and feels fulfilled when he is able to help someone, and has also experienced a lot of personal and professional growth throughout this experience.

Understanding the trademark process gives you that extra edge. It highlights that extra step or extra bit of knowledge that you would need if you ever plan on having your own business or many businesses. It gives you insight into the things you need to do behind-the-scenes before you provide services or goods,” Hill said. “Usually when you think about business you are like, ‘okay, I have this product and I’m trying to sell it,’ or ‘I have this service and I’m trying to give it to whoever needs it.’ This has shown me that there are steps to do that, there are steps to protect yourself, and things you could bump into if you don’t have this worked out.”

Hill, who plans to attend graduate school, recognizes that along with being a great resume-builder, this internship is a valuable learning opportunity that will make him more well-rounded as he continues his academic career and eventually moves into the professional sphere. Like Hill, Summey’s internship at Seaside Daisy Boutique in Holden Beach this summer has also opened her eyes to other aspects of her career path.

At Seaside Daisy, Summey is responsible for managing both the storefront and the boutique’s online presence on Instagram and Facebook. She curates social media posts that seek to engage customers and bring them into the store, a unique challenge for a beachside boutique that sees a lot of seasonal shoppers and tourists.

“I am very heavily involved in creating a customer experience that brings us back loyal customers and building relationships within our community with other small businesses,” Summey said. “With my specialization in Creative Marketing I have done a lot of digital media work, photography, and other art-related classes, but I’ve also taken a lot of business and marketing classes. Some of the things I have applied to this internship have helped me learn how to cater to a target audience. With being at the beach there is a specific niche of people we try to market to.”

Although she said she felt well-prepared to take on the role, Summey was also a bit nervous about jumping into the professional sphere and applying the skills she has gained in class to the real world. Throughout this internship, however, she said she has gained a lot of confidence in herself and her abilities.

“Along with the coursework and the experience I am getting from this internship, I will feel more prepared for post-grad life. I think this has given me an idea of what I might want to pursue after graduation,” Summey said.

Both Hill and Summey will complete their internships by the end of July, but the skills, knowledge, and confidence they will gain from the experience will last a lifetime.

By Maya JarrellJuly 06, 2023