This summer was filled with memorable “first times.” It was the first time I have ever lived walking distance to the Lincoln Memorial and the National Mall, the first time my place of employment had a fully stocked snack room, and the first time I had the privilege of staying in a hotel room alone (don’t worry, I didn’t go overboard on room service).
I vividly remember almost every work day since the inception of my internship because this summer was a big deal for me. Months before I received my internship offer, I made it a personal goal to earn a spot in a well-known, respectable organization that based their work on a strong mission statement and strived to actually make a difference in the world. I spent countless hours applying to competitive internships that successfully merged passion and action together to create a legacy, but I always had my eyes set on PBS. As a student majoring in Communications & Women’s studies, it was important for me to intern somewhere that embodied everything I’ve studied and put theories to use. Somewhere I could soak up more knowledge on the industry and where I could work closely to mentors and role models (most of them women), who want what’s best for me and for the future of this country. Somewhere like PBS.
Although I received numerous internship offers, my persistence paid off when I received an offer to work for the Development Services department for the summer at PBS. As a Miami native, this meant moving “up north” to the Virginia/DC area and commuting to work on public transportation every day.
During my summer tenure I had the pleasure of working on numerous weekly and daily projects including organizing and consolidating content for the bi-weekly “Development Services Spotlight,” which highlighted new and ongoing projects each area in Development Services was working on. I also drafted and created daily tweets to update followers on any new content our department created. My biggest ongoing project of the summer was designing and creating customizable one-sheets that local stations would be able to use as marketing assets to gain local sponsorships. I was able to put my creativity to use as I designed numerous one-sheets and researched statistics to go along with the information. It felt like a full-circle experience working on PBS KIDS one-sheets because I used to watch these shows when I was younger, and now I was working to have them continue being aired.
Before I started my internship, I considered myself a detail-oriented person, but as summer progressed I became a detail-oriented fanatic! Every period, comma, exclamation point and margin was aligned with the vision I had for that specific one-sheet. Every time I thought I was finished with a one-sheet, my team would review it and send me back to the drawing board. They knew my potential as an intern, and I took great pride in knowing I was being held to the utmost standards and that my work would be used nationally. This process proved to enhance transferrable skills and not only made me a better communicator, but it taught me that success is in the details.
I did a lot of really cool things this summer. I got to see Gwen Ifill and Ari Shapiro speak in person. I got to have breakfast with our President and CEO Paula Kerger. I toured NPR, as well as the PBS NewsHour set at WETA, I was able to attend one of the biggest public media and development conferences in this industry in Boston, and I was able to meet bright interns from all over the country. But most importantly-this summer was one of personal and professional growth. The ability to balance work, establish meaningful relationships with those around me, and gain confidence in my professional life is something I hope everyone has the ability to do. I feel extremely honored that I was able to work with a team and a department that so flawlessly balanced and executed the “work hard, play hard” mentality and that takes pride in the work that they do. I wanted to Be More, and working with PBS has done that for me.
Written by Dani Velasco | 2016 PBS Intern