Kendall Phillips ’20
Hometown: Greenville, SC
Major: Communication | Minor: Leadership, Change, and Social Responsibility
In December 2019, Kendall entered what she did not realize would be a highly competitive interview and selection process with the MADE Internship Program, hosted by the ANA Educational Foundation (AEF). This newer program, launched in 2018, specializes in placing selected applicants in advertising and marketing areas within top companies across the nation. All of the MADE Internships take place over the summer, and are paid. Kendall was ultimately selected and placed with the Navy Federal Credit Union, the world’s largest credit union based out of Vienna, VA.
In fact, Kendall’s placement was so successful that her supervisor requested to extend her internship – past the initially agreed upon 10 weeks, and up to the end of the year! Her extended internship has taken the form of what a full-time job will look like after college. This past summer she spent 40 hours a week at her internship, and will cut back slightly to 30 hours a week this fall while completing her final courses for graduation. Her biggest piece of advice? Well, she has three – keep reading to see what Kendall has to say about her experience, especially during a pandemic.
Oh, and did you see that the MADE Internship Program is about to open again for Summer 2021 applicants? Check it out and email the Department of Communication (email@example.com) if you have any questions for Kendall.
Kendall’s Summer 2020 Internship During a Pandemic
Company: Navy Federal Credit Union
Internship Title: Marketing and Communications Intern
Location: Remote (company based in Vienna, VA)
Hours Per Week: 40 hours during Summer 2020, 30 hours during Fall 2020
Academic Credit? No
What do you do for your internship? I help produce marketing materials on behalf of the company. I’ve worked on email marketing projects, webpage updates, organic and paid social media content, digital signage, blog articles, etc. I most recently worked on writing copy for digital signage for the DC metro. Aside from this, I’ve also performed research to produce a data-driven writing guide for each branch of the military. Since our target audience is active duty military, veterans, and their families, this helps us understand who we are marketing to. Finally, I’m working on migrating Navy Federal’s website content and blog articles to Adobe Experience Manager. While, I directly report to and work with the Marketing and Communications team, there are a number of Project Managers, Social Media Strategists, and Designers I work with as well.
What is your favorite part of your internship? My favorite part of working at Navy Federal is definitely the company culture. Everyone has been so kind and welcoming, which has really helped me adjust. My least favorite part has been not being able to see everyone in-person. I’m definitely an extrovert, so working from home for eight hours each day has been tough.
What is it like being remote? Everyone at Navy Federal is working remotely until Spring of 2021. I’ve mainly been using my Macbook to work remotely. However, since I’m going to be working from home until December, I recently invested in an inexpensive monitor so I can have two screens. Having a web camera and good headphones has been useful for meetings.
- Pros to being remote: There’s no commute. I can wake up much later than I would otherwise and I don’t have to worry about what I’m wearing to work that day. I’m able to flex my schedule.
- Cons: Less face to face interaction. Getting set up with the appropriate technology was a challenge.
Was it hard to find a summer internship? Yes and no. Since I was paired with Navy Federal through the MADE Internship Program, it sort of just fell in my lap. However, the selection process for the MADE Internship Program is long and rigorous. I first began interviewing in December 2019 and was competing against 1,500+ applicants for a placement in a very small cohort. The acceptance rate was 9% this year. Although getting a placement in this program was a challenging process, it provided me with a valuable internship experience during the most uncertain time in my life.
Did you experience difficulties completing your internship during COVID-19? The biggest challenge was getting set up with Navy Federal’s technology and software virtually. In the beginning, I would joke about how their IT helpdesk and I are best friends.
What is your advice to COMM students looking to take a Fall 2020 internship during a pandemic? Internships have by far been the best part of my college experience. I’ve had four internships since my freshman year, and each one has provided me with the tools and skills to excel in the professional world. My advice is:
- Read the MMM (Monday Morning Memo) sent to your Cougar email from the Department of Communication, every single Monday. I’m fortunate to be one of the lucky students who had the opportunity to intern this summer without having my internship canceled or postponed. The MADE Internship Program changed my life in a lot of ways, and if I hadn’t read Dr. Kopfman’s MMM last November, I would have never known about it. Being aware of the opportunities around you is the first step.
- Take every opportunity that you can, and be open to learning outside of the classroom.
- And, apply for everything. Even if the description says it’s highly competitive and you feel underqualified, don’t underestimate yourself – apply for it anyway!