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Working it: Demystifying the world of college internships

Photo: Art by James Heimer, License: N/A

Art by James Heimer

Photo: , License: N/A

And not all internships are created equal – some are paid, some work with universities to offer college credit. Some give students valuable real-world experience, but others don't prepare students for much more than data entry or using the photocopier. Orlando Weekly spoke with interns across Central Florida to provide students with a behind-the-scenes glimpse of local (and some non-local) internships.

Kacie Davidow, senior at University of Central Florida
Major: Journalism

News intern, January through April 2011 (Upon completion of her internship, WESH hired Davidow as a part-time associate producer.)

College Credit: Two credits
Paid: No
Hours: 16 hours per week

One day, I worked on the website, learning how to use their software, and the other day, I worked in the newsroom, shadowing reporters.
[My overall experience was very] positive. I was not expecting the support I received. The best part would have to be the support and willingness of the team to help you learn.

Megan Clancy, spring 2011 alumna of University of Central Florida, B.A. in advertising and public relations
Clancy now works at Starwood Vacation Ownership in Orlando as its social media coordinator.

Amway Center
Marketing intern, December 2010 through May 2011

Paid: Yes
College credit: No. I did not receive credit because I was paid and had already completed the internship credit hours.
Hours: I worked a full work week, 40 hours.

Day-to-day responsibilities included monitoring the Amway Center Facebook and Twitter [accounts], drafting social media content calendars, conducting social media contests and sweeps, assisting the marketing manager and director, and drafting day-of-show collateral. Day-of-show responsibilities included being responsible for all radio personnel, assisting with photographer duties and venue presentation to artists, bands, musicians.
I previously interned for the city of Orlando and was referred by my supervisor to the Amway Center. To be honest, the entire experience was priceless. I gained more knowledge about the real world and had the opportunity to encounter people I would have never had the chance otherwise. It was an invaluable internship that I will remember for a lifetime.
Yes, [I think that the internship helped me get the job I have now]. My work ethic and social media roots come from the Amway Center experience I gained.

Baileigh Johnson
Junior at University of Central Florida
Major: Journalism

Orlando Home & Leisure
Editorial assistant intern, May to December 2011

College credit: Optional
Paid: No
Hours: Two days per week
Orlando Home & Leisure was the best local experience I've ever gotten. I started out as a regular summer intern, and I decided to stay with them through fall because I liked the publication so much, and they liked me.
It opened a lot of doors for me. In September, I became the fashion writer – anything happening in Orlando that was fashion-related, I covered. I wrote about September Fashion Week, Park Avenue Fashion Week. I went to every fashion shoot I could. I helped the stylist dress models, and they used some of my own fashion picks. I also got to go on a media trip in St. Augustine for a week. I would go on a tour and then write a city guide for the publication.
They really, really let me do a lot. Most of the stuff on my résumé is stuff I did for them.

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