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Student Spotlights

Rachel: Communications

The Younique Foundation gave Rachel Bennion the opportunity to strategize and distribute resources to abused women. Learn more about her philanthropic efforts and how she was able to make an impact!

What was your internship experience?

One in four women will be sexually abused before the age of 18. Experiencing this trauma at such a young age (often repeatedly and 90% of the time by someone they know) leads many survivors to carry a burden of guilt, shame, and many other mental and physical post-traumatic symptoms for decades. The Younique Foundation offers unparalleled resources that many women are not aware exist.

Working as the PR and Marketing intern, my job was to build awareness for this increasingly prevalent issue and help women to know that hope and healing are possible. I was able to participate in and lead several projects across the Foundation:

I helped educate and connect women by designing and managing the Pinterest Campaigns. I determined means to increase our reach by researching, brainstorming, and creating strategies to better leverage local businesses. I gauged our local and national presence by collecting and organizing media and news mentions. I developed our social media presence by seeking out and building repour with more than fifty local and national social media influencers. I assisted in our philanthropic efforts by participating in a Facebook live broadcast that showcased merchandise. I wrote copy for the company’s new website, giving users instructions on how to use TYF graphics on social media.

What was the most useful thing you learned from your internship?

I think most interns enter their internship with the naïve belief that the controlled structure of their school environment will extend to their internships, and I think they more often than not are proved wrong. I was.

On my first day, I was given a handful of daily tasks and a lot of time to fill. I realized that if I wanted to get a meaningful experience from my internship, it would require a large dose of personal initiative, a heaping of creativity, and above all else the courage to do it all while feeling uncertain and uncomfortable.

In her book Dare to Lead, Brene Brown says, “The courage to be vulnerable is not about winning or losing, it’s about the courage to show up when you can’t predict or control the outcome.” There were a lot of things I felt that I couldn’t control or predict, but my internship taught me that by being courageous and vulnerable, I can find my way through the chaos. I can choose to face tasks I had never done with enthusiasm, I can bring up suggestions to people with way more experience and clout than I did with confidence, I can maintain a growth mindset even when department shakeups make me feel uncertain about my role, and I can make meaningful contributions to the company even as an intern.

What professional skills did you develop in your internship?

The main professional skills I developed through this internship are:

  • Finding and connecting with influencers and key stakeholders of communities.
  • Running a Business Pinterest Account.
  • Researching news and media outlets.
  • Communicating and working within a team.
  • Developing actionable strategies.

How did your courses and your major prepare you for your internship?

Though none of my classes perfectly prepared me for this internship, I was able to apply knowledge from many of the classes the I have taken in order. From my COMMS 318 class I was able to apply research and analytics data. From my COMMS 314 and 315 classes I was able to apply the PPC and SEO principles I learned. From my COMMS 320 class I was able to apply the copy writing, pitching, and news release skills I learned. From my COMMS 235 and 336 I learned how to think strategically. Each of my classes rounded my skills and prepared me for the workforce. Thanks to the weekly reports that we had to do, I was constantly reflecting on how I was implementing things that I had learned in class into my internship. Getting access to any of my COMMS 496R reports would give you plenty of examples.

One specific example would be when I asked a co-worker if she needed any help from me that day. She explained that she needed to do some copy writing on the website but had been putting it off all week. I told her that I would handle it. Because of the PR writing skills that I learned in COMMS 320, I was able to quickly knock out the task and she was very pleased with my finished product.

Would you recommend this internship to other students?

I would recommend this internship to other students. First and foremost because it has an amazing and highly motivating mission. Also, for students interested in working for a nonprofit, it is a nice entry. TYF is a funded nonprofit, which means that it is more stable and flexible than most nonprofits.

The only problem that I had with the internship was drama in management that affected my internship. The company issues mainly stemmed from one individual though and it seems like the problem is being addressed.

I would also want to talk to the future intern so I could give them a heads up on what would be expected of them. Not knowing exactly what you are supposed to do at first is a little difficult and it would be nice to talk to a past intern to get an idea of what you are supposed to do.

Rachel Bennion