Four internships, Four organizations, One awesome career: Stephanie Barrick

by Stasia Lopez / Dec 16, 2014 /
Stasia Lopez's picture

Stephanie Barrick is a student at the University of Pittsburgh working toward a Bachelor’s degree in Communication & Rhetoric and Political Science, due to graduate in April 2015. She completed four internships during her undergraduate career in marketing and communications, social media, human resources, and legislation, with companies and organizations such as: Shell Oil, Hershey Entertainment & Resorts, the University of Pittsburgh, and a Legislative Internship with State Representative Mike Turzai. Read up on her interview below about her experiences as an intern, how she grew her network, employer expectations and tasks, and the full-time job offer she has accepted for when she graduates.

 

Stephanie Barrick - four internships during her college career!

 

How did you choose your major? How did you choose the college that you chose to attend?

I chose to be a communication major because I knew that above all else I wanted a career where I would be talking to people. I was afraid that with a business degree that I would be forced to spend my workdays in a cubicle and I knew that I wanted something outside of a typical office. I also chose to major in political science because I have always been interested in political practices and the way that government and business work. I did not actually choose the University of Pittsburgh because of what majors offered, but by the environment and experience offered. Pitt was the best combination of a city and a college campus and the size was comparable to what I was looking for. The University also properly balances academics, student organizations, and athletics while trying to ensure that the students receive a well-rounded education in preparation for the future.

 

Stephanie Barrick, Pitt Panther

 

How did you find your internship(s)? What resources did you use? Was your internship for credit/not for-credit/ paid or unpaid?

My first internship was an opportunity that was presented through my organizational communication class but everything that surrounded the experience was very real. We used a real budget and met with corporate members of Shell while planning events and thinking of creative marketing for their product. This internship was unpaid but was for 3 credits. The next internship I had with the OCC was neither for credit or pay. I did this internship because I was trying to work my way up the ranks in the organization and I wanted a more hands on understanding of the association. I found out about this internship by being involved on campus and talking directly to the administrator of the program. My next internship was with Hershey and this internship was paid. I found this internship online by searching major companies in my desired area of working and then searching their sites for employment opportunities. My last internship with Representative Mike Turzai is not paid, but I am receiving four credits. I was notified of this opportunity by my contact in the career center.

 

What inspired your career choice? How did you hear about it?

My ultimate career choice is to be a manager of some sort. I have enjoyed my time on campus being a leader and I enjoy working closely in a team. I also really enjoyed doing marketing, human resources, and advertising and I believe that I would be a good choice as a manager to other employees. I have heard about these positions from the Career Fair and from other adults that I have networked with. I have seen the jobs that my parents and my friends’ parents hold, and I have made my decision to go into a management role.

 

Stephanie Barrick, Pitt - 4 internships during her college career

 

Are you involved at Pitt? What do you recommend to incoming students to the university? 

I am very involved on campus. I have been a resident assistant for the past two years and have had the opportunity to work with both freshman and upperclassman. I am the president of the Outside of the Classroom Curriculum, where I work with a team of 4 of my peers. I am also a member of Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity and Gamma Sigma Sigma service sorority, where I enjoy performing community service with my friends. In addition, I have a part time job on campus tutoring 5 student athletes in political science and communication. Lastly, I have attended multiple leadership trainings that include Emerging Leaders, Leadership in Action, and the Panther Leadership Summit.

 

What were the tasks and projects that you had to complete in your internship (s) and what skills did you gain? Please discuss your employer’s expectations of you.

During my four internships I completed multiple tasks.

In my first internship at Shell Oil, I created and edited an advertising project through Edventures Partners in partnership with Shell Oil to develop a marketing campaign for The Rational Middle Energy Series while managing a $5,000 budget. My employer’s expectation was extremely high because they had given us a large amount of money to run a successful advertising campaign. As a class, we were dealing directly with members of Shell’s corporate team and they had high expectations for the work that we presented.

In my second internship with the OCC, I wrote and developed an interactive communications guide for Resident Assistant staff, prepared and delivered media presentations to multiple groups explaining how to complete the OCC requirements, and tracked performance on an ongoing project management action plan. The expectations were lower for this internship because the position was fairly new and my work was mostly self-guided.

With my internship with Hershey, I conducted interviews and orientations, created work schedules, audited Child Labor Laws, delivered corrective actions, performed time and attendance in TimePro, and had daily face to face interaction with up to 500 employees. I really enjoyed this internship because it gave me the most face time with employees and exposed me to a lot of opportunities to develop skills. The expectations that I faced during this internship were very high because the company was highly credible and there were too many employees for there to be room for error.

Lastly, in my current legislative internship, I research legislation, summarize bills, interact with constituents and answer concerns, assist in event planning, and perform office tasks. During this experience, I am held to high expectations because I am working on behalf of the representative and this is an important representation to uphold.

 

Intern Stephanie Barrick and State Representative Mike Turzai

 

Do you feel that you grew your network while interning? If so, how? 

Yes I definitely believe that I have grown my network while interning, because I have collected many business cards and connected to a number of professionals on LinkedIn. These professionals are now references for me and have been able to attest to my hard work ethic with future employers.

 

Did anything surprise you about interning? Did interning inspire you academically, vocationally, or in any other way? Did it confirm that you chose the right major and the right field?  Can you discuss any challenges that you had from your internship?

One thing that surprised me about interning was the variance between my experiences. Each opportunity provided a different level of professionalism and leadership. By diversifying my internship experiences, I was able to get a vast array of what the full time field had to offer. After having my four internships, I was better able to know what type of work and the type of company that I wanted to work for after college. After my internship at Hershey, I learned that I wish I would’ve taken more human resource classes because I really enjoyed the personnel process. One large challenge that I have faced during my internships was be finding work to do. Sometimes interns are extras in the work environment and there isn’t much work for them to do on a daily basis. It is challenging to constantly ask other employees what they need help with, and it’s challenging for them to constantly find work for interns to do.

 

Can you share with us a memory from your internship experience as a take-away?

My favorite memory from an internship took place during my first opportunity with Shell. My team worked tirelessly to put on an event at Phipps Conservatory, which acted as a screening for the Rational Middle Energy Series. We invited students and community members from all over the area to enjoy a networking event to discuss the current environmental problems that faced Pittsburgh and to express their opinions. This is my favorite memory because it was a great illustration of all of the hard work that we had put into the project, and it was exciting to have been successful in front of such a prestigious crowd.

 

Any advice for students thinking about an interning?  Anything that you didn’t know about that you wish that you did?

My advice to students looking to get involved in an internship would be start early. As a senior who has been applying for countless jobs and has experienced a number of interviews, it is always impressive to have a lot of internship experience. Companies are less interested in your GPA and more interested in how you have gone out in the real world and gotten experience that they can use. In my opinion it is also important to get internships doing diverse things that way you can get a large spectrum of what you might want to do. If I had continued with the advertising path that I was on I would have never experienced human resources. I think students who are not 100% sure what they want to do need a large range of internships so they can find out earlier rather than later what their passion is. Looking back now, I wish that I would’ve participated in even more internships. I feel like I learned so much from each opportunity that I wish I could’ve experienced more and had a chance to learn from more people and companies.

 

What is up next for you? Anything you’d like to add/share?

As far as what’s coming up next for me, after graduation I have accepted the full time offer that has been presented to be a District Manager for ALDI in the Saxonburg division. Although I was planning on going home after school, the opportunity that ALDI has presented me with has proven to be unmatchable, and I am excited to see what the future holds for me with the company.

 

See more interviews in our College, Internships, and Career Series

 

Stasia Lopez is the Global Education Editor for Wandering Educators and is also a Career Consultant at the University of Pittsburgh. She graduated with her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Western Michigan University and earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Robert Morris University. Stasia is passionate about international education, travel,  and loves working on a college campus. She’s lived in four different U.S. states (Florida, Michigan, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania) and also studied and lived abroad in Rome, Italy. Stasia lives in the Pittsburgh area with her husband, Fernando.

All photos courtesy and copyright Stephanie Barrick