Inside the Internship: Willson Gaining Varied, Valuable Experience in Advocacy and Communications

| Student Life

Ellie Willson headshot

Written by: Ellie Willson

Ellie Willson headshotIn the last year, I have had multiple internships that varied greatly in their focus and tasks. As a communication studies major with a minor in public policy, I have interests that range far and wide, and I have been lucky enough to experience a variety of jobs, companies and work environments.
Perhaps the internship I was most shocked to receive was with the United Nations Foundation. Within this organization, I was the grassroots advocacy intern for the United to Beat Malaria campaign. I worked remotely for most of the semester, mobilizing advocates from across the U.S. to lobby with their national representatives and the greater community to raise funding for malaria prevention. In March, however, I went to Washington D.C. for the first time. There I got to help run the UN Foundation 2023 Leadership Summit.
This experience introduced me to people with truly inspiring stories, and also gave me a great taste of the future I hope to pursue in policy making. Meeting with senators and representatives from my home state of Kansas was an unforgettable and formative experience. 
Another internship that was both fun and educational was my time with the national cooperative Dairy Farmers of America (DFA). I acted as the internal communications intern this summer, which primarily consisted of writing, editing, more writing and then more editing. I considered myself a strong writer before this, but I grew so much in both my writing skills and professionalism during my time at DFA. 
This was my first in-person, full-time internship, which was certainly an adjustment at first. By the end of the summer, my coworkers had become truly great friends, and they’re also valuable resources that I will continue to utilize as I pursue my career. 
Finding internship opportunities is a time-consuming task, but the experiences gained from working with these groups are unmatched. I am continuously thankful for the time I have had to find my skill set in undergrad, as it has left me feeling more confident as I enter my senior year and look to post-grad life.