my internship experience

Caitlin Putnam '09, a Business Administration major from Sidney, Maine, who is active in the Ice Hockey Club and Dance Club on campus, spent two summer months as a marketing and development intern at New London Hospital. The hospital is just minutes from Colby-Sawyer and serves New London and the surrounding communities. The internship was a departure from her usual summer activities of competing in American Quarter Horse shows, working at Pac Sun, playing summer ice hockey, and traveling with family.

How did you find this internship opportunity?

I found this internship through John Ferries, adjunct assistant professor of business here at Colby-Sawyer. In two business courses (Advertising and Market Research), our large projects involved New London Hospital. I met my supervisor, Senior Director of Community Relations Susan Bryant, through these projects. At the end of my Market Research class, I was involved with a presentation to the business directors and trustees of the hospital. Following the presentation, I was asked to submit my resumé for the possibility of an internship. A few weeks later, I was asked to meet with hospital staff, who offered me the position. I accepted and rented an apartment in New London for the summer.

What were your most important duties and responsibilities as an intern?

My most important duties were to complete tasks given to me by my supervisors and co-workers, such as writing health tip columns, press releases, and helping plan events such as the black-tie Grand Gala, the annual golf tournament, and Hospital Days.

What skills were required to fulfill this internship?

Advanced writing skills, good communication skills, organization skills, the ability to be self-directed, and the willingness and ability to take on unfamiliar responsibilities and complete every given task were essential for completing this internship.

How did this internship intersect with your studies at Colby-Sawyer? What specific courses did you find most helpful in fulfilling your intern duties?

This internship definitely intersects with my studies of business at Colby-Sawyer. The specific courses that were most helpful were Marketing, Advertising, Market Research, Management, Economics, Finance and Writing 105.

What challenges did you face, and what triumphs did you enjoy, during your internship?

The main challenge I faced was stepping into an unfamiliar place with unknown expectations. I was asked to take on huge responsibilities that were very important. My triumphs included completing every assignment I was given and receiving praise for my abilities and the finished projects. My first day was nerve-racking, though, as I did not know what to expect.

There were several great days on the job, and they all involved the completion of large projects and receiving very positive feedback for my work. My worst day was when I was given about 20 projects at the same time and was expected to complete each by the end of the day. That was very stressful, but I was able to step up and finish everything.

What did you learn during your internship that might be useful in your professional life?

I have learned and improved many skills that will help me, including my communication, organizational, writing and creative skills. It was surprising to realize that many skills used during my internship were those that are often honed outside the classroom, such as organization, creativity and common sense.

When you talk with your friends and family about your internship, what do you tell them?

I've been telling people that I had an enjoyable, positive and educational internship. I loved the people I worked with, and my assignments were interesting and challenging. At the end of my time at New London Hospital, I was told by everyone I worked with that the events and projects that went on during this summer could not have been completed without me and my input. That was very gratifying to hear!

Do you think this internship will lead to employment with the company after graduation?

I think there is a strong possibility that my internship could lead to a job offer by New London Hospital. The internship definitely confirmed my interest in marketing and development.

Is Colby-Sawyer's requirement of completing an internship beneficial?

The requirement of completing an internship is very beneficial. I learned skills and information that cannot be taught or learned in the classroom, and now I have a base knowledge of what to expect once I enter the work force after graduation.

-Kate Dunlop Seamans