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SOC Student Uses Internship to Bolster Rolodex, Build Resume

She’s not even in the workforce yet, but senior Lauren Gentile has already mastered the art of networking.

A communications major, Gentile just wrapped up a part-time, paid internship with The Hatcher Group, a Bethesda-based public affairs firm that works with more than 100 nonprofits and foundations. She landed the gig after e-mailing a guest speaker in School of Communication professor Rick Stack’s public relations class last fall.

“It’s so important to take advantage of the guest speakers our professors bring in,” said Gentile, 21. “They have great connections, and they’re eager to help students.”

During her semester-long internship, Gentile created and maintained several contact lists, helped organize briefings on the Hill, blogged and did video work on a variety of policy issues, including education and the environment. Her hard work led to a full-time fellowship this summer.

“I love this organization; it’s a nice intersection between communications and law and society,” her minor. “I feel good about the work I’m doing there, and it’s really rewarding to see how we’re making a difference for these nonprofits.”

This is the Prospect, Connecticut, native’s second internship. As a freshman, she interned for a year at WashingtonPost.com, working on a variety of video projects.

Between the contacts she’s built at both organizations, Gentile’s hopeful her internships will help her land a job upon graduation in December.

“I’ve made some great connections. I know if I don’t have a full-time job when I graduate, I have a handful of really good references to call on,” she said.

Gentile is among 19 bloggers chronicling their workplace adventures for AU’s Career Center. In her final post of the spring semester, Gentile offered four helpful hints for interns:

  • Ask guest speakers for their business cards. “Reach out to them when you are applying for an internship . . . your connection through your professor can be your ‘in’ to any company, foundation, or government agency in D.C.”
  • Speak up in staff meetings; offer your input and your help. “Chances are your bosses might not know your capabilities when it comes to design, video work, Power Point presentations, or the Internet. If you think you can do more with your skill set, offer it!”
  • Hone your technological skills. “Excel and DreamWeaver are two of the most important software systems you should be familiar with if you are going to pursue an internship or career in public relations.”
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for a job. “If you really enjoy your internship and put a lot of effort into it, don’t be afraid to ask to stay for another semester or ask for a job. The worst they could say is ‘no.’”

Read more about Gentile and other AU interns at the Career Center blog.