All aspects of life and business-as-usual have changed dramatically this year, including how recent college graduates launch their careers. In an effort to maintain our commitment to the university community and aspiring PR pros, RH Strategic adapted the existing internship program to a virtual platform this year.
In June, we welcomed our first Virtual Summer Intern Cohort: Alyssa Bruce in Seattle and Lindsey Godbout in D.C. As business professionals across the world made the transition out of the office and into a work from home environment, our new summer interns navigated the adjustment from distance learning to our new remote internship program.
Starting a new job always comes with its own set of trials and tribulations, but our virtual interns faced the added challenge of meeting clients and co-workers in a fully digital world. We sat down with them to discuss what the experience has been like and how they have grown as professionals.
How is the remote internship different from what you expected?
Alyssa Bruce: I originally thought that working from home would come with several communication barriers, but everyone has been so communicative and helpful, always answering messages, emails and video chats if I have a question about a project. I never find myself feeling isolated or confused because my team is so dedicated to supporting each other.
Lindsey Godbout: Even though I got a little taste of what remote working might be as I finished up my college degree this spring, I was nervous to start a full-time internship from home. Since day one, the team at RH made me feel welcomed, valued and integrated at every step – even from hundreds of miles away.
What is the greatest challenge in a remote internship?
AB: I think the most challenging aspect of a remote internship is keeping up to date with my co-workers and what they are up to. I feel like part of why I pursued a career in PR agency life is because I love chatting with the people around me about what we are working on or what we did over the weekend.
LG: I agree with Alyssa that keeping up with co-workers on non-work-related topics is the most challenging part of working remotely. It is difficult to create an office atmosphere in our current situation but attending virtual coffee breaks and happy hours is a fun and easy way to get to see others that I may not get to work with every day.
What is one new skill you have learned so far during your time at RH?
AB: Honestly, I knew nothing about Microsoft Teams before joining RH. My first week I spent a lot of time watching YouTube videos and using Google to navigate new platforms. Even though my time at university may not have taught me everything I need to know, my class work did teach me how to look for answers when I am unsure about something.
LG: I think the most important new skills I’ve learned are the best practices for maintaining good relationships with reporters. There’s only so much you can learn in a classroom, and the rest comes with practice and taking notes from my experienced mentors at RH.
How are you continuing to build on your PR knowledge throughout this program?
AB: RH’s internships include a curriculum of workshops. Every Friday, Lindsey and I join sessions dedicated to building and improving PR skills. It’s a supportive environment, and other staff often join proactively to share their insight on the topic as well.
LG: What’s special about this internship program is the dedication to continued learning. Not only am I able to build on my PR knowledge, but I’m able to have even more confidence in my work when I help out on projects.
What made you want to work with RH Strategic?
AB: Wanting to work with healthcare and technology clients is what first drew me to RH, but after touring the office back in February I felt the warm and welcoming energy radiating from the team and knew I wanted to work here.
LG: At first, I was drawn to RH by the public affairs work in both the technology and healthcare industries. After learning more about the internship program and culture at the firm, it was clear that the internship program was the perfect opportunity to sharpen my PR skills and continue learning in an encouraging environment post-grad.
We are fortunate to have such driven and enthusiastic interns at RH Strategic. Although we can’t be together in-person, we are grateful for the power of technology and the many communication tools that connect us with our interns. Just like the in-person internships we have developed, RH Strategic’s virtual internship program is designed to be fully immersive in the PR agency culture.
RH Strategic is a Seattle and D.C.-based communications firm with a nationwide presence and additional global reach via membership in the Worldcom Public Relations Group. We provide strategic public relations for innovators in the technology, government and healthcare markets.