By Priyanka Prakasha
In biology, there is a type of symbiotic relationship known as mutualism that describes the interaction between two parties in which both of them benefit. Take the oxpecker and the rhino, for example. The oxpecker lands on the rhino’s back, eating any ticks it finds. The oxpecker gets food and the rhino gets rid of any pests. Believe it or not, this also happens to perfectly describe the relationship between an intern and an organization! The intern receives a network of people who want to see them succeed and many valuable transferable skills, while the organization receives a fresh perspective and gains new knowledge.
Internships can go beyond just busy work and coffee runs. If facilitated correctly, they can be quite a meaningful experience for everyone involved. With the onboarding of five new summer interns last June, new technologies have been implemented. This modernization has taken VtSBDC to a new level. Slack has made timely internal communication simpler than ever before. No more scouring through endless emails from colleagues when you have a quick, easy, and effective messaging application right at your fingertips. VtSBDC now has a Canva account as well, in order to design crisp, clean, and consistently branded material such as flyers, book covers, and much more. A year ago, we didn’t have The Starting Point, the VtSBDC blog which features so many of our amazing clients and provides important content on helpful resources. These updates have really enhanced the organization. The best part is that VtSBDC advisors of all generations were just as eager to adopt these new technologies as the interns were to share them. With the addition of a new group of interns this summer, I’m sure there is a lot more innovation to come. And as the interns come and go, I’m confident that this technology will continue to be used long after their departure.
What does the intern get out of all of this? Well, internships help students as they graduate and enter the workforce. Their work experience helps them get hired elsewhere and they bring with them the new skills and knowledge that they’ve gained. Take Meg Scagnelli for example, our star intern from last summer who got us all acquainted with Canva. Meg recently graduated this spring from the University of Vermont with a degree in Business Administration. She has accepted an offer working as an Associate Client Relationship Manager at the International Data Corporation, a very reputable market research firm. Meg began at VtSBDC in June of 2020. During her time here, she got the chance to work with clients and offer them marketing/branding support, an experience that has been very rewarding for her. “Throughout my internship at VtSBDC, I gained hands-on professional experience, transferable skills, and meaningful relationships with the incredible VtSBDC team and their clients. My internship had an integral contribution to both my professional development and my post-graduate transition into a career at IDC,” Scagnelli says.
As for myself, it’s been a little over a year now since I started at VtSBDC and I could not have asked for a better experience. It feels great to be part of an organization that genuinely values your input and makes you feel like a contributing, important member of the team. This internship has provided me with relevant professional experience that aligns with my studies and interests. I feel equipped with the skills and knowledge to begin a vibrant and successful career. The wonderful staff has always been so supportive of me, enabling me to grow both personally and professionally. When I first joined the team, we were right in the midst of the pandemic. With so many of my peers’ internships being cancelled, I was extremely relieved to still have one. Initially, I was worried about the internship being remote due to COVID. How was I supposed to develop meaningful relationships with my new colleagues through a screen? But they made it so easy by instantly welcoming me with open arms. It’s comforting to know that wherever life takes me next, I have a solid group of people that I can always go to for advice. I can only hope that I’ve had as much of an impact on them as they’ve had on me.
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