JA Through the Eyes of an Intern

Posted in: JA Team

Hey! My name is Abby, and I was JA of Arizona’s first official marketing intern.

“Oh, what? So you went on a coffee run every morning and sharpened pencils?”

Much to my surprise, not at all. I started this internship with JA because I’d just finished my second year of college, and was ready to get my feet wet in the ‘real world’ work environment. However, I was majoring in design, which is a hard field to jump right into… so interning it was. I had a few chats with my professor, exchanged a few emails with Carina, and suddenly I was JA’s first-ever marketing intern.

I showed up at the front doors of the JA office on a hot afternoon in August, so nervous I thought I might just throw up during the interview process. However, I managed to keep my lunch down, and as confidently as I could… walked around the entire building twice before I found the door. The woman at the front desk looked over her monitor at me, and gave me a quick up and down before asking “Can I help you?”

“Yes!” I smiled, hoping she wouldn’t notice my sweaty palms or heavy breathing from running around an office building in 102 degree heat. “I’m here for the internship?” And it was then, Carina, my saving grace, came to my rescue. I followed her into her office, trying to convince myself not to just run away while I had the chance.

She graciously sat through my portfolio monologue, where I showed her photo after photo of various art projects I had completed (I’m sure I was talking so fast she didn’t get one word in edgewise), and smiled after every single one with at least one compliment. I’d never felt more
grateful that someone was willing to listen to my very small and nervously explained portfolio.

Thankfully, she still welcomed me to the team, and despite me being their first marketing intern, she already had my MS Teams account & JA email ready to go (plus an amazing internship handbook with all the need to know info). I was pleasantly surprised at how organized everything was.

Once I was into the full swing of things, I spent my days designing social media posts, flyers, signage, infographics, and a whole variety of different things. I even got to create my own written content for some pieces, which is one of my favorite things to do. I learned the ins and outs of MailChimp, HootSuite, and WordPress, plus I got to brush up on my Adobe suite skills, after a whole summer of them being dormant. Carina was endlessly forgiving of my small mistakes, and forever encouraging of whatever I did produce, always willing to give constructive criticism and notes on what she thought needed changes.

During one of my first JA activities, I got to meet the very kind and hospitable staff, all of whom were very excited to learn I was the first marketing intern there.

I think the two biggest things I learned throughout the whole experience were: Getting used to being in an office environment (as a pandemic college student who had never had a “big-girl job” before) and how to develop an ‘editor’s eye’. By that I mean how to look at the design world through a more corporate and detailed lens. I have a tendency to miss details, partly because I’m a creative type, and partly because I
was inexperienced in that skill. I’m still not perfect at getting every little thing right, and sometimes I do miss little things, but JA was a really good step in the right direction for me.

As for being in an office, I actually really enjoyed it. There’s a bad stigma about the ‘office’ vibe that my generation has grown up with. “Oh, offices are closed off, annoying, gossipy, etc.” But going into JA I actually found that although office environments do have their pros and cons, the freedom to collaborate with peers and authority figures is so important in every creative process. It may not be like that at every office, but that’s how it was at JA. I felt like I was getting kind but firm feedback, I felt like I was encouraged, and, most importantly, I felt like I was learning.

If you’re reading this because you’re going into an internship here, my advice is: Don’t forget to check your email, don’t forget about office dress codes (my personal downfall), and remember that Canva will be your best friend. Happy learning to interns everywhere!


Interested in becoming the next JA marketing intern? Contact Carina at carinai@jaaz.org.