Communications interns find positives from working remotely
June 26, 2020
Each year, the King’s Communications and Media Relations department welcomes several interns from the Fanshawe’s Public Relations program and from Western’s continuing studies programs, who work with staff to provide communications support of events and initiatives taking place on the King’s campus.
However, with King’s moving to a largely virtual campus, interns Farnaz Kouchaki of the Marketing Post-Degree Diploma program of Western’s Continuing Studies and Dina Ibdah and Chloe Balmer of Fanshawe College’s Graduate Certificate in Public Relations and Corporate Communications program saw their internship become virtual. They have worked from their respective homes, meeting with King’s Communications staff via Zoom meetings, and communicating through Slack and Asana.
While it wasn’t a standard internship operation which previously involved being part of the on-campus office experience, the interns have expressed they will come away with new skills and experiences they can carry forward.
“My internship experience has exceeded my expectations,” says Ibdah. “I have had the opportunity to work on a wide range of tasks that relate directly to what I am learning in my Public Relations program. The Communications team is quickly adapting to the pandemic situation and they are coming up with very creative solutions to carry on. I am proud of the work I have done so far and I am excited to be given more responsibility,” she says.
For Ibdah, the parent of a high-spirited toddler, having an internship in a virtual work from home environment was both rewarding and challenging.
“Since day cares are closed, I appreciate being able to work from home. I am very fortunate to be part of a supportive team, and what better way to hone my time management skills?” she says.
Kouchaki admits she wasn’t sure what to expect from a virtual internship but says she is grateful for this opportunity. In just a few months, she has learned a lot, especially from the experience of other team members.
She has been involved in various creative designs, content creation, and social media activities. She explains the vast range of activities will make it easy to tailor her internship experience to her fields of study and interest as well as her future career path. At the same time, it has provided countless opportunities to explore things outside of her comfort zone and provided opportunities to learn and grow professionally.
“The highlight of this internship for me has been the support, feedback, and kind interactions I have with my colleagues and other interns on a daily basis. All in all, my internship at King's Communications team has been an amazing experience so far. I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who would like to expand his/her professional knowledge in fields of Communications and Public Relations, gain hands-on skills in these areas, and have a lot of fun working with an exceptional and amazing team,” says Kouchaki.
Balmer says she had found her virtual internship to be “an extremely beneficial and educational experience.”
“This internship has taught me how to be a productive team member in very unique circumstances and has allowed me countless opportunities to learn new things. I’ve been able to conduct phone interviews, write articles, create graphics, post to social media, and participate in a number of strategic communications meetings all from home. My work with King’s has prepared me for an ever-evolving working world, where time management and self-discipline have become increasingly important,” Balmer says.
Balmer credits the King’s Communications team for doing “a wonderful job” to ensure the interns have had the best experience possible. The team has welcomed her contributions and appreciated the work the interns have done. She feels comfortable and confident in collaborating with the team, despite having never met most of the department face-to-face.
“I am extremely grateful for all of the opportunities King’s has given me to complete meaningful work and add to my portfolio. I have been able to apply my knowledge from past and present courses at Fanshawe to my internship at King’s, and vice versa. The experience of working in a communications department during a pandemic has opened my eyes to the diverse components of strategic public relations, and I’m extremely grateful to learn from such accomplished professionals,” says Balmer.
King’s Manager of Communications, Jane Antoniak, credits these interns for helping the department during an exceptionally challenging period of issues management. “These interns hit the ground running, bringing added energy, ideas, skills and creativity to our small but mighty team! They quickly adapted to our new normal virtual operations. I wish them all the best in their future careers.”
Learn more about Communications and Media Relations at https://www.kings.uwo.ca/about-kings/media-and-communications/.