Intern It Up
View the complete issue of fall 2013 LOYNO Magazine.
By Diana Mirfiq, '14
Whether cruising in a submarine, shaking hands with the U.S. vice president, building a web show in MTV’s New York City office, volunteering with the Google Community Leaders Program, or opening up a gym, Loyola students are taking every opportunity to get immersed in the world around them through internships and community outreach programs.
IN THE NAVY
LaMicha Jackson, international business junior, interned with the U.S. Navy this summer. Her summer adventures included flying in a helicopter, firing weapons, and riding in a submarine on her birthday. Jackson says her most memorable experience was flying a T-34 aircraft by herself.
“That was incredible,” she says. “We did barrel rolls and sharp turns, so we had about two or three G-forces acting on us.”
Jackson believes that her Loyola education enabled her to think critically, particularly during her Somali immersion training. Jackson says everyone was split into different teams and given rifles loaded with paint bullets. They had to formulate a plan to kill all snipers while keeping their teams safe, Jackson says.
“With the chaos of yelling, carrying ‘injured’ or ‘dead’ team members, explosions, and numerous weapons being fired, along with a captain and five or six sergeants yelling at us, this was an experience for the books,” Jackson says.
She says she was shot twice in the exercise but still managed to “kill” three snipers. Jackson finished off by carrying out a “wounded” teammate, all without “dying” during the training. A major recognized her group as the best fire team, but Jackson gained more than an award.
“So much respect was gained for not only the Marines but also all troops who go through land and hand-to-hand combat,” Jackson says.
Like Jackson, Alden Woodhull, mass communication and Spanish senior, says she strengthened her sense of pride for her country through her summer internship. Instead of taking on her usual summer waitressing job in her hometown of Washington, D.C., Woodhull ditched the apron and embarked on an adventure at the White House as an intern in the vice president’s press office.
“I realized that this internship encompassed so much of what I’m passionate about,” Woodhull says. “It allowed me to work in my field of study with communications and media relations.”
Woodhull says she enjoyed meeting Vice President Joe Biden and that he even spared time to talk to the interns who worked in his office. Any time she got to listen to the vice president was a “good day,” Woodhull says.
“He speaks with so much poise but is so genuine at the same time,” she says. “The two most moving speeches that I heard in person were his calls to action for mental health care and gun safety in our country.”
Woodhull says she believes her mass communication education gave her an upper hand during her internship. She felt confident about her writing and learned things that added to her previous social media knowledge.
“Having taken Professor Nelson’s Social Media Strategies class, I already had background on social media analysis and was thereby able to get so much more out of the experience,” Woodhull says.
Woodhull feels honored to have had the privilege of interning at the White House: “I know what a rare and special opportunity it is to walk onto the White House grounds every day, and I feel so fortunate to have been able to been a part of this amazing and historic administration.
I WANT MY MTV
Bryan Mooney, music industry senior, says he had his sights set on a different kind of summer internship. He was interested in Viacom International Inc., a media company that owns various television networks and film studios including VH1 and MTV. After seeing what the company had to offer, Mooney says MTV seemed like the perfect placement.
“When I applied to Viacom, my interest was focused on MTV because I feel that it is more closely tied to the music industry than many of Viacom’s other brands,” Mooney says.
As a product development intern, Mooney’s main objective was to design strategies and campaigns to attract more online engagement. His coworkers started a weekly live-streamed music and comedy show out of their office called Streamed Dumplings that he soon became involved with along with co-worker Ralph Bishop.
“This began as a test of the company’s live-streaming technology,” Mooney says. “They decided to turn it into a program after Ralph ate a banana at his desk on the live stream and was encouraged by viewers to eat a second.”
After that, Mooney started handling the booking and engagement strategy for Streamed Dumplings. As for celebrities, Mooney says he occasionally bumped into a few around the MTV office, but being starstruck isn’t in his nature.
“Celebrities are just people, and I can’t say that there are many people I would really freak out over meeting,” he says calmly. “Unrelated to MTV, my friend and I chatted with [actor and comedian] Aziz Ansari the other night – he was pretty cool.”
JUST GOOGLE IT
Kimberly Iberico, visual arts senior, and Ethan Rosenberg, music industries studies junior, didn’t wait until summer to get involved with the Google Community Leaders Program, which helps local businesses, entrepreneurs, and nonprofits leverage and utilize online tools. The opportunity magically appeared to them last year, and now they’re team leaders.
“I was really bored one day, and I was exploring EMPLOYOLA [the Office of Student Affairs’ Career Development Center’s job search website],” Iberico says. “I saw the listing for the program and just applied to
it. I completely forgot about it until I received an email saying I was a finalist. It really took me by surprise.”
Rosenberg has a similar serendipitous story: “Elliott Adams, entrepreneur music industry professor, knew I was into technology. He saw that Google was offering something. He sent me the link, and the deadline was that day.”
Unlike an internship, Iberico and Rosenberg were doing community outreach service work, but they gained professional development skills and their experience was immeasurable.
“It is rewarding and a great learning experience,” Iberico says. “Helping small businesses and organizations around the city become more web-literate to help improve businesses is amazing.”
She thought it was shocking that they were able to get 115 businesses online: “That's a lot of businesses! And we did that.”
Not only has Iberico helped numerous businesses, but she also used her newfound skills to help her family businesses get online.
“I think it’s great that I can make an impact on my family and helped improve their businesses,” she says.
Rosenberg developed a program with an organization called Sweet Home New Orleans. He was able to use his music industry education to find ways that local musicians can benefit from Internet tools to build their fan bases.
“The musicians really loved it,” he says. “We taught a class with eight musicians in May. The feedback was great. We were primarily focused on developing engagement strategy, more so than just showing them how to use tools.”
One of Rosenberg’s strategies was for musicians to add more relatable things online instead of just posting when they have an upcoming show. A musician who incorporated this advice was a woman in her 60s who started posting more pictures and videos from earlier in her life.
“It was cool because you could tangibly see more engagement around her posts on Facebook,” Rosenberg says. “It was cool to see how that impacted her. She’ll call me with questions all the time. We go and get lunch – it’s so nice to be able to build meaningful relationships.”
Google unexpectedly affected Iberico’s and Rosenberg’s lives. They were surprised to find that 64 percent of Louisiana businesses aren’t online. They are now team leaders and want to continue increasing digital literacy.
“It’s awesome,” Rosenberg says. “I’m a natural-born leader. It’s cool to be able to inspire people to take ownership over something that I created that is making an impact on the musicians in the city. It’s really meaningful. I’m thankful for the opportunity.”
GETTING A WORKOUT
International business junior Adam Stelly wouldn’t settle for just an internship or outreach program. He combined his passion for business and his self-proclaimed obsession with fitness by opening up his own gym this summer. Stelly’s Appear Fit fitness center opened its doors on July 29. It was a huge moment for Stelly, whose journey toward fitness began as a child when he struggled with emotional eating.
“I turned to food for comfort,” he says. “It was my only coping mechanism for my emotions.”
Stelly says he became determined to focus his energy on something he could control – working out. It wasn’t easy, and Stelly says he had to learn how to fall in love with the process and not the end result.
“I had to say, ‘OK, Adam, if you’re not the hardest-working in the gym, then you’re not going hard enough,’” he recalls.
Stelly began to incorporate that philosophy into his daily life. He became a certified personal trainer at 17 and started off with freelance training, but he hated working on other people’s turf. He decided to buy equipment and train clients in his parents’ garage. But business-minded Stelly ultimately wanted to run his own fitness center, and just last year he opened up the first Appear Fit in Uptown New Orleans.
His motivation wasn’t enough, and Stelly says he “failed miserably” at his initial attempt to open his fitness studio.
“Not a single person showed up for the entire three weeks that my classes were offered,” Stelly says. “I realized that I was marketing to the wrong crowd. Now Appear Fit is on the Westbank near Oakwood Mall. I’m so glad we made the move.”
Stelly even kicks military soldiers into shape. The military saw something special in Stelly, and this past July they awarded him a contract to get Army platoons in top shape before their basic training begins. He started off by working with the soldiers once a week, and now he trains them twice a week.
“During the workout, they hate my guts, but they really do like me,” he says.
Jackson, Woodhull, Mooney, Iberico, Rosenberg, and Stelly all say they gained new knowledge in their particular fields of study, and they are all living proof that there is no predicting what type of opportunities a Loyola student can experience.
Diana Mirfiq '14 (psychology) is a staff writer for The Maroon. Portions of this article were previously published in The Maroon.