How These 6 Girls Got The Most Out of Their Summer Internships

We asked these 6 interns how they used their summer internships to establish themselves in their individual career fields.


Taylyn Harmon

I am currently interning with The PrivateBank Corporation in Chicago, learning the ins and outs of commercial banking. I took the internship as excellent experience before applying to graduate school to get my MBA. I am one of two non-business-related majors in the whole internship program and I never saw that as a setback. As an entrepreneur, seeing where my money goes is an opportunity that not many people take. This internship made me more inquisitive and open-minded to building new interests.


Kennethea Wilson

This past March I was offered three amazing paid summer research opportunities; the first from the National Institute of Health (in Bethesda, MD), the second from Johns Hopkins University (sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and the third from Harvard University.

The summer before, I got rejected from all three opportunities, but I was determined to be admitted into at least one program this summer (2015). I was faced with the difficult decision to turn down both Harvard University and the National Institutes of Health to conduct research with Johns Hopkins. By the end of the summer I will have a manuscript based on my research findings on intimate partner violence ready for publication to any health based science journal.

My career goal is to become an epidemiologist so that I can conduct research and make recommendations to policy makers on the national level. In doing so, I will be able to track the distribution and spread of diseases and ailments that plague minority populations, especially Black women. This experience has helped me in building the skill set I need to accomplish my end goal.


Raven Irabor

My school has an amazing alumni network that is always looking to assist current students. This past winter I participated in the Alumni Partnership Program. In this program, students are paired up with alumni that best suits their interests. At that time I was really interested in marketing communications, so I was set up with a marketing technology company.

This was only a week-long internship, but it was honestly the best internship of my life. As a student, it is always comforting when you are around professionals who truly care about your experience. This comfort allows students to perform their best. The Marketing Team was filled with such welcoming and warming people. They wanted to me to get the most out of my week there and I most definitely did.

Sometimes it is the places at which you do not see yourself working that impact your life the most. As a student who was interested in marketing communications, I was eager to get as much knowledge in the field as possible and my alumni mentor was eager to help. At the end of the experience I understood the different types of marketing companies and realized marketing technology was not for me. It is only when you are in an environment that allows you to not only understand more of the industry, but more of yourself, where you can truly thrive as an intern.


Abby Lyall

This isn’t exactly an internship, but my career completely changed direction when my business partner and I were granted $20,000 from our school to make our startup idea a reality. We are now in the process of developing an amazing app that connects high school volunteers with nonprofit organizations in ways that both groups really need. Aside from potentially providing great societal benefit, this experience also taught me more about running a business than I ever learned in class.

From writing a business plan to incorporating a small company to working out every minute aspect of our product’s functionality and design, being an entrepreneur has exposed me to a wealth of interesting, hands-on experiences and fascinating people that I never before even knew existed. I know that whatever path I may end up eventually following, the value of that grant had a large impact on my life—and was worth much more than 20 grand.


Nina Rodgers

Although I haven’t had the opportunity to intern with one of my dream companies, I do my best to utilize the resources I have at school. I’ve learned that when you know how to create your own opportunities, you can shine wherever you are.

I serve on the executive board of the National Pan Hellenic Council at Syracuse University, and my position requires me to chair committees for major events the council holds. This past year, I conducted in-depth, sit-down interviews with celebrities Wade Davis, Mara Brock Akil, and Taraji P. Henson.

Having the opportunity to talk one-on-one in front of a crowd of thousands of people has been one of the most exhilarating experiences I’ve ever had in my life. Those moments helped to sharpen my in-depth interviewing skills as a journalist, and gave me more confidence as I move into my last year of college, and prepare to enter a highly competitive media industry.

Through the stories I helped each celebrity share with the audience, I learned lessons that I will hold on to for a lifetime. Wade Davis taught me the importance of being your true self, and how to be bold in the face of adversity. Mara Brock Akil taught me how to trust myself, and believe in the gifts I have to share with the world. Taraji P. Henson taught me that I can succeed no matter the odds against me, and that with God, all things are possible. I walked away excited to share my talents with the world. I now know that I have a gift of helping some of the most famous and well-respected people in the world share their stories so that people can learn from them.


Nkumeh Tifah

I interned at UC Berkeley last Summer for a food service management program with National Association of College and University Food Services. It was amazing! Being from Lowell, MA I had never traveled to the West Coast and to add on to it, I had never traveled alone either. I really learned a lot about being myself and adjusting to new environments on my own. I met some amazing people that I still keep in touch with and I can’t wait to travel again. My biggest lesson from the summer is learning confidence in myself and learning to be on my own so far away from friends and family.