Category Archives: From the Trenches

Updates from students interning in various professions around the country.

From the Trenches: Tales from the Capital

by Adam Portoghese
Intern with mCapitol Management – Washington, D.C.

This summer, the Pendulum News Blog will bring you reports “From the Trenches:Reflections on Interning” for Elon University Students to share their experiences interning in various professional industries. Spending the summer working in an unfamiliar environment can be frightening, challenging, overwhelming but, very often, incredibly rewarding. We want to share YOUR stories of overcoming fear and achieving success. 

If I have not told you, I love my job. After clearing out an office we, the interns at mCapitol Management, ransacked all of the art work and decorations and put them in our office area. I now have a plane, which I am currently trying to suspend from the ceiling, and several vases in addition to an easel for any future art activities. A plethora of African artwork and sculptures now surrounds me as if I am working at a Smithsonian Museum, but I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way.

But make no mistake–I have come to DC to learn. I am currently doing what Elon affectionately calls “experiential learning.” Through Elon’s partnership with The Washington Center, I was assigned an internship based on my specific interests. Being a Political Science and History major, I wanted to work with the government or something associated with the government process. After several interviews I selected mCapitol Management, which is a government relations firm.

For those of you who do not know what “government relations” means, it is basically the nicest way possible to say lobbyist. At mCapitol, I assist in research focusing on defense programs and surface transportation. I attend committee hearings and write up reports for the legislative assistants at my office which are then forwarded onto clients or higher-ups. I have, on occasion, preformed the typical tasks of the intern, such as getting coffee, making copies, or making deliveries around DC. But the experience has been wonderful. I could not have lucked out more with my internship, and not only because of the amount I have learned, but because of the people I have met. I am confident that this experience will help with my career search after Elon, and if I am allowed to offer advice it would be to get to DC as soon as you can.

Adam Portoghese is a senior at Elon University and is double majoring in International Political Science and History, with a focus on American Military History. He is president of Alpha Phi Omega and is a  officer for Elon’s Men Club Volleyball team.

Do you have any interesting internship stories you’d like to share? The Pendulum News Blog is looking to share YOUR experiences, from within any professional industry, with the Elon community. Send an email to Caitlin O’Donnell (caitlinod319@gmail.com) & Kassondra Cloos (kcloos@elon.edu) to find out how to become involved. 

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From the Trenches: Reflections on Interning So Far

by Caitlin O’Donnell, News Editor
Intern with The Post and Courier – Charleston, S.C. 

This summer, the Pendulum News Blog will bring you reports “From the Trenches: Reflections on Interning” for Elon University Students to share their experiences interning in various professional industries. Spending the summer working in an unfamiliar environment can be frightening, challenging, overwhelming but, very often, incredibly rewarding. We want to share YOUR stories of overcoming fear and achieving success. 

To call the first day at an internship intimidating is an understatement. You’ve prepared as best you can, but there is no way to accurately predict what’s going to happen when you enter your new workplace.

This summer, I’m interning at The Post & Courier in my hometown of Charleston, S.C. For the month of June, I’m writing for a weekly entertainment insert, Charleston Scene, before moving to the metro desk in July.

The Post and Courier, located in Charleston, is the South's oldest daily newspaper.

While enamored with most aspects of the jobs and constantly hungry for more hands-on experience, the realities of the profession are never far. Cuts are being made everywhere and the Post & Courier is no exception. It’s harsh, it’s tough to swallow, but the situation simply can’t be ignored.

But that doesn’t mean newspapers are dying. Rather, I view it as a period of transition for an industry that has been in existence since the very creation of this country. Like most in the profession, I’m stubborn. I don’t like taking “no” for an answer and, for a while, I attempted to reconcile the historical, longstanding function of print media with the ever-changing age of the Internet. But, as I’ve come to realize, we cannot keep doing things the way we have always done them – it’s a simple as that.

I would love to keep publishing 3,000-word stories tracing the life of a fascinating character or getting to the heart of a controversial issue. But the harsh truth of the matter is that the majority of Americans doesn’t have or refuse to make time for this type of in-depth reporting. They want fast, they want simple to digest, they want it immediately. And as much as I envy the days when a newspaper was a staple in every American living room, that age is gone and the online, international community has replaced the local, familial one.

To tell veteran reporters, or even obstinate newcomers like me longing for the days of Woodward and Bernstein, that they must change the way things have always been done, is challenging. But it’s an obstacle worth fighting through because it can ensure the survival of this (imperative) profession. If newspapers can endure the advent of radio and television, I simply refuse to believe that they can’t work through Twitter and YouTube.

Caitlin O’Donnell is a junior at Elon University majoring in print/online journalism and history. She currently serves as one of two news editors for The Pendulum and writes for University Relations. 

Do you have any interesting internship stories you’d like to share? The Pendulum News Blog is looking to share YOUR experiences, from within any professional industry, with the Elon community. Send an email to Caitlin O’Donnell (caitlinod319@gmail.com) & Kassondra Cloos (kcloos@elon.edu) to find out how to become involved. 

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