BYU English Internships

English Department Internships for BYU Students

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What Have Other Students Done?

Sydney Biggs

Intern at BYU Magazine, 2015; Unite for Sight–Ghana, Spring 2016

sydney

I was in Ghana working with an NGO called Unite For Sight, which partnered with local eye clinics and optometrists to provide affordable eye care and eradicate preventable blindness.

If a student asked you about interning in Ghana, what would you say? I would say, “GO FOR IT!” It was such a great experience. A lot of students want to do international internships to travel, and I did get to see a lot of Ghana, but I was working 6 days a week. It was hard, long hours, but totally worth it.

What is your advice to future interns to help them have a successful experience? My advice would be to pack less than you think you’ll need, ask the locals questions (seriously, any questions you have!), keep your mind open, and don’t hesitate to try new things. When in doubt, follow the lead of locals.

What was the most rewarding aspect of your internship experience? I think that the most rewarding aspect of working with Unite For Sight was seeing people who truly needed help receiving it. I loved watching people I had helped receive free eye surgeries and regain their sight. I liked knowing that the little things I did every day, though they seemed menial to me, were so helpful to the optometrists I worked with (and they routinely saw 100+ patients per day!).

Anything else you’d like to share about your experience? Everyone should do it! Internships provide invaluable experience that can help shape your education and future plans. My internship also helped me learn about myself.

Maddie Dayton

maddie dayton

If a student asked you about interning with FUSION 360, what would you say? This internship was really eye opening for me. I really took it upon myself to learn as much as I possibly could while I was there, and it paid off in big ways. Even though this was technically an internship at an advertising agency, my writing drastically improved as well as my critical thinking skills. I think that no matter what internship you are participating in, if you take it upon yourself to really learn and thrive, you won’t regret it.

What is your advice to future interns to help them have a successful experience? The best tip for success I got was to keep everything in perspective. Sometimes I was asked to do hard things or things I didn’t really want to do, but everyone has to do their time. When I started looking to just learn as much as I possibly could in the four months I was an intern, it didn’t matter what I was being asked to do. Look at your internship as a learning experience and a stepping stone for a future career. I was really really lucky and had a great internship, but I know of people who really struggled. Remembering that this is just a step to take you where you want to go is really important.

What was the most rewarding aspect of your internship experience? I produced hundreds of published content pieces throughout this internship, which was unbelievable for my resume. The contacts I was able to make though, were probably the best part of my internship. Because of those contacts, I now have more friends and a cool job!

Anything else you’d like to share about your experience? I had always heard, that as a student studying English, I was going to struggle to find a job when I graduated. Hearing this negative thinking from friends and students from different majors can definitely be discouraging, but it is completely untrue. I was able to use the knowledge gained throughout my major in about a hundred different ways at my internship, and that internship turned into a job. Never underestimate the power of your degree. English is a really important degree and there are tons of jobs out there for English majors.

Katie Bowman

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Intern for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
Stratford-upon-Avon, England

Interning at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust will give you a peek into the unique world of cultural nonprofits. Working at SBT will put you in the proximity of many authority figures in the world of Shakespeare (and it is its own world) but because of the nature of nonprofits you will work with many of them personally. The office is small so you will not only be able to fill many roles but your projects will be substantial and valuable to STB.

For me, the internship was ideal. The organization is significant and the office atmosphere is friendly and supportive. The supportive atmosphere, ultimately, was the most important to me. I felt emboldened to try new things and make significant contributions.

I have three pieces of advice for anyone that follows behind me:

  1. Brush up your Shakespeare–Going into the experience, I thought I knew something about William Shakespeare. Hours into my first day I found out what it really means to know William Shakespeare and I wasn’t even on the spectrum. (I spent the first month pretending to laugh at jokes and then covertly looking up the play references on my phone) The bedrock of the organization is built on the history of Shakespeare’s life and times and I wish I knew more about it going in. This being said, everyone fakes it a bit when it comes to Shakespeare, but if I could go back, I would walk in with the ability to fake it a bit better.
  2. Communicate, communicate, communicate–So much of my anxiety over the summer would have been resolved with a clear understanding of their expectations and a scheduled meeting with my supervisor, specifically to discuss my progress. I did not pursue these on my own because I was chicken, but it would have given me the peace of mind to know where I stood and how I could improve. Always keep your supervisor informed of your work and stay open to correction. You will make mistakes, but the only way to know if they are big or small is to communicate.
  3. Work hard–In the end, I know this is why I was successful and why you will also be successful!

The most rewarding aspect of my internship experience was the value of my completed project. Like I said, this organization is not-for-profit and therefore finds real value in an extra set of hands. They will give you real projects and if you work really hard, you will be able to see the impact it has on SBT.

The people who run this organization are wonderful and will become your friends. Be open and charitable to EVERYONE and people will take notice and want to be around you. That might sound like more of a Sunday school lesson than anything else, but this internship is where I learned the validity of that statement. I’ve made lifelong friends and I’m so excited that you will get to know them too.

Alex Oldroyd

alex oldroyd

Intern for OCI and SIP
On Campus

1.       If a student asked you about participating in an on-campus internship through SIP, what would you say?

I actually worked on an OCI (On-Campus Internships through the Marriott School) team at the same time I worked with SIP (Social Innovations Projects through the Ballard Center). I haven’t yet worked on an internship through the English department but I can say that what distinguishes SIP from other on-campus experiential learning opportunities is the chance that there is to work with some very worthwhile organizations and people whose aim is primarily social. My project was to work with the president of the Religious Freedom and Business Foundation (RFBF) to help develop a business plan for a business incubator that will serve refugees and other minority groups in Manchester England. The incubator has a launch date for this spring and will be a pilot program for a system that could one day spread across the world. It was as intense as it was meaningful, and I know from my discussions with other SIP students that they feel the same way. I highly recommend supplementing your BYU education with an on-campus experiential learning program. It’s a chance to really apply your skills as an English major while gaining valuable real world experience. Furthermore, if you want the work that you do to be focused primarily on the public good then SIP is where you want to be.

2.       What is your advice to future interns to help them have a successful experience?

Get used to ambiguity. Embrace it. Part of the fun of SIP is being asked to do something you don’t know how to do and then figuring out a way to do it. You can expect communication and expectation issues, and you can be sure that you won’t be given answers to important questions or even always the methods to find those answers. All of that, though, is what working in the real world is about, and especially working in fields as innovative as what you will find in SIP. This may put you far outside your comfort zone, but that’s where all of the real learning happens anyway.

3.      What was the most rewarding aspect of your internship experience?

It’s a tie between working with our mentor, Brian Grimm, and the chance to be involved in a project that had so much potential to change the world. Brian (as he asked us to call him), the president and founder of RFBF, is a man of incredible vision who would be on the phone with us one day, then meeting with LDS apostles in Salt Lake the next, then presenting to the Parliament of the UK, then to Congress after that, and end his week meeting with dignitaries on the Arabian Peninsula. The chance to rub shoulder with someone like him was invaluable. Moreover, the work he had us do was something that I truly believe will one day help a lot of people. Knowing that I played a role in getting it all started, especially as an English major undergrad in Provo, Utah, is a treasure.

4.       Anything else you’d like to share about your experience?

I was in charge of the financial section of the business plan, which included financial projections, budgets, balance sheets, chashflows, income sources, and a lot of other work and research in which I had no background. There was certainly a steep and difficult learning curve I had to overcome but in the end I’m glad I had the chance to develop skills I likely wouldn’t have elsewhere, and to realize that it wasn’t at all incompatible with my humanities education.

For any English students who may be involved in the Honors program: I helped lobby the Honors to count SIP as an experiential learning experience. They haven’t officially putting it on their forms yet, but if you’re an honors student looking to get that component of the program done, look no further.

Madeleine Read

Me

Intern for the European Social Observatory
Brussels, Belgium

Give a brief description of your internship.

The European Social Observatory (OSE): researching, writing, and editing publications on EU social policy.

What was your most memorable experience?

I got the chance to coauthor a paper that would later be published in a political science journal. It was a chance to organize, synthesize, and articulate many of the new things I had learned during my three months, not to mention a great opportunity to see my work published.

Was there a specific person you remember in regards to your internship?

The director of the organization and my supervisor was Bart Vanhercke, who impressed me from the first day with his kindness and management ability. He has a lot of the qualities I aspire to in a leader: while not afraid to make hard choices or have difficult conversations, he is friendly, kind, and constructively critical. He has a unique energy and excitement about learning new things and working on fun projects. It was fantastic to work with and learn from him.

What was the strangest thing that happened during your internship?

The OSE is quartered in a normal residential house in Brussels and has been for thirty-some-odd years. About two months into my internship, the director decided that for the first time in the history of the OSE, it was time to clean the place out. The research team (a bunch of bookish-PhD types) made a chain down the three flights of creaky wooden stairs and spent a full day passing boxes from the fourth-level attic, whose floor had begun to buckle under all the weight, to an enormous recycling bin parked at the curb outside. The event wasn’t so strange in and of itself, but it certainly wasn’t what I expected to be doing during my internship–and it was way more fun than I had thought it would be. We all spent the next week moaning about how sore our backs were.

If you ate anything crazy, what was it?

Unfortunately, most Belgian food isn’t anything too far out of the box. The strangest dish I ate was a canned peach half with tuna salad on top, which turned out to be surprisingly good.

What do you think was the most rewarding aspect of your internship?

It was definitely learning about topics that I would never have thought to research on my own. Understanding how the EU works has given me a greater understanding of how the United States works, along with some ideas about changes that might make it better.

What do you wish every future intern would know or do?

Network, network, network! Use the precious time you have to get to know the wonderful people you work with and establish meaningful relationships. Not only is it an invaluable resource when you start to look for a job or when you want a letter of recommendation, but it’s also a great way to make lasting friendships and understand the value of human interaction.

Any last thoughts?

I wish I had taken my internship into my own hands earlier, instead of relying on the staff at the Kennedy Center to do things for me. I didn’t realize how flexible internship experiences can be; if I had, I definitely would have tailored mine better to suit my needs. Decide what you want out of an internship and then look for one that suits you–they’re out there, even if it takes a little effort to find them.

 

 

Eric Smith

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Intern for the Scottish Parliament
Edinburgh, Scotland

Give a brief description of your internship.

Entering the Scottish Parliament for the first time was intimidating, especially knowing that I would work one on one with the equivalent of an American senator or congressman. However, my fears soon were relinquished by the warmth of my boss, Dennis Robertson MSP. Instead of being treated like an intern, I was treated like a colleague—an equal. I was thus given a large task list. Writing press releases, drafting up political debates, planning out committee meetings, submitting motions and revisions to laws, attending confidential government meetings, assisting in community projects, meeting with top government and business officials, I often sat in my desk (next to my boss) trying to finish or even start my lunch.

What was your most memorable experience?

At least I feel this way after re-reading what Frances, essentially my boss, told me when she opened up about her opinion of me and my work ethic, saying: “Both Dennis and I are very disappointed that your internship is about up. Most of the time, we are quite happy for interns to head off and when their time is up, it’s normally a good thing. But we have often discussed in the elevator on how much we have enjoyed you staying here and how we would love for you to continue your internship . . . if you really wanted, maybe even indefinitely . . . I know that Dennis would more than happily recommend you to receive any position or job within the Parliament, and if you must go back, he would even be willing to write a letter of recommendation for you (not just have you write a letter of recommendation for yourself and have him approve it) . . . I think that you have potential to do anything! Forget Oxford! Go to Cambridge and become a Footlight! Or really go anywhere you want. We usually don’t like interns this much or appreciate the work that they have done for us as much as we have enjoyed this.”

Was there a specific person you remember in regards to your internship?

Too many to actually think about. Almost every single person was so kind to me. But one of my favorite people was my boss. I worked one on one with him and despite my lack of experience, I essentially became his personal assistant, while also being one of his researchers. He really wanted to see me succeed in any aspect of my life, offering my opportunities to research my own passions and help look into new laws and regulations that could be added for the Scottish people. I was also amazed at his drive and work ethic, often arriving at 8 in the morning and leaving at 10 at night, while only receiving minimal payment for all of his work. He was always going and you could not really see that he was stopped or slowed by his blindness. He was and is possibly one of the most brilliant men that I have ever had the pleasure of getting to know.

What was the strangest thing that happened during your internship?

If I did not have teachers (and colleagues) help, I would never have had opportunities like attending the Cross-Party Group Meeting for Germany. To my great astonishment while being here, I was invited to sit at the table with all of the German, Austrian, and Swiss representatives, even asked to introduce myself. As a former student at a Goethe Institute, I was able to offer some of my support in building and strengthening the intellectual ties between Germany and Scotland. Now, I am a shy person by nature; one that hyperventilates and has to pray before talking with a professor, girl, or even my friends. This internship has helped ease those nerves to talking with people who I regularly interact with, even helping to calm my fears with talking to foreign dignitaries.

If you ate anything crazy, what was it?

Haggis and many other odd things which I did not dare ask about.

What do you think was the most rewarding aspect of your internship?

To me, it has been remarkable to see how much more personal these Scottish politicians are with their constituency members than most current politicians. Yes, the Scottish Government and politicians are not perfect, but to almost every member, they did not become a politician for the money (especially with its relatively low wages); they wanted to make a change in their community. I now understand why many American interns have moved to Scotland after their internships to work for the Scottish Government and people. I myself am quite tempted to do the same.

What do you wish every future intern would know or do?

Just have fun. Sometimes your internship provider wants to see the real you. Of course do not go crazy, but they want to see you, not a robot (unless if you are interning as a robot, then completely disregard my comments).

 

Kennerley Roper

Kennerly Roper

Intern for HELP-International
Hyderabad, India

Give a brief description of your internship.

I lived in Hyderabad, India for three months, working with local non-profits on a wide variety of projects and programs in slum communities, which ranged from anti-child marriage campaigns to mobilizing communities to fundraise bore-wells for clean water to leading introductory entrepreneurship workshops for illiterate women.

What was your most memorable experience?

For me, it’s the little moments that are most memorable. In my first week, we were able to tour the slum community we were to be working in. Our partners showed us the operating bore-wells drilled and maintained by the community with pride. It was a hot day, and we stood in the shade, trying to cover our heads with scarves and ration our water. One woman came out of her house at the sight of us, and smiled and gestured to my water bottle, speaking Telugu. I didn’t understand what she wanted, but she took my bottle and disappeared into her little concrete home. When she came back, my water bottle was full and she was nodding. I bowed my head in gratitude, slightly shocked. For many families in the slums, water is the most precious resource. It is often scarce, and when it is available, it is either expensive or extremely unsafe to drink. Even with the bore-wells, they can’t afford to be frivolous with something so precious. So to offer to give me some of her water was particularly striking to me that someone with so little could be so generous.

Was there a specific person you remember in regards to your internship?

Urmi, or as the volunteers and I liked to call her, Mother India, was an entire head shorter than me, but if she was ever in the room, she was a dominating presence. Like all women in Hyderabad, she wore brightly colored sarees, long swaths of fabric elegantly wrapped around the hips and shoulders, and a long, black braid tied down her back. She worked with one of our partners, HEAL-SAPID, an organization aimed at community and personal development in the slums. We called her the bulldog because her powerful voice could command an entire room of women and volunteers, and her passion for women empowerment was inspiring. In a presentation of “Proud to be a Girl,” a project where we would discuss with 10-16 year old girls about body image, goal setting, and changes in their body, she once closed with a powerful lecture. She explained in Telugu how you may not feel beautiful or skinny or tall as other people, but those things don’t last. “Strength is reality,” she said in English for emphasis, a resounding closing statement the reflected her personal philosophy.

What was the strangest thing that happened during your internship?

I got accidentally married in India. My fiancé proposed while we were there, and we were at our friend’s home, and they wanted to dress us in custom Indian wedding attire, so I put on a saree and a frilly head covering, and he had a loongi (it’s pretty much a male skirt) and a scarf. Then, they had us put flower garlands around each others necks, and we did, playing along. The family clapped and cheered, and someone quietly told us that the garlands meant we were married. There were laughs all around at our reactions.

If you ate anything crazy, what was it?

I love Indian food, so nothing was too spicy or weird for me, even when they jam-pack spices into every dish. But probably the most peculiar thing I ate was a dish called haleem. Hyderabad has a heavy Muslim population, so during Ramadan these haleem stands would open up at night where they would sell you plastic cartons of this chicken paste. They pound wheat, lentils, and chicken together, stew it for several hours, and serve it with fried onions, cashews, and hard-boiled eggs. Hyderabadi haleem is actually considered an international delicacy, but it’s so full of calories to sustain Muslims during their fasts. I thought it was delicious, though some volunteers swear they got food poisoning from the shards of chicken bone in the haleem.

What do you think was the most rewarding aspect of your internship?

The most rewarding aspect of my internship was being able to see the difference a person can have, both with my volunteer work and the effect the Indian people have had on me. You meet the most incredible people when you either go abroad or serve.

What do you wish every future intern would know or do?

Since middle school, I’ve wanted to go to India, and fulfilling that dream was just incredible. With an English major, it didn’t necessarily make academic sense for me to go to India and not work with English, but I wanted to try something new. In the end, it paid off. I was able to design and lead an introductory entrepreneurship workshop for illiterate women who wanted to start their own businesses, and I am so proud of that accomplishment, that I want to try to improve upon that curriculum and teach more women. If you’re passionate about something, but it doesn’t fit your academic plan, try an internship. I gained valuable experience and insight, not just about international development and Indian culture, but I learned a lot about myself as well.

 

Shane Peterson

Photo at Internship

Intern for the Wordsworth Trust
Grasmere, England

Give a brief description of your internship.

At the Wordsworth Trust, I was able to give tours of Dove Cottage to tourists, guide people around the museum full of Wordsworth artifacts, work on research projects in the Jerwood Centre, help out at special events for the Trust like exhibit openings, attend sections of the annual Wordsworth Conference, and be apart of an event for the centenary of World War I. I was also able to help the head curator, Jeff Cowton, curate and create a gallery for a WWI exhibit coming this November and create a guide for future BYU interns coming to the Trust.

What was your most memorable experience?

The Trust hosted an event at the Jerwood Centre, where a local history group and the glee club read letters, recited poetry, and sang songs from the time period. Then, for attendees of the annual Wordsworth conference, we opened up the Cottage and only had candles lit inside, reenacting what it would have looked like during Wordsworth’s day. Then, at eleven o’clock, we put out all the lights in the Cottage, museum, and residential houses as part of a nationwide blackout to commemorate those who lost their lives in the war. It was surreal and wonderful just being there on this historic occasion, and I felt privileged to be apart of it.

Was there a specific person you remember in regards to your internship?

The Trust occasionally puts on contemporary poetry readings, and I had the chance to attend one for Tom Pickard, a famous British poet. His reading was extremely entertaining. He had long hair that fell down to his shoulders and was wearing a white pirate shirt. He swore like a sailor and made profanity sound like an art form. He also had a glass of wine in his hand the whole time and fit the northern English persona perfectly. He actually made one of my coworkers, Kirsty, a bit homesick because they’re both from Newcastle. I got the chance to meet him and have him sign a collection of his poetry. I guess I remember him the most because he was such a character. You know, the kind of person you meet in passing but could never possibly forget.

What was the strangest thing that happened during your internship?

This one time, I went into the village after work and ran into Kelsey Allen, one of my old co-workers from Writing Fellows. She was taking a tour of England before starting a summer creative writing program at Oxford. It was just strange seeing someone I knew in a place as remote and far-away as Grasmere.

If you ate anything crazy, what was it?

A full English breakfast with eggs, sausage, baked beans, bacon, toast, fried tomatoes, and an eggplant. Britons do eat hearty when they want to.

What do you think was the most rewarding aspect of your internship?

Probably giving tours of Dove Cottage. It was difficult learning all the material for each room and knowing how to alter the tour to fit the needs of each group. But I enjoyed this part of the job the most because I was able to see the impact it had on other people. I don’t know, I just really liked telling people about Wordsworth, Coleridge, de Quincey, and the other Romantics who are tied to the house. Also, people were always intrigued by the fact that an American like me was working there, especially one from Las Vegas.

What do you wish every future intern would know or do?

Pack light, bring good hiking shoes, and don’t forget an umbrella. And, if you have time, read lots of Wordsworth.

Any last thoughts?

In all, I’ll never forget my experience with the Wordsworth Trust. It was one of those life events that will continue to have an impact on me for years to come. I hope that I get the chance to go back someday, either on holiday or for a future job. In fact, I actually wouldn’t mind working there again if I ever got the chance.

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