Ryeshia Farmer ’17 is an English/Great Ideas double-major who currently interns at CAIR Chicago in Communications.
Give three words that sum up your internship experience.
Good, getting better!
How did you learn about your internship?
“I searched online for internships that would allow me to build skills in political research and journalism and I came across CAIR Chicago (and The Chicago Monitor) during my search.”
Describe your internship.
“As a communications intern I have a number of tasks. I contribute to CAIR’s mission of combating Islamophobia and portraying an accurate image of Muslims by monitoring the media for bias or inaccuracies in stories that relate to the community we serve. I also maintain the public relations image of CAIR Chicago by creating content for the website. Finally, I serve as a reporter for The Chicago Monitor, an independent, online publication that was originally founded by board members of CAIR Chicago and that works to serve as a voice for under-represented people and groups as well as a news source for important stories that lack coverage and affect minority communities.”
What do you enjoy most about your internship? What are some of the challenges?
“My favorite aspect is definitely writing for The Chicago Monitor because it is a direct act of working toward my career goals. The work that I do there allows me to learn more about political systems, about multicultural communities, and about the art of journalism. Because my ultimate career goal is to become a political journalist who specializes in social justice stories, I feel as though my work with the publication puts me on a direct route toward success.”
How does your internship fit with your long-term career goals?
“Again, my work with The Chicago Monitor gives me experience in the exact type of work that I plan to do in the future. Moreover, the experiences I have through this internship give me direct insight into best practices, successes, challenges, and ethical concerns of using journalism as a way of advocating for social justice. In addition, having a general communications internship helps me build technical skills that will be marketable in addition to my skills in journalism.”
During your internship search, how did you make yourself stand out to employers?
“During my internship search I was very nervous because I wondered if organizations would consider me a qualified candidate. I am neither a political science nor a journalism major and I had only been a journalist for a couple of years. However, I realized that highlighting tasks and skills that I completed and gained through employment that may not have been specifically related to those two fields would not only prove that I was qualified, but it would make me stand out and show the unique perspective that I could bring to those fields. I highlighted my success in political science classes, my experience with social media and writing newsletters, my time as a staff reporter and blogger for The Carthage Current, and my passion for social justice and writing, which are typical tasks in journalism, politics, and/or communications.”
What did you find to be the most helpful during your internship search process?
“Having resources in Carthage’s Career Services Office was the most helpful during my internship search. They helped me build my resume, interviewing skills, answered all of my questions, and reassured me that I am a professional and that, as long as I presented myself that way, I could make for a promising candidate.”
Do you have any tips to share with other students about your experience?
- “Utilize Career Services. They will save your life!
- Reflect on non-employment/academic experiences that may make your resume stand out. Think of some of the unique things that you have done that show your qualifications!
- Build relationships with people within your desired organization(s) as soon as possible. Those connections and the impressions you make on any representative from an organization can influence your likelihood of being offered a position. So don’t be afraid to treat your interview like a conversation.”