Name: Elizabeth Zhao
Class Year: 2022
Hometown: Edison, NJ
Internship Organization: Concussion Alliance
Job Title: Program Manager Intern
What’s happening at your internship?
I just finished the eighth and last week of my internship with Concussion Alliance, and it’s been a productive and meaningful journey. I got to experience the combined roles of a science-writing intern and a program manager (PM) intern.
As a PM intern, I led a sub cohort of five science-writing interns by serving as a sounding board for their projects, answering questions, and leading project check-ins. I also helped my fellow PM interns and coordinator organize the discussions and weekly schedules for the larger cohort.
Like all the other interns, I got the opportunity to start the program with two weeks of curriculum to learn about concussions, their recovery, and their treatment. Before this program, I didn’t know anything about concussions, but as an intern, I even contributed to Concussion Alliance’s weekly newsletter.
Why did you apply for this internship?
I applied for this internship because it looked like a learning opportunity in many aspects. I wanted to learn more about the behind-the-scenes of a nonprofit health organization. I wanted to learn more about concussions and current research on them. I also wanted to learn newsletter and science writing. I was really excited about the weekly expert guest speaker program, too (and I was right to be). Overall, I wanted to contribute to this important resource for an overlooked issue.
What is something you have learned from your internship that you didn’t expect?
I initially joined the program as a science-writing intern. However, a week before the start date, my program director gave me the opportunity to take the role of a PM intern. I accepted, but I was still pretty nervous about this unexpected leadership position. I remember asking my friend before the first day if I could “steal” her personality because I thought I would have to be extra outgoing and enthusiastic on Zoom to be a good leader or be likable. Over the course of the internship, I learned that I could just be myself with my fellow interns. Even if it was a little awkward at first, it’s not the end of the world, because that’s just what meeting new people is like.
What is most rewarding about your internship?
The most rewarding part of my internship was connecting with people. One of my goals at the beginning of the internship was to reach out to one of the expert guest speakers. I learned that most professionals are really approachable and willing to help or share their experiences or answer questions.
Another highlight was conducting one-on-one mid-internship interviews with my sub cohort. I felt like I came really far in connecting with the other interns, and it was rewarding to know they could talk to me about improvements and suggestions they had for the program.
Visit the Summer Internship Stories page to read more about student internship experiences.