Name: Marissa Pigeols
Internship, Co-op or Research Site: Office of External Affairs, Social Security Administration
Major(s)/Minor(s): English, History, Media & Communication Studies
Expected Graduation Year: 2016
Briefly describe your internship, co-op, research, or service- learning opportunity, including your day-to-day tasks, responsibilities, and assignments.
My internship is with the Office of External Relations within Social Security Administration. As the name of my position (Social Media Intern) may suggest, my assignments have all been within the realm of social media. Some of my assignments have included: writing blog posts for the Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) blog, By the Numbers, designing award certificates for employees, designing banners for web pages, designing info graphics for OIG’s Facebook page, and completing other various editing tasks.
What have you enjoyed the most about your position or organization/company?
I have strongly enjoyed using my design and editing skills in a practical manner. Everything I had designed up to this point had been for personal use. The items I designed for OER were to be used on their main web pages, their blogs, and their Facebook page. The certificate was likely my favorite thing to create, as I knew other people would be directly receiving it. Creating graphics for other people was incredibly rewarding.
What advice would you give to another student who is seeking an internship or similar experience?
Keep an open mind. When I received an invitation to apply for the internship, I was surprised - I had never applied for this. It turned out they’d received my resume from the school and were interested in interviewing me. I was apprehensive at first, considering I already had a summer job, but I went for it and I’m so glad I did! It ended up being such a great opportunity to test my design and writing skills and to learn more about public relations.
How do you see your experience as meaningful? This might involve skills you’ve gained, information you’ve learned, mentors you’ve connected with, or projects you’ve completed.
Before this internship, I knew very little about Social Security. I knew I had a SS number, and I knew I needed to protect this number to prevent my identity from being stolen. Through writing blog posts and reading testimony, I learned that crimes concerning Social Security can be the kind that destroys lives. As I have many elderly relatives, this kind of information was both concerning and valuable.
Please provide a short quote about what you liked most about your position / earning internship credit / the internship placement process / the Shriver Center:
I have always been interested in both writing and design, but was unsure about exactly what I wanted to do in those areas. Working with External Relations made me realize that whatever product you produce, be it a blog post or an info graphic, is useless if you don’t have a message you need to get across and an audience to consume it. The people I worked with understood this perfectly. They needed to help the American public understand the work SSA is doing, and have been adapting social media and 21st century technologies to ensure this happens. I now have a better understanding of the importance of social media and communication in such a plugged-in world.