Communication Studies Pre Grad Intern Sarah Penny

Sarah PennyReflecting on Pre-Graduate School internship

When first signing up for the Pre-Graduate School Internship I didn't know what to expect. I entered this class with an open mind, ready to take on what was assigned. Although shortly after, discovered that this class was not like most others. It took the unconventional path to education. Instead of having a strict outline of how to discover what to do after college, it allowed us as students to discover it for ourselves.

Through the semester the words Intellectual Entrepreneurship used to describe the PreGrad Internship became increasingly significant, as I was able to develop a program that best fit my passions and desires with the help of my graduate student mentor Kate Blackburn.

I was first attracted to Kate Blackburn's work because her research agenda draws on interpersonal communication, social cognition, and organizational behavior. These areas of study are what got me interested in graduate school. Her examination of how language reflects the psychology and communication processes such as how people linguistically construct their sentences in different situations is fascinating. Kate not only introduced me to her graduate school studies but she also allowed me to develop a program of my own.

Kate and I would meet one-on-one every other Friday. During our time together we focused on a research program I was developing that could be used for my graduate studies. She was extremely helpful in the process by recommending ways my project could be funded. She also connected me with people who could be of value and challenged me in my research. We stayed in constant communication via email during the week and she gave me assignments that I would present to her when we met in person. Kate was a great source of accountability throughout the process of developing my program and she provided much useful information that I was able to build on.

Through working with Kate, I gained a broader perspective on education. I discovered that learning is not limited to classrooms but rather taught through real life examples. By having a mentor that supported me I was able to grow in my knowledge about graduate school as well as grow in my personal studies. I came to Kate with an idea that she encouraged to turn into a reality. Through her advice, guidance, and motivation I am proud to say I know what I want to do upon graduation.

After finishing my undergraduate studies, I will be studying the American dream through shadowing and working along successful people in each of the 50 states. Seeing a void in many of my peers lives, I have decided to explore a variety of professions and a range of lifestyles to inspire others to find and do work that excites them. The IE PreGrad Internship program has helped me discover the next journey I want to embark upon graduating college: The Journey of Jobs. Watch my video: