Student internship spotlight: Megan Goosey goes to Washington

Megan Goosey, an advertising/public relations major, is currently interning with the nonprofit organization Central Union Mission in Washington, D.C. She obtained this internship through The Washington Center, a program that provides semester and summer internships for students in Washington, D.C. In this program, students also take academic courses in conjunction with their internship experiences. Megan answers questions about her experience: 

How did you hear about The Washington Center internship program?

I remember sitting in my apartment, seeing my friends posting pictures of their study abroad programs and getting a little jealous that I had not had an experience like that. I had seen the email about The Washington Center internship program last December. That evening Dr. Ponder wandered into my mom’s (Debbie Goosey) office at Drury and told me I could have the entire box of pizza he was holding if I would give him five minutes to explain what an awesome experience The Washington Center was. Ironically, I had just been looking at the website that afternoon. After comparing the program to a couple of study abroad options, I came to the conclusion this experience would be the best use of my money and provide me with the best academic and real world experience.

What is the Central Union Mission?

The Central Union Mission is one of the oldest nonprofits in the D.C. area, serving the community since 1884. The Mission operates an emergency shelter program, a rehabilitation program for men with life-controlling issues, a food, clothing and furniture distribution center, a retreat and recreation center with a camp for underprivileged children, programs for isolated seniors, computer and job training, and transitional and low-cost housing.

Your official title with the Central Union Mission is Communication/Graphic Design Fall Intern. What are your primary duties in this role?

Our main office is split into two departments. A handful of us work in the communication department, the other side of the office deals with financial obligations. My role is to work under the Director of Communications at the Mission, Deborah Chambers. I have gotten to do a lot more graphic design than I expected, which is great! The Mission bought me Adobe InDesign for my computer and a brand new Rebel ESO camera. I have created pieces to put in the monthly newsletter that goes out to 50,000 plus volunteers and donors. I manage social media sites and have created a direct mail package, designed Facebook banners, flyers, and posts about upcoming events, and created buckslips of recipe cards.

What has been the best part of your internship? 

Coming to work every day and knowing you are changing lives. My favorite thing is to interview the men at Gales, the Missions Men’s Center. I get to sit down with the men and hear their stories of how they came to be homeless. No matter how tragic the story is, they are always thankful they have found the mission for support in their time of need. They are so grateful for an opportunity to start over, or gain support when they had none. The Mission puts its heart and soul into loving each individual and giving them the resources to fulfill God’s purpose for their lives. Some of these men are directly off the streets. They always enjoy having their picture taken and being featured on our Facebook page or newsletter as they continue their success story to graduation from the Gales Men’s Shelter Program.

What has been the most challenging part of your internship? 

Sitting at a desk for 8 hours; but usually 2 days out of the week I am at Gales (The Men’s Center) or taking pictures at an event, so it balances out.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned since beginning your internship? 

Even if you craft the perfect email, sometimes you will get a one sentence response or no response at all. People are busy, so I have learned not to take offense to short and to the point emails. I still sometimes add in a smiley face on the ones to my boss for kicks.

What classes are you taking in conjunction with your Washington Center internship? (please provide name and briefly describe course goal) 

I am taking Communication Ethics, which is required at Drury for my major. My instructor works at the Associated Press building, which is where we attend class. The class is more journalism-focused and meets from 6:30-9:30 which is long, but I really enjoy learning about the ethical material used in the news and media.

Please give 2-3 specific examples of how your Drury University communication courses have prepared you for your Washington Center experience. 

I have helped develop newsletters, design direct mail pieces to send out to the 50,000 plus volunteers and donors, assisted and written press releases and pitched ideas to the media for the Mission events. Without Dr. Waters’ strategic writing course I would have not had the knowledge to craft these documents. She would be proud to know I keep my AP style guide and copywriter’s toolkit book on my work desk.

I have greatly exercised my graphic design skills to design various projects. The Mission only has one graphic designer, so helping out with the smaller projects is a huge help to her.

I love my experiences interviewing the men at the Men’s Center. Dr. Gilstrap’s interpersonal communication and organizational communication classes really helped me know how to formulate questions and grab important information after transcribing an interview.

All Department of Communication majors are required to take senior seminar the fall semester of their senior year. How are you taking this class while interning in Washington?  

I had a week and a half to figure out how I was going to squeeze senior seminar into my semester away after I came back from South Carolina this summer. I lucked out; I have a mom who loves me very much and brings my computer to Shewmaker every Tuesday, and one of my classmates brings the computer to class and Skypes me in for an hour and a half. It’s pretty funny being a random talking head in class. My capstone project is focused on making a microsite for Central Union Mission. The website focuses on the men and how homelessness can occur to anyone at any time. The site will provide information and statistics about chronic homelessness in the D.C. area. It is a challenge to add in an extra class while basically working full-time and taking two additional classes, but I have been able to blend senior seminar and my internship together to make the project work.

What advice would you give current or prospective students interested in obtaining an internship through the Washington Center? 

I would like to ask Drury to advertise the opportunity more! This program is truly for any major, even undecided. The Washington Center is a once in a lifetime opportunity that will toss you into the real world, yet provide mentoring and guidance. I have already benefited from this program and gotten to do things I would have never had the opportunity to do. I would recommend the program to juniors and seniors; this is the best time to go. I would also suggest going in the fall when the city is illuminated with golden fall colors. Every negative perception I had about coming to a big city has been shattered. You will not regret it. The Washington Center is more than just an internship; it is culturally rich and always providing resources to grow your professional development. Everything you need to be successful is at your fingertips if you take it. The other interns are nice and just as lost as you at first, until you get the hang of things then you are guiding others on the metro. TWC motto: Experience transforms

What has been your favorite part of D.C. life? 

I made a check list of things I wanted to do before I came to D.C. and have added things while being here. I have already visited most all the monuments and museums. The best place I have been is Georgetown. It is beautiful and so is the college campus where I go sometimes to study. The area has a colonial feel along with awesome shopping, restaurants, waterfront parkways, and of course cupcakes. My friends and I go to brunch, and take day trips every Saturday in Maryland and Virginia. On Sunday nights we have “family dinners” potluck style. There are so many cool things to do in the city. I have downloaded two apps that keep me updated on everything that is going on. You can’t afford to miss a thing when you’re only here three months.