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    Remote Internship is 'as Real World as it Gets'

    Annie Yurgosky '22 (left) and SBDC Director Lisa Hall Zielinski, MS, CPP (right)
    August 5, 2020
    To me, this internship is as 'real world' as it gets.

    Like many other students this year, Annie Yurgosky '22 spent the summer interning from home. Yurgosky interns for The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center (SBDC) as a Small Business Internship Initiative (SBII) Operations Intern. We caught up with her recently to hear about her experience. 

    Tell us about your remote internship experience. 

    ​I started working in the position in the early spring semester and has carried now into the summer, so I was able to have an understanding of both what the internship was like in person and then remotely. I definitely think that the first few weeks of working remotely were an adjustment period for everyone. I soon realized how important it was to keep a strong line of communication between everyone to make sure that I am clear what my tasks are for that week. Whether it was through Zoom meetings or emails, I realized that effectively communicating with my supervisors was key to having a successful remote internship.

    What are some of the skills you gained?

    ​My internship at the SBDC is for the Small Business Internship Initiative. This is a program that the SBDC has that connects students in the area to internships with small businesses. My job is to help the small businesses that are interested in hosting an intern decide what they need assistance in, and develop a post and criteria to post on our website so that we can connect the right students for the internship. We are also there to help the small business and student with any questions they have throughout the internship.

    I think that throughout this process I have enhanced my writing skills and Microsoft Excel skills. Being able to keep track of all of the internships that have been posted and where each internship is a large amount of the data that we must keep track of through spreadsheets so that any person is able to refer to it at a given time and can find the answer to their question. I also think that throughout this internship, my communication skills have been greatly enhanced. I have learned to communicate with the small business owners, students and my supervisors effectively so that we are all on the same page which, in my opinion, is the most important skill to have in a business setting.

    How do you feel this internship prepared you for the real world?

    The Scranton SBDC works with many small businesses throughout the Scranton area and surrounding counties. Back in pre-COVID times, our office mainly saw people who had business ideas or small business owners who were looking to expand. It was a very cool experience to be able to watch someone come into our office with just an idea in their head and then several months later be standing in front of their new business at their grand opening. I saw the business consultants work tirelessly to help people make their dreams a reality.

    It was a surreal experience to watch their focus shift from helping people apply for loans to start businesses, to now applying for loans in hopes that they can save their business. These past few months have been an extremely hard and difficult time for the SBDC, as we have watched many of our small business owners face challenges they never thought they would encounter. It has been absolutely inspiring to see how these people have been able to make changes to their businesses in such a short amount of time in order to keep their employees and customers safe. 

    I think that the most important characteristic in someone is to be a teachable person.

    If you think back to January and February, there was no such thing as no-contact delivery or curbside pickup. These businesses had to change the way that they have been doing things forever. They did it because of their passion and drive to keep their small business alive and give hope to the community that there will be an end to this but until then we are going to keep you safe. Many restaurants have now added outdoor dining to make their customers feel comfortable going out to eat.

    To me, this internship is as "real world" as it gets. I've had the opportunity to see the ups and downs that the real world throws at you and how you have to roll with the punches. It has shown me that with drive, passion, and the ability to adapt to changes quickly, you can overcome almost anything.

    What advice would you give to college students pursuing an internship at this time?

    ​While it may be difficult in the world we are living in right now, don't give up on searching for an internship! It can be one of the most beneficial opportunities to enhance your education at the University will push you to improve your problem-solving skills in ways you never thought you could.

    Once you have an internship, don't be afraid to ask questions! An internship is a learning experience, don't feel like you need to have all of the answers. The way to get the most out of this experience is by asking questions and listening to their critiques. I think that the most important characteristic in someone is to be a teachable person. I went into the internship with Socrates' idea that "I know that I know nothing." It's OK and important to know that you don't know because that's how you learn. That idea will allow you have the most beneficial internship experience.

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    Annie Yurgosky '22

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