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Rising sophomore and SIGP recipient Catherine is spending her summer gaining marketing and social media experience with Atlanta non-profit Global Paint for Charity.

Rising sophomore and SIGP recipient Catherine is spending her summer gaining marketing and social media experience with Atlanta non-profit Global Paint for Charity.

Catherine Zhang is a sophomore in Medill, pursuing journalism, a certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications, and a minor in Business Institutions. This summer, as part of the Summer Internship Grant Program (SIGP), she interned with Global Paint for Charity, an Atlanta non-profit, gaining marketing and social media experience.

I’ve been interested in non-profit work ever since I was in high school. Working with Global Paint showed me the ins and outs of non-profit work.

I collected data about local paint stores and reached out to them for paint donations. I worked on emailing and calling potential donors, and also helped manage GPC’s social media accounts, including Facebook and LinkedIn to promote upcoming events.

I learned how to learn Salesforce, Zoho and other CRM websites, and researched grant funding, helping jump start the application process.

During my time with GPC, I had the pleasure of working at the Atlanta Tech Village, an office building inhabited by start-up tech companies and more. Just being surrounded by young, ambitious individuals with a passion motivated me to work harder. This office space reflects that hard-working twenty-first century atmosphere, with nap rooms, contemporary conference rooms, lots of outlets and open space for laptops, and a breakroom stocked with snacks and drinks.

Over the summer, I attended multiple events that showed me more about start-ups and small businesses. I went to a marketing conference and met lots of local software engineers and marketing officials, and even sat in on Atlanta’s version of Shark Tank. It was great to see what the people around me had accomplished.

All of these opportunities, combined with the experience of working closely with my boss and supervisor, made for an unforgettable summer. I’m eternally grateful for everything that I’ve learned.

A word of advice to students pursuing internships: branch out and experiment. Though I’m not particularly interested in non-profit work, doing a marketing internship with a non-profit left me with an interesting perspective about advertising, social media and networking.

You never know what you’re going to find if you step out of your comfort zone.

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