The Clean Water Blog

White River, VT

Reflections on My National Communications Internship

A couple weekends ago, my older sister asked to quickly borrow my laptop. After opening it, she exclaimed, “Hanna, look at all of these tabs you have opened! What are you doing!?” It’s true, although I have trouble admitting it, I have become a bit tab-obsessed since the start of my National Communications Internship. My internet browser has turned into a treasure chest of webpages, newspaper articles, YouTube videos, and social media sites -- all sites that I frequent during a normal day of work. But when I think about it, the one-too-many tabs on my browser are pretty representative of the breadth of work I’ve been able to do during these past ten weeks.

One thing I’ve loved about this internship is that each task or project I’ve worked on has been different. During my first week, my work was focused on looking at the harm caused by irrigating crops with the waste water from oil productions. This week, I’ve been working for the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund Campaign, which is fighting for a bill that would provide emergency water resources to communities in California that have toxic tap water. Waking up each day with a new issue to research has been both challenging and exciting.

Working on so many issues and campaigns has also allowed me to work with a lot of professionals within Clean Water Action. Whether they were in communications, policy, or media, I was always impressed by their dedication to their work and their enthusiasm. At first, I was worried that working remotely might limit the connections I would be able to make with others in Clean Water Action -- but I couldn't have been more wrong. All of the professionals I worked with were so welcoming and wanted to actively include me in their work. I know that these connections and a supportive work atmosphere is something that I’ll look for in my future internships (and jobs -- post-graduation, of course).

This internship has left me with a greater appreciation for the field of communications. It’s been rewarding to learn how to write in all different styles and for different readers, too. I know that this experience will help me to be a more successful communicator in the science field. Normally at school, I don’t think so much about the impact of my writing because it will be read by two people in its time -- my professor, and myself. But this work has taught me that my writing can have impact, and to slow down and choose my words so that different audiences across the U.S. can take away the most important messages we are trying to send.

For any student looking to gain experience in communications, or get insight into how an organization like Clean Water Action works, I can’t recommend this internship enough. As for what is next: in my last two years of my college, I will take over twenty classes, study abroad twice, and hopefully have more experiences that will change my perspectives and help me to enter the “real world” as a more understanding, capable person. But for now, I’m grateful to have had the chance to work for a dedicated organization and to be able to say that I’ve been a small part of it.