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My name is Alana Lesczynski, and I am from the Lower East Side of New York. After living in Manhattan for my entire life, including my Freshman and Sophomore years of college, I transferred to the University at Buffalo. Along with switching schools, I also switched my major to Graphic Design. I was glad to be matched with an internship that aligns with my major through the Hillel at Buffalo. Now, I intern at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Buffalo in the Communications Department.

I gained many skills in the Communications Department that can apply to my major and career path. For instance, I have learned to maneuver a professional camera better, gained experience making graphics on Canva, and even set up multiple kiosks for an apparel launch. There are numerous projects to be worked on every day. Some of my most memorable assignments include several-foot-long signs that I designed for a concert that was the first the organization had ever seen. There were over a thousand tickets sold, and my 4-foot and 6-foot-long signs were displayed. Additionally, I helped make directional parking, seating, and sponsor signs for this event. In terms of my future, this experience opened my eyes to the possibility of working in a communications department.

I never really thought about what communications departments in companies do. Still, I now realize that they handle not only outreach but also every flyer, advertisement, Facebook post, logo, and most visual aspects associated with a company. I learned that a company has a brand standard to follow for graphics. There are certain scheduled times you should post for maximum reach, and every single event should be promoted. Working in an environment with this creativity and structure has helped prepare me for a job with close deadlines and constantly responding to people. In communications, you not only must respond to people who are external to the organization but also be in constant conversation internally with other departments.

Additionally, there is always something that can be done. There is always a post that can be made, pictures taken, or footage sorted through. It is great to have the immediate satisfaction of seeing your work right in front of you, where you know that you made a difference by promoting something with your own hand-made advertisement or seeing likes on a picture you’ve taken yourself.

Hillel has helped match 7 other college students this summer with internships, but most of them were the only ones assigned to that internship. This means they did not know anyone else going in. However, one other student and I got assigned together at the JCC. It was helpful to know someone going into this internship, so I would have a person that I could ask questions. We would talk sometimes, but I made other acquaintances in the communications department during my time here. I get along with the other interns and can ask questions to and relate to them. There are other employees in this department that I look up to who were there before I came in June. I ask them questions often and ask for more projects when I am finished with one. They always have an answer for me and help me make my projects the best possible.

I am grateful for the mentorship I have received through this internship, and I feel more confident in my future with Graphic Design as I enter my Senior year. Although I am not sure exactly what I will be doing once May comes around, I know these skills will be helpful in my job. As the new student body treasurer of my undergraduate student government, the masteries I’ve reached can be very resourceful to my new busy schedule. I want to best promote the events we are hosting and be on time with people I need to communicate to. Thankfully, I know the people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve gained here have been more than helpful in leading me to success.