Sneak Peek: As my internship comes to an end, I look back on how this rewarding experience has prepared me for my future. 

As I reflect on my time interning as a member of the Digital Media Engagement Team of the Department of Veterans Affairs, I realize that the experience of sharing Veterans’ stories as a writing intern has prepared me for my future.

My experience as an intern has taught me:

  • Communication and collaboration are the core of success. I communicated with various leadership team members through technologies such as Slack and consistently checked my emails to be updated on expectations for each week. I collaborated on blogposts with team members through Trello. Researchers fact-checked my articles for accuracy, editors improved my writing and graphic designers created the perfect image to embody the story. Each member is equally important because teamwork is the only way a project will succeed. 
  • I have mastered time management. With the pandemic throwing every anticipation of normal out the window, balancing school and an internship in an online world has made me flexible to new changes. Independence within this virtual internship taught me self-discipline as I plan on how to complete ten hours of internship work each week. 
  • My research and writing skills are greater than I would have ever imagined. Writing has become second nature and a means to be creative, while researching takes me into a rabbit hole of continuous learning. It is rewarding that I can use my writing as a tool to share the stories of others.

As a writing intern, I worked on countless articles, but the Veteran of the Day (VOD) articles have a special place in my heart. The first Veteran I interviewed for a VOD was a World War II Veteran. I wished he could have been able to read the article I wrote about him fighting in the Pacific Theater, but sadly, he passed away before it was completed. This made me realize that I am not just writing an article; rather, I am sharing the stories of Veterans so that their legacy lives on even when they have passed. Another VOD I wrote was sharing my grandfather’s experience of post-World War II service in the military. It is touching to know how I can thank Veterans, including those in my own family.

Other articles I wrote include: A Veteran’s Story (AVS), Operation Song articles and intern website blogposts. An AVS is an in-depth look at the success stories of American heroes. Completing an AVS is a milestone in my writing career because it is a huge accomplishment that my work will be published on a government database. 

One aspect of writing AVS articles I enjoyed was talking about Veterans’ experience with music therapy through the program Operation Song. Music is a lyrical way to express emotions, and as someone greatly appreciates music myself, I believe this program is brilliant. My writing informs Veterans about resources they can benefit from and acts as an informational lesson on social media. Lastly, I created content by writing captions to educate the Department of Veterans Affairs’ 1 million Facebook followers, 600,000 Twitter followers and 300,000 Instagram followers. 

This is an extremely rewarding internship as I feel each project making a positive impact in a Veteran’s life, and I am so grateful they trust me to share their story.

Writer: Hannah Nelson

Editors: Katherine Berman and Julia Pack

Graphic Designer: Grace Yang