Sarah Kowalewski is a seasoned Digital Media Engagement (DME) intern. She joined in August 2019 as a graphic design intern and has since served in multiple leadership roles. She became executive officer (XO) of the graphic design and YouTube departments in May 2021. “As an XO, I oversee multiple departments. For me, this includes graphics (both “regular” graphics and motion graphics) and YouTube,” she explained. “I also supervise our executive leadership team (ELT) for both departments, staying in touch with her in regard to what all has been going on, any questions, etc.”

As an XO, Sarah has found a difference in work from her previous positions. “I’ve been a division officer (DO), department head (DH), executive leader and now executive officer. All have been incredible and fun to do! DHs and DOs are more hands on in a day-to-day aspect. For example, I’d be checking on weekly reports and filling out our master data sheet and going through Trello a few times a week ensuring projects are being completed in a timely manner. As an XO, I more broadly check over everything in the departments – kind of like a behind the scenes kind of thing!”

She also works more closely with top internship leaders like Dominique Ramirez, the internship coordinator. “I talk to [the internship XO] Michaela Yesis at least a few times a week, or even once a day!” she said. “Typically, this involves project developments, disseminating announcements, keeping them up to date on what’s been going on, etc. Really anything new that’s going on in the departments, I’m communicating it with them!”

Because of the need to communicate with other XOs and DME leadership, Sarah credits communication as a key skill in her XO work: “With the DME program being completely virtual, communication is just so incredibly important. It helps me not only get to know our interns and volunteers, but good communication helps us develop our projects quicker, understand any confusion or difficulties in a project.”

Her favorite project so far has been graphics work for content calendar. “I love seeing what everyone comes up with,” she added. “We’re also hoping to get some interns who are interested in motion graphics to help out with the development of that, since we currently don’t have any interns who are specifically working with motion graphics.”

Sarah’s advice to future XOs? “Take it seriously, but also have fun with it. It’s an amazing opportunity. Be ready to answer questions, help develop projects, policies, really anything that needs to be done. Be enthusiastic to help run departments that have incredible interns and volunteers who really enjoy what they’re doing for our Veterans!”

Writer: Sarah Concepcion

Editors: Julia Pack, Annabelle Colton

Graphic Designer: Katie Rahill