Published on September 07, 2021

Chloe the intern

What I Learned as an Intern at Avera

While some college students spend their summers at home or on vacation, I spent my summer break as an Avera Health intern.

I’m a junior majoring in media and journalism with an emphasis in strategic communications. As the Avera Public Relations and Digital Communications Intern, I dove head-first into the world of Avera and its community. With a groundbreaking, two conventions, thousands of YouTube videos and three amazing supervisors, I got the internship experience of a lifetime.

How Did I End up Here?

When looking for an internship, I knew I wanted to find an environment that would not only challenge me, but give me “real world” experience. I found that and more with Avera. Although it was an unpaid internship, I knew that it would pay big dividends in valuable experience. So after discussing possibilities with Avera Marketing leaders, I started with Avera after my spring semester ended at The University of South Dakota in May.

As I started my experience, I engaged in various meetings and projects. My first week was a bit overwhelming, but my favorite part was walking around Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center, and being introduced to various employees as they welcomed me to the Avera family. Everyone I had the pleasure of meeting at Avera has been nothing less than kind to me. With bright smiles and warm regards, I felt right at home.

My Projects and Experiences

Throughout the summer I participated in different meetings and projects:

  • Avera Medical Group Family Health Clinic at Dawley Farms groundbreaking and announcement
  • Dakota News Now Avera Medical Minute shoots
  • Packing gift boxes for a new internal campaign
  • Avera Health YouTube analysis

The YouTube analysis was my big project this summer. I spent most of my days going through old YouTube videos and cataloging thousands of videos. Though it was a long project, I am so happy that I got to put my social media knowledge to use with this project. I also enjoyed going on media shoots . Interacting with Avera patients and medical staffs was truly a highlight.

Avera Values at Work

As I sit and think about my time with Avera, I am quite sad that I will be going back to USD soon. I am often reminded of the Avera’s Gospel values of compassion, hospitality and stewardship as an intern. I have been gifted with compassion from the people I met through this experience. Avera employees are passionate about their work and continuing the Avera mission throughout the community.

Many interns often worry about feeling like they are a part of a team in their workplace, but with the hospitality from my supervisors and “cubicle buddies,” I was so blessed to be surrounded by such welcoming people. I have also experienced hospitality as an intern through the generous gifts of Avera “swag” so that I can take a few pieces of my summer back to Vermillion with me. Finally, I am honored to be able to thank the Avera Marketing leaders for their stewardship this summer. When I felt lost or confused, they were my guides. They were always there to cheer me on or celebrate small victories. Their grace and patience is something I will never forget.

Blessed does not even come close to summing up my gratitude for this internship. Thank you to everyone in Avera Marketing, Public Relations and Digital Strategy. And thank you to Avera for creating such a humbling experience overall. I will be grateful always.

Learn about Avera internships.

Avera Public Relations and Digital Communications Intern Chloe Fullenkamp, a Waunakee, Wis. native, is a Media and Journalism student at the University of South Dakota.

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