I had various internship projects over the course of the semester. These projects related to Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace in regard to Transgender employees and parental, legal matters as well as correctly applying federal, state, and local law to the company’s policies, and researching best practices in the industry and how to apply them to the company. More specifically, I assisted in the creation of Guidelines for Transgender Employees in the Workplace, implementing Sick Time policies for various cities and states, and developing a project plan for expanding Parental Leave for employees. In addition, I developed an HR department networking event. This was my favorite part of the internship, where I was responsible for developing ideas for the event, the timing, structure, and follow-up. I received such positive feedback from the event, which was quite regarding. Overall, the projects were quite different, but were related to attracting and retaining top talent and ensuring a successful workplace.
My internship gave me the opportunity to be “left to my own devices.” My supervisor gave me projects that she trusted me with and granted me freedom in making my own decisions based on research. Therefore, I was free to create various project plans for the company. In addition, we would have weekly check-ins to review my progress on various projects in order for my supervisor to review and give me feedback. This system worked very well to allow me to work independently, but with guidance.
After this internship, I have realized I can connect a lot of what I learned to various classes. Often, various topics relating to inclusion in the workplace come up in class, which I can now give perspective to my fellow classmates on how these topics relate in the working world.
I believe this internship experience taught me a lot about myself. First off, moving to New York City allowed me to exit my comfort zone and live on my own. This is an experience that many students do not experience until after graduating. Living in a foreign location teaches you a lot about yourself; your likes and dislikes about a location and preferences for the future. In addition, the cost of living becomes very real while interning and living on your own. Within the workplace, you get to explore different areas of work which assist in finding your passions. Also, the office environment is quite different from a classroom, which was important for me to learn - not all ideas would fly. Instead ideas are challenged and go through a long process before being implemented. It is very difficult to “cross things off of your list.” Ideas are considered by various departments, levels of authority, and depend on the time and other happenings within the organization.
A working schedule is much different from a class schedule. Entering into the working world, I missed the flexibility of developing my own schedule and the amounts of free time I used to have. Instead, in the working world you must meet the requirements of your boss on hours to work, rather than develop a class schedule that accommodates your preferences.
I received a full-time offer from my internship sponsor, but unfortunately I had to decline the offer. The reason was due to location. Another aspect I learned through my internship was the areas I would prefer to live and work in the future. My job offer was located in Stamford, CT and although it is a great area, I prefer to return home post-graduation to the Boston, MA area. I will now pursue jobs in that area. Meanwhile, my supervisor was more than understanding in regard to my decision and will remain a great reference in my future.
I think the credit internship program is a great opportunity for students. Working in a potential career area is necessary to learn your passions and preferences prior to entering the working world. There are many things I would not have known entering my career if it were not for the experiences I had at Thomson Reuters. Although, it may be difficult to leave Cornell for a semester, it is a valuable experience for personal and professional growth.
-Jen Gaudette, BSILR' 16