Makena Horton, senior strategic communication major, spent her summer working as a communication intern for two Walla Walla University alumni-owned businesses, Chloe Nicole Weddings & Events and Silver and Quill. Horton shares a few details about her summer experiences and provides insight into the value of internships for both students and employers.
WWU: What did your position entail?
Horton: For both businesses I ended up working with them on their social media, creating highlight covers for Instagram accounts, and helping them with their websites. I updated pages and created new content. For Chloe Nicole Weddings & Events, I wrote blog posts for weddings and styled shoots she worked on and created a content calendar and posting schedule for her social media. For Silver and Quill, I was able to photograph some new jewelry pieces she had made to showcase on her website and social media, as well as assist her in creating a Pinterest page for her business and sharing her pieces on that page.
WWU: What was exciting about this internship for you?
Horton: I was very excited to work with Chloe Nicole Weddings & Events because I had job shadowed the owner, Chloe Churchill, the previous summer during a styled photoshoot she had worked on. Chloe and I really got along well and when I approached her about doing an internship with her, she was willing to offer me one. Chloe introduced me to Summer Oyefeso, the owner and designer behind Silver and Quill, and I was able to do an internship with her as well. Summer and Chloe are both alumni of WWU and met as roommates, and are still friends to this day.
WWU: What made you select these internships?
Horton: I wanted to do internships with small-business owners because I wanted to see how what I was learning in my classes could apply in the small-business realm. A lot of what I have learned as a communications major is personal social media growth and company growth, but as someone who is going into the job force very soon, I wanted to make sure my experience was well rounded. I have learned so much about small-business communications thanks to my internships and have also learned many things from my on-campus job as a University Relations student writer.
WWU: Did you come across anything that surprised you or offered a challenge that you hadn’t come across before?
Horton: I have never worked for a small business before, so when working for two at the same time I learned a lot about time management and the difficulties of owning a small business, especially during a pandemic. I also learned about how engagement on posts on social media is instrumental to the success of a small business.
WWU: How do you see this experience assisting you in your career?
Horton: I believe that the experience I gained in my internships helped make me more well-rounded as a communications professional and will assist me in finding a job after I graduate. These internships helped me learn more about small business communications needs, and I feel that with the combination of my job experience and education I will be able to secure a job in many different areas.
WWU: What were some of your personal hobbies that you got to use?
Horton: I am a photography minor, so I was so excited when Summer from Silver and Quill asked me to photograph some of her jewelry pieces. In addition to getting more experience with product photography, Summer allowed me to use the photos for my photography Instagram account, Kirsten Images, and my personal portfolio. Summer also used them on her Instagram and website. Seeing my photos on the homepage of a website was very exciting!
WWU: What platforms did you regularly use and were there any that you had to learn?
Horton: I worked mostly with WordPress, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, which I am well acquainted with due to personal use. Two programs I needed to learn more about were Wix and Showit, which are both different web designing applications and website hosts. Both were fairly easy to use with a little practice.
WWU: What classes that you’ve taken were especially helpful for your internship?
Horton: One class that was very helpful for my internships was Social Media Strategies, which I took from Nancy Semotiuk spring quarter 2019. Since the majority of the work I was doing for Chloe Nicole Weddings & Events and Silver and Quill had to do with social media and blogging, I was able to implement a lot of what I had learned in that class within my internships.
WWU: What is your goal for your profession and how did you feel these internships prepared you for it?
Horton: My goal professionally is to go into public relations or social media management somewhere on the West Coast following my graduation in spring 2021. I feel as though my internships prepared me well for both areas, but more specifically for social media management.
WWU: How has studying communication supported your work?
Horton: I feel as though strategic communication and photography complement each other well and have been great in tandem, especially since a large part of social media and public relations can be content creation and visuals for media channels. Being able to create content in a variety of mediums, such as writing pieces, photos, and video, without having a team, is very beneficial to me, especially if I end up working for a small business or a company where I am the sole person in charge of their social media or website.
WWU: Did this experience answer any questions you had about working for a company?
Horton: Both internships helped me realize that working for a small business is a great option for me! Before this, I was solely interested in public relations, but the experiences I gained from these internships have helped me broaden my horizons and realize that I would do well in a variety of professions after graduation.
The WWU Student Development Center offers a variety of services for students looking for internships and for businesses offering internships. Learn more at wallawalla.edu/SDC. To see more of Horton's work for her internships, visit Kirsten Images.
Posted Nov. 5, 2020