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    Posted June 24, 2013 by
    Arlington, Virginia
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    What was your best internship?

    More from samzoe

    More Than an Internship

    As a college student, the word internship is often cringe worthy. What comes to mind is coffee, copying, filing, and meager pay. When I accepted an internship at Ashoka, it was because my post-college dreams found themselves in the world of social innovation, and I hoped at an internship at Ashoka I would at least read something informative from what I was filing or glean some good practices and information from conversations I would have.
    My expectations were so low, that my first day at this company blew me away, and there are still some days when I can’t believe it’s all real. Ashoka truly sees the value in the interns it recruits and gives us the same breadth of opportunity full time staff have. From day one I became an integral part of the internship program, helping coordinate sessions, develop materials, schedule site visits, and manage activities that would help the intern cohort grow.
    As a member of the Search Team at Ashoka, I have also been able to gain unique insights into the hiring process and have made important hiring decisions in over 100 candidates since I started. I have also had the opportunity to spearhead my own projects and endeavors with the intent of adding capacity and value to the organization.
    The development interns receive at Ashoka is not limited to work within their teams though. I’ve also had the opportunity to work on two different collaborative projects for two different teams. These projects have allowed me to gain a more in depth perspective of the organization and learn new skills and talents that will help me in my future career. I have also been lucky enough to take on the responsibility of aiding in the opening of a Country Office that Ashoka is trying to launch this fall.
    As if that isn’t enough, through Ashoka I have been able to network with important thought leaders in the Future Forum, gain key insights into the field of innovation and entrepreneurship, attend site visits to important organizations in the policy and scholastic communities in Washington, and meet and learn from Ashoka fellows.
    The internship experience at Ashoka is unique because it empowers and molds participants. We receive two key mentors that help us grow as individuals all while doing a wide array of work and learning a number of different hard and soft skills. I can proudly say that I have never used the copier, phone, or coffee machine once in this office, and I don’t see myself doing it for the rest of the time I’m here.
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