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Aaliyah Quintal '21

English and Communication double-major Aaliyah Quintal describes her internship experience with General Motors. At UMass, she currently works with the Admissions department as a Marketing Communications intern and is also a peer advisor for the Communication Department. View her LinkedIn profile to learn more or to connect with her.

How did you find your internship?

I found my internship on LinkedIn. If anyone is interested in pursuing this internship next summer, I suggest checking out the job listing!

Can you tell me more about your internship responsibilities? What stood out to you about the work you were doing?

This summer, I interned virtually with the Internal Communications team at GM. I was very fortunate to work on a multitude of diverse and meaningful projects during my time with the company. Some of the bigger projects I worked on were pitching, developing, and publishing 25+ various multimedia content across GM brands for the internal website, Socrates, and planning and executing the internal communications campaign for the release of the 2021 Chevy Tahoe and 2021 Chevy Suburban. I also had the awesome opportunity to work alongside Corporate Communications & Human Resources to plan and coordinate the Intern Super Slice featuring CEO Marry Barra, where I was selected to work with the CEO as the moderator for the Q&A session. Overall, my unique responsibilities this summer not only gave me a taste of the company as a whole but pushed me to grow not only as a professional but as a person. 

What stood out to me the most about my work this summer was how much ownership I was able to have over my projects. My manager and team allowed me to take the lead on all my projects and encouraged me to use my unique insight when navigating my tasks. I was able to tell stories that I found meaningful and even suggested new ideas to our editorial team, which I was always able to write. As an intern, it was incredibly meaningful to be able to take the lead on all of my projects.

How did the process of a "remote internship" go for you?

Truthfully, it was a much more seamless transition than I could have ever imagined. When I accepted this internship back in November of 2019, I fully anticipated that I would be moving to Detroit for the upcoming summer. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, GM gave their interns the option to work remotely, which I ended up pursuing from my home in Massachusetts. 

Before my first day, I was incredibly nervous about how this summer was going to go working at home. I have had other internships in the past, but never in a fully remote capacity like this one. Even on day one, my team included me right from the start. Within a few days of my first week, I already had multiple projects to work on and meetings to attend that made me feel like I was at the office. While I will admit that working remotely is intimidating at first, I was easily able to adapt to this new work environment and truly do not feel like I missed out one bit being a remote intern at GM. 

How did you draw on your experiences as an English major during your internship?

There was genuinely not a day that went by that I did not draw on my experiences as an English major in this role. From adapting my writing to a new audience, utilizing my editorial and editing skills, and crafting and adapting my storytelling to different topics and tones, my experiences as an English major helped me excel in this internship.

What skills did you develop during your internship? Did it teach you anything new about yourself or your career prospects?

I would say that my storytelling abilities developed greatly in this role. Working with the Internal Communications team, I wrote many stories for our internal website, Socrates. I wrote 25+ stories during the duration of my internship which not only enhanced my skills as a writer but exposed me to many sectors of the company. I was able to tell stories about our products and brands, employee features, intern highlights, top news from our CEO, and just about anything that was pushed my way. Through this, I was able to not only grow as a writer but understand what stories our internal audience enjoyed reading.

This internship taught me a lot about myself and my career prospects. This was my first strictly communications role. In the past, I mainly held marketing communications roles and always envisioned myself staying on a more marketing path in my career. This internship opened my eyes to the endless possibilities in a communications career. As I move forward in my professional career, I am incredibly interested in exploring more communications roles due to this experience.

What might you say to prospective students who are considering English but concerned about their career options?

Your major does not necessarily define your career path. This is something my communication advisor always says and it has stuck with me throughout all of my professional experiences. As someone interested in marketing and social media, I have been able to land great roles within the field without having a degree in the subject. I credit this due to the broad yet essential skills that I have mastered as both an English and Communication major. Having strong writing, analytical, and even communication skills go a long way in any career path and I have found that my English degree has set me apart when applying to full-time roles and internships. Not once has anyone questioned my majors in an interview; they see them as assets.

Any final thoughts?

As we progress forward to an uncertain future of work, I highly recommend looking into remote internship opportunities. While it may be intimidating, and a hard adjustment from what you are used to, there is an immense amount of value in internship experiences, even remote ones. The skills that I learned from working remotely are highly valuable, unique, and something that will stick with me even when I return to an office setting.