Blog: The experiences of an intern during COVID-19
Amy Brennan describes her experience working for IGDC during the start of the Covid-19 pandemic as Events and Communications Intern
By Amy Brennan
First, let me introduce myself. I’m in my final year of a Biomedical Sciences Integrated Masters and am supposed to graduate in July (more on that later). I have spent the last 3 months working as an Events and Communications Intern at IGDC. As someone who wants to pursue a career in events and communications, this internship was a perfect fit.
I started in February and it was all systems go. The main priority of my internship was to plan, promote and deliver the second IGDC Photography Competition and Exhibition. This was really exciting as I have never planned an event on this scale, with the exhibition due to last a whole month. I began on the communications plan, putting together a marketing and social media strategy, designing posters and social media graphics to advertise the competition.
Little did any of us know that while we were running around getting everything ready for the competition, a public health crisis was brewing. By week 3 of the internship, we had all switched to remote working and events at the university had been cancelled. My initial thoughts were that with no events going ahead, it would be difficult to complete an events internship, so I expected it would be ending early.
I am so grateful that this was not the case.
I first of all completed the planning for the Photography Competition and designed project management tools including a communications strategy to allow the competition to be run more easily when some kind of normality returns.
My internship then evolved into something incredibly exciting. I took charge of designing solutions for running IGDC events online. Over the next few weeks I became affectionately known as the IGDC “Zoom Wizard”. After hours of Zoom meetings with myself, testing the platform and ensuring the features would meet the needs of IGDC’s future events, I was able to design a best practice for various online events such as research seminars, panel discussions and online workshops. The opportunity to spend so much time working on online events has been invaluable. Along with matching the IGDC values of sustainability and inclusivity, online events are a necessity in the current climate and are likely to remain popular into the future. The arrival of COVID-19 has led to a surge in online events and requires event organisers to have an increasing set of skills and an ability to run events on and offline. Having this experience will be essential when I apply for other events roles after graduation.
The circumstances have meant that I have had to develop a range of new skills. Along with the very useful experience in online events, I’ve also developed numerous other skills over this period; the key skills being adaptability and perseverance. I went from planning an exhibition in the IGDC office, to designing online events strategies (of which I had no experience at this point) from my childhood bedroom. Yet I have completed my internship with newfound knowledge of online events, video conferencing platforms and increased confidence presenting after pitching my event solutions to the team.
As I come to the end of my degree, having completed my internship it’s unclear what my future will hold in the short term. My graduation ceremony, rather than on campus, will be taking place in the garden and I’m now beginning my search for a job, in the knowledge that this internship has prepared me for an events industry that could look very different than before. I would like to say a huge thank you to Minna who has supported me to continue my internship through a very difficult time and everyone else at IGDC that has made me feel so welcome! I’ve gained a great understanding of global development research and have loved my time working here. I’m really sad to be leaving the centre and the university all in the space of a few months, and wish everyone at the centre the best for the future.
Photos courtesy of Amy Brennan