Website Design and Digital Marketing

Abby McDonald headshot
Abby McDonald
Emphasis Area
Spatial Organization & Design Thinking

Abby McDonald developed technical skills in website design, as well as skills in project management and professional communication.

Why did you choose this internship?

I chose a digital marketing internship because of my experience in PAH 383: Pre-Internship - Building Career Readiness. I learned about the creative aspects of digital marketing and promoting an organization through design and wanted to try it out as a potential career. I liked the idea of working with a company remotely because of my responsibilities on campus and in the Tucson area, so the flexibility worked well for me. I also liked the concept of building a women’s empowerment website because it was important to me and I felt like it was a great cause to support. 

What new knowledge did you learn in this internship? What skills did you practice?

Throughout this internship I learned many different transferable skills, including how to communicate effectively in a professional setting. I got to grow my knowledge and skills with technology and social media. I presented work to my supervisor, which was helpful practice for future instances of having to communicate with clients. I also learned a lot about the behind-the-scenes processes of an organization: the little tasks that are completed each day to build towards the larger projects getting completed. Through this experience I was able to design and build a website, as well as create social media content for their new women’s empowerment program. 

What is unique about your situation that influenced your internship experience? 

Something very unique about my internship experience was that it was in a completely different field than I was studying. My area of emphasis in Applied Humanities is Spatial Organization and Design Thinking, but I was struggling to find design internships in Tucson. There seemed to be more options for remote internships related to digital marketing, so I decided to do an educational internship in the summer and then complete a digital marketing internship during the school year. I could see myself doing this as a job in the future because I did enjoy it, but I’m not sure if I imagine myself pursuing it as a long-term career, and that’s okay. I think internships are a great way to try new things and get experience in a professional setting even if it is not directly aligned with your major. 

How was the internship related to your Applied Humanities degree?

Tying my internship back into my Applied Humanities degree comes from the emphasis on spatial organization and design thinking. I have been able to shape my courses and degree plan over the past four years and learned a lot about design whether through regular architecture, landscape design, graphic design, or art history. My major expanded my creativity and pushed me to try new things like an internship I might not have considered before. I also have a minor in sustainability and got to pull sustainable elements into my designs and when I was working on product design. Through this internship I was able to draw from the many different elements of my academic pursuits. 

What did you find most challenging about your internship?

The most challenging part of my internship was managing engagement and communication in a remote setting. Although technology allows us to stay connected, trying to be supportive and feel authentically involved in an organization is very difficult when you are not in the office for day-to-day information. Remote internships often require you to initiate communication to solve problems or make progress in your work. Despite this being a large source of my challenges within this internship, it taught me a lot of skills about project management and professional communication that I will probably take with me in future roles where I need to communicate clearly with clients.

What is the impact of your internship experience?

The impact of this internship was greater than I could have imagined. Outside of the many skills that I learned within this internship, I also got a realistic sense of what it feels like to have a career. This was the first professional job that I have ever had and I learned so much from it, which makes me feel more confident entering my career field in the future. It also sparked the idea of continuing to pursue a digital marketing career alongside a career in sustainable design in the future. With these certifications and internship experience, I am able to build my resume to highlight professional experiences. 

What advice do you have for other students as they search for and begin their internship?

Some advice that I would give to other students as they embark on their internship journey is to be open minded and curious about new experiences and possibilities. There is always a path for you whether you know it or not, and growing your network and expanding your horizons can help you find the best path for you at the moment.

I also recommend remaining professional in your interactions with people at your internship site no matter the circumstances; sometimes internships can be very difficult and frustrating but holding a positive attitude and professional demeanor will help you build great relationships and letters of recommendation for the future. Continue to work hard at any task given to you and the hard work pays off with newfound skills and experiences to guide you in the future.