The life of a summer intern
Every summer the ELCA churchwide organization hires summer interns who are interested in sharing their skills, gaining new work experiences and reflecting on their futures.
By Jeremy Lensing
An internship is an important way for college students to prepare for a job after graduation. It helps them realize what they want to do in the future, and they receive important experience that can be marketed to future employers. Most schools even require at least one internship to graduate. The ELCA offers internships every summer, but what is an internship with the churchwide organization like?
It begins just like any other job; you go through an initial application and interview process. The ELCA department supervisor picks the person they think is best qualified for the internship, which consists of a paid, 40-hour workweek.
“I expected a typical office setting with cubicles,” said Anna Moorhead, an intern in marketing. “But, I did not expect many of the cubicles to be colorful with various things from around the world decorating the office space. It was a pleasant surprise.”
Although an intern, you are a valued member of a team and have your own workload, without having someone walk you step-by-step through each day’s responsibilities. This allows you to get firsthand experience in the field you would like to go into, or maybe even change your mind about your career path.
“The internship has been really rewarding both with work experience and seeing behind the scenes of the church,” said Paul Larson, the summer intern in Young Adult Ministry. “Seeing how all the ministries are going and get set up is a great experience. Also, seeing how passionate the whole building is about their jobs and ministries they are involved in is awesome. I would highly recommend becoming an intern with the ELCA.”
Not only do interns gain experience in the workplace, they also become close with one another. Every day the interns have lunch together. Not because they have to but because they are all going through similar experiences and are about the same age. Over the course of the summer, interns can become close friends, hanging out together on the weekends during and after the internship. The interns who are familiar with Chicago often provide suggestions for the others on local things to do and what to take in to fully enjoy their summer in Chicago.
Also, the teams of ELCA churchwide staff you work with become influential people in your life, people whose support you appreciate and whom you will never forget. These relationships you build with your co-workers can prove helpful later in life.
“The ELCA churchwide office has provided a great, well-rounded internship opportunity through hands-on experience, new colleagues, meetings with other departments, and informative intern lunches and fieldtrips,” Anna said.
Jeremy Lensing served as a public relations intern at the ELCA churchwide organization and is a student at Augustana College, Rock Island, Ill., majoring in multimedia mass communication and communication studies.