How Our Mentors Inspired Our Internship Program
Here at the agency, we sometimes like to refer to ourselves as the “Agbos,” because of the lessons we learned at the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University.
When we were in college, it was important for us to gain experience beyond the classroom in order to be successful in our careers. We just needed a little guidance. Each of us were fortunate enough to find mentors who could helped us navigate the waters of our industry be a support system and when needed, give us some tough love to lead us in the right direction.
Both Zach and Auri were lucky to work with Benson Hendrix, the Social Media Manager at UNM. In class he pushed them to create engaging and thoughtful content and he would eventually help guide both of them to their current positions at Siarza Social Digital.
Cristina’s mentor was a part-time instructor named Melissa Juarez, who worked in UNM’s Communication & Journalism Department and also as a marketing coordinator for Dion’s Pizza. Melissa consistently lauded Cristina’s writing and also worked with her to meet individuals in the marketing and communications community in Albuquerque. One of those individuals was Kristelle Siarza.
During her time at NMSU, Donyelle took a number of journalism and mass communication classes under J. Sean McCleneghan (Dr. Mac) who was also her advisor in the department and helped place her in two internships during her undergraduate career and encouraged her to obtain her master’s degree. After passing an exam with high “C”, her junior year, Dr. Mac asked Donyelle to move up an advisory session. “What the heck happened? I know you’re better than that.” Although it was a passing grade, it’s mentorship like that that challenges students to produce exceptional rather than acceptable work.
Kristelle had a professor named Paul Cupach, a retired chief master sergeant in the United States Air Force. Mentorship was part of his rank. One day, he took her aside and said, “You have a lot of potential. You’re stupid smart, Kristelle.”
Because of these individuals and many others that we feel it only necessary to give back and provide that same type of opportunity and guidance to young students.
Our goal is educate, provide on-the-job professional experience, and push them out of their comfort zone so they learn and grow into more prepared, confident professionals. At the same time, we hope that our efforts will keep some of New Mexico’s talent here.
From what we’ve seen, a lot of local companies tend to recruit talent from out of state for various reasons. We feel that there are plenty of eager, capable employees here in state and with the right training and development, these students can be successful in the positions that are needed locally.
In our short tenure as an agency, we’ve had the privilege to host 10 social media and web interns in our internship programs, ranging from freshman to seniors. Some have returned for a second internship and we’ve been able to extend job offers to three of our previous interns.
So here is our challenge to you: How are you joining the effort in on-the-job internship training? Who are you mentoring to be the future of your industry? Most importantly…
Who is your next “Agbo” intern?