COVID-19 changed my internship plans but that didn’t stop me from finishing my 499

Emily Coghill ('20 public relations) interned with The Borgen Project in summer 2020.


By Emily Coghill, ’20 public relations

Before seeking out and accepting The Borgen Project’s public relations and marketing internship, I had lined up an internship with a different company for summer 2020. When COVID-19 hit in the spring, my original company suspended their internships. Then, my backup internship suspended their program, and I was desperate to find a new internship in what I felt might be an impossible search. That is when I stumbled across The Borgen Project.

The Borgen Project is a nonprofit organization that fights to make global poverty a focus of the U.S. Congressional leaders. In other words, they fight for the underdogs. It was remote (perfect during a pandemic) and unpaid. I would not have been able to swing this opportunity if it were not for the help given by the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication 499 internship scholarship. Over the course of my 12-week summer internship, I learned a variety of things about working in nonprofit public relations, as well as how I am able to use my own voice and platform to make a difference in this world.

As a very independent and self-paced internship, The Borgen Project offered me the chance to create my own schedule, learn how to be organized, and stay on track to complete my weekly tasks. However, being remote did come with challenges. Not having the chance to collaborate with others could be seen as one. However, The Borgen Project provided access to platforms that allowed us to reach out to other interns in our field to gain ideas and motivation.

Throughout the internship, I enjoyed the chance to put what I have learned from Greenlee School courses into action. I learned not only the areas in which I excel (and also those in which I struggle), but more importantly, I learned lessons about humanity and how much hard work is put into giving a helping hand to those who desperately need one.

Editor’s note: Greenlee 499A internship scholarships support students who have a primary major in advertising, journalism and mass communication or public relations and are completing their required 400-hour internships. The application is available each spring.