Student view:

Gabrielle Dolenga: Real-world experience

July 19, 2017

When senior communication student Gabrielle Dolenga accepted an internship with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, she figured her days would consist of sitting in an office, working at her desk. Little did she know, she’d be out in the city of Detroit, making new connections and gaining real-world experience. 

Gabi Dolenga by the water after a race with a medal

Dolenga works as a corporate communication intern. Though she found the internship on LinkedIn, she points to the College of Communication Arts and Sciences as being especially helpful throughout her job search. 

“ComArtSci has prepared me for this internship in many ways,” says Dolenga. “I used Career Services to improve my resume before submitting my application. The career fair also gave me the opportunity to introduce myself to the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan recruiter after I applied for the position.”

Dolenga notes that her public relations class helped prepare her for all of the writing her internship requires.

“A huge part of my internship is writing for BCBSM's two blogs: A Healthier Michigan and MI Blues Perspectives,” says Dolenga. “ADV 225 definitely prepared me for this writing. In this course, I had to create my own PR campaign based on a topic I was given at the beginning of the semester. Writing and developing a campaign from start to finish prepared me for the many different writing assignments I would have at this internship.”

Dolenga also believes that her communication research class has allowed her to succeed in this position.

“Another substantial part of my internship is analyzing BCBSM's social media each week,” says Dolenga. “COM 300 has given me the tools to understand this data on a deeper level and draw better conclusions from the numbers in my weekly report.”

As a communication major and public relations minor, Dolenga loves that she’s been able to gain relevant experience from this internship. She’s been working on multiple projects that have already improved her skills in these fields.

“My favorite thing about this internship has been the opportunity to become more involved in my community while improving my public relations skills,” says Dolenga. “Last week, I took a class at Area45 Fitness in Troy and helped create media surrounding it. This weekend, I wrote talking points and assisted with interviews for the Detroit Riverfront Conservatory's Riverfront Run. Next week, I'll be in Grand Rapids blogging and shooting nutrition segments with WZZM. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has so many different partnerships that I'm excited to work with throughout the summer.”

If you’re looking for an esteemed internship, Dolenga would advise you to not sell yourself short.

“Apply, apply, apply. I applied to almost 25 internships this winter,” says Dolenga. “Set yourself up for success by giving yourself plenty of opportunities to choose from.”

Dolenga firmly believes that you should look for opportunities everywhere, no matter where you see yourself ending up. Applying to as many internships as possible will give you insight into different workplaces.

“Remember to apply to a variety of different places,” says Dolenga. “Big or small, corporate or agency; you will learn something from everywhere you apply and every place you interview.”

By Katie Kochanny, senior advertising student

Reused with permission from the College of Communications Arts and Sciences