By: Miranda Underwood
There is the age old tale of graduating college equipped with the necessary skills to enter the workforce but experiencing an inability to be hired due to lack of experience. It’s proven to be an exhausting battle that feels un-winnable. In recognition of this, a majority of programs within the college and university systems have shifted to incorporate internships within their curriculums thereby providing students with an opportunity to gain workplace experience while learning necessary skills in the classroom.
I was fortunate enough to be in a program that considered an internship to invaluable. In my first year of Public Relations at St. Clair College, I began wondering where I wanted to intern in my second year. The options seemed vast for the field of communications; would I prefer a for-profit organization or a non-profit organization? Did I want to work within a department or for an individual?
During this time of questioning I had the pleasure of mentoring with a second-year student – Jason Tang. Jason began detailing his incredible experience with WEtech Alliance and the unique opportunities they provided. A few months later I had the privilege of sitting down with Yvonne Pilon (President and CEO) and discussing the plausibility of joining their team.
What blew me away was that I had prepared to go in to this meeting selling myself, advising of everything I could bring to the table to help WEtech Alliance and Yvonne listened but she did so much more. She focused on what they could do for me and not the other way around. She made me feel valued and I was quickly aware that WEtech Alliance would be the perfect fit that would help me grow personally and professionally.
That’s what WEtech Alliance is all about. Fostering talent and growing individuals and their ideas and businesses. That meeting was the beginning of a journey. I was a part of the special team at WEtech Alliance for six months, during which they opened my eyes to an ecosystem I knew so little about.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the team at WEtech Alliance. It was with their guidance that I electronically published my first articles, they introduced me to the mind-boggling world of First Robotics (#omgrobots), helped me to network with prominent members of the Windsor-Essex community and, most of all, taught me how to work within a small team while accomplishing large goals.
My time at WEtech Alliance was unparalleled. The entire staff were more than encouraging. I will miss the twitter lessons with Deborah and Michelle in the kitchen, Irek’s everlasting smile (even in the face of an epic snow storm), Ashlyn’s clear and concise logic (plus I am jealous of all your upcoming travels), Dan’s ability to laugh off all the embarrassing things he’s witnessed me do and say (noodle explosions?), John-Marc’s hilarious tweets, and Yvonne’s unwavering guidance at all times.
Participating in an internship is the biggest piece of advice I can give any student. There are too many opportunities around to not take advantage of. Learn from the people who are where you want to be. One of my favourite quotes was brought to me from Yvonne – “if you’re the smartest person in a room, you’re in the wrong room.” We should never stop experiencing new things, learning and growing. There is a lifetime of knowledge ahead of us, take advantage.
It’s never goodbye, but until next time WEteam!
*The WEteam would like to send a special congrats and good luck to Miranda as she embarks on her new roles as the St. Clair College Student Representative Council (SRC) President!