Since 2013, OneNet has hosted a highly successful internship program in our strategic planning and communications department. OneNet has had 18 interns from different schools over the years that have all contributed their unique skills and strengths to OneNet and the State Regents. On average the duration of most of their stays was 2.2 semesters, and they have gone on to achieve impressive goals.
“OneNet has been fortunate to attract talented and intelligent students to our intern program,” said April Goode, director of OneNet strategic planning and communications. “I learn as much from them as they learn from me.”
Working for a technology organization that is also part of the state’s higher education system has intrigued past communications interns. Intern Jessica Todd was excited about the internship before she began her fist day.
“I absolutely could not wait to begin working at OneNet,” Todd said. “I have been reading about them ever since seeing the job posting and was so impressed by how many services OneNet provided to the state. I mean, did you know that they help with connecting OETA broadcast towers so that Oklahomans can watch PBS? It’s true.”
Todd is one of seven University of Oklahoma students who have participated in the intern program. OneNet has hosted students from the following colleges and universities:
- Langston University – 1
- Macalester College (St. Paul, Minnesota) – 1
- Oklahoma City University – 1
- Oklahoma State University – 3
- Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology – 1
- Southeastern Oklahoma State University – 1
- University of Central Oklahoma – 3
- University of Oklahoma – 7
Interns contribute valuable deliverables to the strategic planning and communications department by writing feature stories and employee spotlights for the OneNet and Council on Information Technology’s websites. They also research and write case studies, produce multimedia and video content, and manage OneNet’s social media platforms, including writing content, posting and tracking interactions.
Interns have also taken the lead in developing publications and PowerPoint presentations, conducting surveys and producing reports. Interns have the opportunity to apply their skill sets in a variety of applications, including Adobe Suite, Microsoft Office, WordPress, Constant Contact and social media platforms.
“Our communications department could not operate at our current production level without our intern program,” said Goode. “By handling many of our communications initiatives, they free my time, so I can concentrate on more strategic projects.”
By ensuring OneNet has content to refresh our website regularly and managing the day-to-day requirements of social media outreach, they keep the department running smoothly.
“Interns are vital to the success of both the communications department and OneNet,” said Goode. “Our department is better able to meet the communications needs of the other OneNet departments thanks to the contributions of our interns.”
Goode plans assignments to ensure interns gain valuable skills that transcend into their careers.
“Through this internship I have learned so many valuable skills that I previously had not had the opportunity to learn. I now feel that I am equipped with the experience I need to pursue full time employment after graduation due to things I have learned at OneNet.” said current communications intern Dominique Brignac, a student at University of Oklahoma.
Two of OneNet’s past interns have chosen to work full-time for the State Regents and OneNet and are thriving in their roles. Sloan Stinnett joined the State Regents’ strategic planning and analysis department as a data analyst, and Quinn McCrary joined OneNet’s information security department as a security technician.
“OneNet’s interns have not only been successful while working for us, but have also been successful after completing their internships,” said Goode.
Three interns have chosen to enroll in law school, two have worked towards Masters programs and others have begun their careers in the communications, public relations and marketing fields. OneNet’s interns have also found success around the world in cities such as New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, Nashville, Atlanta, Washington (DC), Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Oslo, Norway.
As the manager for the intern program, Goode’s primary goal is to teach the importance of a communication department’s role in supporting the organization’s mission, contributing to the success of the organization and boosting fellow team members.
“While they are with us, OneNet interns learn to serve as advocates for OneNet and the State Regents. They also become mission champions for the organization,” said Goode. “These are important skills that help propel them into a successful career with the future organizations they serve.”
While this internship offers many learning experiences, one in particular stood out to Oklahoma State University student Micah Parnell.
“I honestly think the most valuable lesson I’ve learned at OneNet is that passion can be found anywhere,” Parnell said.
Story by Dominique Brignac, Strategic Communications Intern, Fall & Spring 2021