Interview an Innovator

Delight Ejiaka, a student at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, tells the story of an interesting internship made possible through her school and the Global Innovators Academy.

1) How did you discover Global Innovators Academy?
I was looking for an internship that would allow me to build my communications skills and expand my network, so I decided to utilize my professional social media accounts. Kevin Anselmo connected on social media, exchanged emails and had a couple of conversations. He explained to me the Interview an Innovator course concept: students doing an interview with a professional and writing an article based on that discussion which would then be published online. I was excited to come aboard with the program. 

2) What made you interested in this project?I am currently an international student studying Digital Media and Creative Writing. I plan to use my degree to work in marketing communications and write for film and TV. Because of my status as a newbie in the US (I am from Nigeria), I didn’t know a lot of people in any of the fields I wanted to go into. I wanted to reach out to people in related fields, but I had never done this in a deliberate and strategic way. As part of the Interview an Innovator course experience, I connected to Casey Adams, the Communications Director of the American Heart Association in Philadelphia. I connected to her and published a great article about her journey. In the process of learning important communications skills and connecting with Casey, I also was introduced to some people in her network as well. 

3) How did the work with Global Innovators compare to your other college work?In the classroom, a lot of the work I did was preparing for theoretical events. You learn how to write proposals and a host of other things. This experience actually just helped me apply my learning to achieve my goal of building an organic connection with professionals in my prospective career path. For example: the program provides video lectures that guide students through the experience. It doesn’t just stop there, it provides the opportunity to put the writing and communication skills students  gather from the videos into immediate practice. This is something that traditional schools sometimes forget. Learning must be put to practical use to have an impact.

4) Describe your project, the outcome, and what you learned?I reached out to a lot of communication and marketing professionals via email and LinkedIn. Some of them did not reply the first time. I decided to be persistent and try again. I reached out to Casey Adams, a couple times before she could get back to me because of her busy schedule. We set up a time and had a great conversation that absolutely challenged me and gave me material for my article. I have learned a great deal about persistence through this program. It is terrific that I have an article that is published online and that is featured on my LinkedIn profile. I think this makes me appear more marketable, as opposed to the LinkedIn profiles many students have that don’t really show any type of substantive work. 

5) Would you recommend Global Innovators to your fellow students at Lee and elsewhere? Absolutely. Every college student is currently thinking about how to grow their network so that they can secure opportunities that will drive their future. This program exposes you to a variety of people who could potentially become pilots in your career journey which makes it very applicable for all students.

6) Do you see applications for this type of learning in a k-12 environment. Building a mutually beneficial and strong network of supportive individuals that inform and direct your career journey takes time and it’s important to start as soon as possible. Studies have shown that students who have a strong network – social capital – are predisposed to higher chances of career success and fulfillment. On the other hand, most schools are currently moving to virtual instruction and this can be a great opportunity to provide students with practical real life experiences.

Read the article Delight wrote here>


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