“Oh, I’m just an intern actually…” I think uttered that phrase a thousand times to people who ask what I do for Parsons. The reaction I get is shocking; like people are surprised that a company would let just an intern do the things I have done during the summer of 2022.

From fronting the booth at the Space and Missile Defense Conference (SMD) in Alabama to leading the planning of a major, enterprise-wide golf outing for a national non-profit, Parsons has allowed me to do things as an intern that I didn’t think I would be doing until much, much later in my career.

When I first started at Parsons, I pictured internships as getting coffee and donuts for people in the office, not really doing anything too big, just a fly on the wall watching everyone around me do work. When I interviewed for the events intern position, I was told that I would oversee the planning of the Annual TAPS Golf Outing, a nonprofit organization that provides compassionate care and comprehensive resources for all of those grieving the death of a military or veteran loved one.

I was a little taken aback.  “You’re going to have ME, a summer intern, plan a whole golf outing???”

With no hesitation, I came into the role and ran with it. Of course, I had a team of people to lean on when I was planning the event, but I was leading the meetings, event logistics and coordination, and reaching out to sponsors. At the end, we raised more than $110,000 for TAPS – a company record.

I thought to myself, how can it get better than this? Then they asked me to come back.

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On my first day starting my second summer with Parsons I was told I was no longer just the TAPS Golf Outing intern; I was now reporting to the vice president of external communications as a communications intern. I was a little nervous to start a new position this time around, but what I didn’t expect is that this role would open a whole new side of marketing that I had never experienced. I was about to do a rotation with the entire external communications and marketing team and gain experience doing things not normally expected of an intern.

Throughout the summer I helped the corporate events team, the digital communications team, and the public relations team and I learned how each of these groups work together to push the business forward… I created market analysis, tracked social media metrics, wrote press releases, aided with the planning of conferences, and continued to plan the annual Taps Golf Outing. I had my hands full, but I was learning so much and still in awe that a company cared that much about an intern’s experience.

One of the many highlights was the planning and execution of a major defense tradeshows: SMD Conference in Huntsville, AL. For this conference, the team wanted to think outside the box on ways to boost engagement, drive more foot traffic, and increase our brand awareness as a fun, disruptive company.

So, for the first time ever, the team placed a giant, 8-foot “Space Invaders” arcade game at the center of the booth. This approach was a huge pivot from the traditional setups of our booths, which normally included various demos and models.

Being a part of the planning for an event like SMD was already a highlight of my internship, but when I was asked to attend the event in person, I was shocked. They were sending me, an intern, on a work trip in Alabama. Traveling for business? As an intern? The thought had never crossed my mind, but here was the opportunity right in front of me and I am so glad that I took it.

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I was in my element at the conference and would talk to anyone and everyone who walked by our booth. At this point, people would ask me what I do for the company, and I of course said every time, “Oh I’m just an intern,” The look on their faces was priceless. They couldn’t believe that Parsons would put an intern at the front of their booth at one of the biggest defense conferences of the year. Honestly, neither could I, but I am so glad that this company has so much trust and willingness to give me such a big responsibility.

I have learned things as a Parsons intern that I think would take me two-to-three years to learn in a role within another company. Words can’t explain enough how thankful I am for the internship program here and how much everyone in the company has taught me. So yes, I am just an intern, but I am just a player helping the bigger team that is Parsons Corporation.

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn.

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