Meet our AWE Student Interns: Sharon Gong

Our departing AWE students answer our questions

Marcie Whitecotton, Sharon Gong - 29 April 2021

Our AWE (Arts Work Experience) interns have been with us a year and will be departing soon.  We asked them all some questions and these are Sharon's responses to those questions!

  1. What was your favourite project that you worked on during your time in Arts?
    My favorite project that I worked on during my internship was the email check-ins we sent out to students who were potentially struggling with school and/or remote learning. We targeted students who either withdrew from classes or didn’t have any registration for the upcoming semester and sent out personalized emails to those students with on campus resources and a personal invitation to contact me if they wanted to talk. This initiative really struck a chord with me. When I was in my first year of university I was in a faculty that I didn’t feel like I belonged in and I struggled with my courses. Being in the Faculty of Arts now and being a part of initiatives like this one shows that the faculty does care and actively wants to help students. Even something as simple as a personal invitation to connect can really change a student’s outlook and help them get the help that they might need. The response we got from students was overwhelmingly positive and knowing that we made a positive impact on their schooling and personal lives was so reaffirming.

  2. Your internship was done entirely during COVID. How did working remotely affect your work and the projects you worked on?
    It’s really wild to think that my entire internship experience (minus the interview) was done remotely. The overall experience has been really positive. The team that I work with tried extremely hard to mimic as close to an in person experience by having weekly coffee chats and trying to incorporate the more casual parts of working in an office together. While it was weird navigating the online world and learning peoples’ online personalities and habits, I did feel like I got close with my fellow interns during those beginning couple of months and we even got to meet a bunch of people throughout the faculty through information interviews which was really neat.
    One major thing I did notice during my term was how independent the role is, especially with everything being online. In a pre-covid world, my role had a lot of interpersonal activities that I had to adapt to fit the remote requirements of a covid friendly world. This part did feel a bit isolating from time to time when I’d be doing coaching sessions or working on content for workshops knowing that in a typical year I’d be able to sit with and work collaboratively with others. Meeting people/presenting a workshop through a screen and g-chatting people just isn’t the same as in person interactions so I’m very excited to be back on campus!

  3. What tips do you have for other AWE students just starting in the program?
    Try everything and take advantage of your position as an intern! People are very understanding that this is one of your first experiences in a professional setting and this is just as much a learning experience as it is a professional experience. Try and do as many things as you can while in your internship, these are all great experiences and you might even find a new passion in something you’ve never really thought about. Meet as many new people as you can, get to know them and their position and maybe you’ll have opportunities in the future to collaborate. From my experience, people are more than happy to meet and chat with you (if they have the time) and it’s a great way to expand your own network and you might even stumble across someone who has a similar career path that you’re interested in. If there’s a project that you’re interested in working on or helping out with, talk to your supervisor and see if there’s any way for you to help on that project. You’re going to get so many career development opportunities to learn and experience new things as an intern that you normally wouldn’t have as a student and these are the things that are going to set you up for success further down the road.

All the best Sharon, it has been great working with you this last year.

Interested in the Arts Work Experience program?  Go to their website for more information!