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N.Y. resident is NCI's 1st out-of-area intern
Alana Dawson, a Long Island N.Y. resident and a rising junior at Virginia State University, works on web design and graphics. She recently completed an internship at HD Web Studio in Martinsville through the New College Institute's summer internship program. (Bulletin photo by Mickey Powell)
Monday, July 23, 2012
By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer
Alana Dawson will remember Martinsville as a place where she learned a lot about herself.
The Long Island, N.Y., resident is a rising junior at Virginia State University. She recently completed an internship at HD Web Studio, a website/graphics design firm in uptown Martinsville, through the New College Institute’s (NCI) summer internship program.
Dawson was the first student from outside southern Virginia to be allowed to participate in the program in its six-year history.
“I learned a lot about my strengths” as an up-and-coming professional, as well as what she needs to do to build upon those strengths, she said.
One of her tasks was promoting HD Web Studio through social media.
“I learned I’m a social media guru,” Dawson said. “I’m really, really good at it.”
That is important because in the modern world, “everything we do involves technology,” she said. In communicating, social media is “the easiest, most efficient way to get anything out” to people.
HD Web Studio owner Masha Edelen and her employees were impressed with Dawson’s work.
“We all were impressed with her eagerness and her willingness to go the extra mile,” Edelen said, noting that Dawson figured out new tasks easily without much guidance.
In an interview, Dawson was enthusiastic and eager to talk. However, she said that “around other professionals, I tend to get a little shy.”
She said she thinks she needs to work on her interpersonal communication skills.
Dawson is majoring in business marketing at Virginia State, one of NCI’s partner universities. Whatever career she decides to pursue in the future, marketing skills will help her succeed at it, she reasoned.
What matters most to her right now is finding “a decent job” by the time she graduates, she said.
“It’s going to happen,” she said optimistically. Laughing, she asserted that “I am not going to walk across the stage (and accept her degree) unless I have a job” to go to after graduation.
NCI’s internship program aims to show area college students that worthwhile career opportunities are available close to home after they graduate.
This year, the program was opened to students from outside the area to show them that Southside is “a great place to live, work and play” so they might be persuaded to move here in the future, NCI Internship Coordinator Katie Croft has said.
Dawson said she sought an internship related to her major, and HD Web Studio had one.
Where she moves after she graduates will depend on where she can find a job she likes.
Dawson said, though, she hopes the internship program continues to try to attract students from elsewhere, and she hopes area business people will be receptive to hiring young professionals from other places.
There are knowledgeable people everywhere who could use their skills to help Henry County-Martinsville grow and prosper, she said.
A New Yorker, Dawson is accustomed to fast-paced living. She said that when she arrived in Martinsville, it took her a little while to get used to the slower pace of life here. But she likes the area and its people.
“Hospitality is everything about Martinsville,” said Dawson. “Everyone I’ve met has been very sweet and generous,” as well as encouraging.
“Martinsville is a town of love,” she added.