Persistent communications student secures three summer internships

Jeena Cadigan
June 24, 2020

(Editor's Note: This is the second in a series of stories about students from the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications completing summer internships.)

Many students had the coronavirus pandemic wreck their summer plans but one Penn State student managed to find new ways to keep her original intent through these challenging times.

Rising senior Kristen Nodell started her search for a summer internship back in December. But when news started to buzz about the virus she saw many opportunities begin to be cancelled.

“I kind of gave up a little bit once I lost the one that was going to be in person,” Nodell said. “I was very proud of myself to keep going even though it was going to be virtual and it seemed like no internships were available.”

With persistence and the help of advisers in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, she managed to hang onto not one, not two, but three internships for the summer. All three are being completed virtually.

“This is such a fluid situation and you should be getting after other opportunities. Don’t give up on the summer.”

— Bob Martin, assistant dean for internships and career services, Bellisario College of Communications

“Virtual is definitely a learning curve. It's hard to sit in front of a computer all day,” the film-video major said.

Nodell said she’s happy with what the companies will have her doing. One internship is with the Penn State College of Arts and Architecture, which Nodell has been involved with since her sophomore year. The other two are with North South and Part Two Pictures, separate production companies based in Brooklyn, New York.

Even though the mode of the internships has changed she still has a heavy workload.

“They’re definitely giving me stuff to do. I think originally I was going to be more hands-on on the production aspect of things, which is what I’m interested in,” Nodell said. “Now I've had to switch my focus to research, which is fine because I didn’t really know much about that aspect of production anyways.”

Nodell spends three days a week working for the two Brooklyn production companies researching and fact-checking for show topics. She looks forward to being able to start pitching her own show ideas while learning how to make her ideas into confident and concise presentations.

However, many students don’t usually take on three internships at a time and Nodell said she has no doubt she will soon start feeling the pressure.

“I was hesitant taking two but then I think especially in this time it’s really important for me to just get different aspects of how companies would work,” Nodell said. “Two different companies doing the same thing but seeing how they do them differently was important to me. I think in the long run it’ll be good that I took them.”

Nodell said she owes a lot of credit for getting these opportunities to Bob Martin, the Bellisario College’s assistant dean for internships and career services, because he showed care and support through her unusual search for an internship.

Martin has helped many students during this time and pushes them to keep trying to find new internship opportunities.

“We talk to a variety of different students and some have had their internships rescinded and then they’re not pursuing other opportunities, and we’re like ‘Why aren’t you?’” Martin said. “This is such a fluid situation and you should be getting after other opportunities. Don’t give up on the summer.”

Nodell said she is happy with where she ended up and thinks she will benefit from the internships — even with the special circumstances.

“I’m grateful that the companies were as flexible as they were because they didn’t have to let me on and I think they’re doing as much as they can to get me to learn,” Nodell said.

  • Kristen Nodell, studio shoot

    Kristen Nodell gets some final directions before a video shoot.

    IMAGE: Image Provided
Last Updated June 24, 2020