Suzanne is a rising junior from James Madison University. During her first year, she was able to take some entry-level advertising and marketing classes, and we gladly accepted her for several weeks as a Summer intern. She quickly made herself at home and became a great (if temporary) addition to our team.

What do 300 gift bags, a live auction, and babies on a Wednesday morning have in common? They encompass some of my favorite memories from my internship with Rocket Pop Media. As a rising junior at JMU, it was time to put my big girl pants on and enter the workforce! This summer I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to get out of the classroom, and put my textbook-quality lingo and what I knew about the Adobe Suite to the test. I can tell you right now – I still have a LOT to learn. But I knew from the moment I met Cara at Ellwood Thompson’s that I was going to like it here!

I will never forget my first week at Rocket Pop, running around Willow Lawn with Ellen, filling 300 bright green gift bags, and distributing them to VCU Health employees.  Stuffing 300 bags with tissue paper takes a lot longer than you would think. I mean, picture an office floor covered with these bags. It was like a maze trying to just navigate to the front door!

Back at my very own workstation, I worked alongside Caroline to create signage for the Rick Sharp Classic, a local golf tournament and live auction to benefit the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund. I helped make everything from golf hole signs to auction banners. Leading up to the event, I wanted to completely immerse myself in the process. I started tweeting for Sherry Sharp (Rick’s widow and co-founder of the Rick Sharp Foundation), watched interviews about the big event, and picked up the banners we designed from the printer, and got to know the owner there. Nice guy, by the way! Best of all, I volunteered the night of the live auction. Pulling up to Independence Golf Club, and seeing the “Second Annual” banner that I made in real life (not in Illustrator) was definitely a highlight for me! I also met Sherry Sharp herself, which was a personal goal of mine. Even though I felt like I already knew her, she was just as sweet as I imagined. The Rick Sharp Classic was an honor to be a part of, and is a night that I will cherish for years to come. There’s nothing better than seeing Rocket Pop’s work in action and watching strangers bid thousands on a trip to Dubai!

Suzanne (left) and friend showing some Duke pride.

Next on my agenda was Willow Lawn’s Mommy & Me event. On the second Wednesday of every month, Willow Lawn hosts an event featuring music, games, and more specifically designed for parents and kids. Ellen and Caroline had been raving about it all week, then Cara said that I could tag along with Ellen (sorry Caroline, I know you really wanted to go). That morning, I reported to the tents at Willow Lawn, labeled the vendor tables, and watched the kiddos flood in! Going to events like this in person makes all the work behind the scenes that much more rewarding.

Back at the office, in between these major events, I helped design banners, edit photos for websites, create Email blasts, populate social media sites- the list goes on. Oh, and I earned an appreciation for comfy swivel chairs! I’ve definitely had my fair share of hands-on experience in several different areas, which is exactly what I was looking to accomplish. I am still figuring out what I am good at, and what direction I want to go in, so being able to test the waters has been very helpful.

The time has flown by here at Rocket Pop, and looking back on this summer, I am eternally grateful for this first internship experience. Everyone at Rocket Pop is learning and growing together, and have shown me that it’s okay to not know everything. Working with the team at Rocket Pop showed me that having a diverse team is a great asset. Someone knows something about everything. Sometimes you have to turn to a Youtube tutorial – we all do it! What really matters is the process of setting a goal and succeeding, one way or another. I have stepped out of my comfort zone, met fresh faces, and learned my way around The Fan a little more. So thank you Rocket Pop, for making my summer a lot sweeter!