All posts tagged intern

Chamber Interns Reflect on Experiences


Heather Hondel and Jessica Wilson, our interns at the Venango Chamber, were recently back for winter break! Heather has worked for us for two summers and Jessica joined our team last summer.

They are excited to reflect on how their experiences at the Chamber affected their studies and what they have learned over the last semester that now applies to their work at the Chamber. 

Heather Hondel

Working at the Chamber has greatly influenced my college experience. I have utilized marketing skills I gained at the Chamber in my classes, such as when I served as the Chief Marketing Officer in my e-Commerce class and as the Publicity Officer for Grove City College’s Swing Dance Club.

Working with Chamber Staff has given me the ability to work as a team on projects in my classes, as many of my entrepreneurial classes involve heavy amounts of teamwork and planning.

This semester, I took a class entitled Managing a Growing Enterprise. I was placed in a team that fulfilled various roles in a company that we managed for six simulated quarters. It showed me how to be quick on my feet and change strategy in an instant when outcomes were different than initially anticipated. This has helped me generate problem solving skills that I can take into the workplace.

This class also opened my eyes to how connected all the roles in a company are and how to work together to accomplish goals. I now realize the importance of understanding the big picture with the overarching vision of a company, while working to generate a thorough understanding in my own role and how that contributes to the vision.

Throughout the course, my management team presented weekly executive briefings containing strategy updates. This class will be incredibly influential on how I work as an intern at the Chamber and in life in general.

Heather is a junior at Grove City College studying Entrepreneurship.

Jessica Wilson

After a few weeks working at the Chamber this summer, I knew this experience was going to change the way I work and what I want my life to look like. During my time at the Chamber, my view of small and local businesses drastically shifted.

Previously, I did not think about local business or how and why they are important, but after my experiences, I realize what a vital part these businesses are for a community. This has greatly impacted my life at school; I now see the local community as a place I want to be.

I am also more intentional about supporting and work in the community. This appreciation for local business has informed several projects and the courses I am taking at school. 

One of the classes I took last semester focused on the task patterns and best practices in designs, and it enabled me to think more critically about how and why things are set up the way they are. It also empowered me to think objectively rather than subjectively about important business decisions.

As I come back to work at the Chamber over break, thinking about best practices and objective critique are at the forefront of my mind. I see these ideals shaping the way I work on personal and group projects. Understanding the why behind design and content choices is an integral part of good work and I am so pleased to be able to practice what I have learned in class at the Chamber.

Jessica is studying Communication with concentrations in PR and Integrated Media at Geneva College and plans to graduate in the spring.  

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s January 2020 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

Creating a Positive Experience For You and Your Intern


Jessica, left, and Heather, right, are the Chamber’s amazing interns!

Summer is finally here and for many of us, we are fortunate to have a college intern (or two) joining us for the next few months. It may be tempting to think of extra staff as the opportunity to boost your office with some affordable help and, let’s be honest, many interns will spend a good bit of time doing busy work, fielding phone calls, filing stacks from our desks, and running errands.

But if that’s all they’re doing, we’re wasting a wonderful chance to infuse our offices with new ideas and energy, while short changing their experience. So how can you and your intern make the most of your time together?

Start with a Plan

Before your intern’s first day, you should have a good idea of what their daily tasks will include. Discuss what goals you have for your time together and invite your intern to share what they hope to take away from this work experience.

Invite Input

We all talk about engaging young people, so once you are together, take the time to meet regularly and ask for feedback on your business.  Take advantage of what your intern is currently learning in school and find ways to incorporate this newfound knowledge in what you’re doing, even if it may be a little uncomfortable.

Be a Great Example

Make sure you are always modeling good behavior. Having the extra help in the office is not a good excuse for you to slack.  Be on time, dress as you would expect them to dress, and remember how you talk about others will reflect on the character of you and your business.

Let Them Know You Care

Ask your intern to share their career goals and be willing to share your journey.  By letting them know what has worked for you AND what hasn’t, you can help them envision the many possible paths (even bumpy) to success. Genuinely attempt to learn what’s most important to them, personally and professionally, and invest time into supporting their priorities.

Have Fun!

Most interns will have some anxiety, at least initially, as they try to fit into your office culture.  Make sure to take some time in your day, or at least week, to invite a little down time.  A quick walk for coffee or ice cream or a few minutes laughing about something funny can help lighten stress they may be experiencing, allowing them to be far more productive.  It will make your day more fun too, if you are doing it right.

Introduce Us

We’d love to meet your intern!  Please give us the chance, by stopping by our office, bringing your intern to our next Chamber event, or sending us a message so we can reach out directly. We want all those spending time in the region to have the best summer ever, with the possibility of staying in or returning to Venango County sometime after graduation.

FLEX will host an Intern Appreciation Luncheon on August 2nd at Komatsu in Franklin. Any students, interns, or young professionals are invited to attend. Find more information at venangoflex.org or on their Facebook page at facebook.com/venangoflex.

This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s July 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

Welcome Heather and Jessica–Our Summer Interns!


Heather Hondel returned to the Chamber’s staff in May as our summer intern, and Jessica Wilson joined our staff on June 17 as our new Be Here Summer Intern.

Heather is an entrepreneurship major at Grove City College and will assist with the Oil Heritage Festival Basket Raffle, newsletter, and other office needs.

Jessica is a communication major at Geneva College and will assist with the Be Here Initiative, including event planning and marketing.

We’re excited to have these two join our team! Stop by the Chamber to say hello and join us in welcoming them.

This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s June 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

Chamber Welcomes Summer Intern – Heather Hondel


Heather HeadshotHeather Hondel joined the Chamber’s staff in May as our Summer Intern!

Heather was valedictorian of Cranberry High School in 2017 and is now studying Entrepreneurship at Grove City College. So far in her studies, she has taken classes such as Lean Launch Pad, Marketing,  Entrepreneurial Mind, and Search Engine Optimization. Some of her interests include dance, theatre, target shooting, and rabbits.

We’re excited to have her join our team! Stop by the Chamber when you get the chance, to say hello and join us in welcoming her.

This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s June 2018 edition of the VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

Work-Study Pays – Benefits Local Businesses


2017 Student Lunch9Many businesses or organizations would love to have the help of an additional employee, especially during the summer months when staff members are busier than ever or taking vacations. Non-profit organizations often take advantage of the good weather to schedule special events and every extra hand is helpful. Interns can offer a great opportunity to boost your staff, not only with the extra person but also with fresh ideas and perspectives.

Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance (PHEAA) offers assistance to college students through their work study grants and this is a win for both employers and students who qualify for the program. One of the incentives to hire work-study students is the hourly-wage subsidy the Work-Study Program provides. Under this program, a student’s wages are partially subsidized, so employers pay between a net 50 and 60 percent of eligible wages and the program subsidizes the remainder. For the students, the State Work-Study Program provides them with career-related work experience and allows students to earn funds to assist in meeting the costs of their postsecondary education.

Perhaps the greatest incentive to local businesses and organizations hiring work-study students is the continued engagement of our up-and-coming workforce, with a realistic chance that you will be meeting a student that will be better qualified to work with you following graduation.

The Venango Chamber has a long history of employing work-study students, many of whom have remained in or returned to Venango County.  Our interns have repeatedly shared that working with us has exposed them to a new view of our county, our assets, and the number of diverse employment opportunities. 2017 Student Lunch3

We expect to have a new intern joining the Chamber team and hope you might consider adding a college intern to your team, too.  When you do, please tell us so we can welcome them.

For more information about becoming a work-study employer, visit www.pheaa.org/partner-access/work-study-employers.

(Photos included were taken at the Student Appreciate Luncheon, hosted each August by the FLEX Young Professionals)

This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s May 2018 edition of the VenangoWorks! Newsletter.