The Impact of An Internship

By Chamber Program Manager Ashley Sheffer

Over the years, we’ve shared numerous articles about the importance of bringing on summer interns at your business or organization. They provide additional help, bring a fresh perspective, and help young people become connected to our community.

Rather than provide the same information, I’m eager to share my intern experience and how it impacted my career for not only the three summers as an intern, but still to this day.

My connection to the Chamber started in the summer of 2011—it was right after my junior year at Cranberry High School and I was chosen as the Oil Heritage Festival Queen. After a fun week of attending OHF events, meeting people in the community, and becoming friends with other queen candidates, I decided I wanted to continue my involvement somehow.

I met with Chamber President Susan Williams and soon found myself volunteering for Chamber events, including FLEX Presents. A year later, as I was heading to Kent State University where I would study marketing and communications, the Chamber presented the opportunity to be their intern on winter and summer breaks.

During those breaks, I learned so much about the community, was given the freedom to try new things and apply what I learned in school, and, of course, had fun helping with the festival and other events.

Fast forward to 2016. The Chamber had received a grant for what we called the Young Professional Initiative (later rebranded as Be Here) and just a couple months before graduating, I got a call offering me a full-time position here.

As I moved back home and was adjusting to “being here” myself, I got to help form this program to encourage people to appreciate all our area has to offer. In addition, I was tasked with assisting FLEX with their events and marketing, allowing me to work with other young professionals.

A few years after I started full-time, I opened Core Goods with Marie and Shaun Alcorn, and I can’t help but credit the Chamber for making this happen. If it wasn’t for the connections I made, information I learned, experience I was given, and passion I gained for the community, Core Goods probably would have never happened.

While an internship is a great way to have extra help while providing experience to young people, it is much more than that. By trusting a student to contribute to your workplace and helping them become connected, you are setting them up for success that can impact their entire professional life.

Need help finding a summer intern? Contact us at (814) 676-8521 or

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s April 2021 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

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