Interning during the pandemic: &Barr’s fall interns share their firsthand experiences

By: Mike Lovecchio / PR Account Executive

&Barr asked its fall interns to share their unique experiences of interning during the COVID-19 pandemic. The blog below is a firsthand account of their semester, from early concerns of working remotely to returning to the office and the valuable skills learned throughout the entire process.

Ashley Hassan, Public Relations Intern, University of Central Florida, junior

When I first accepted my internship with &Barr I was admittedly worried due to the pandemic it wouldn’t be as hands-on or informative as I would’ve liked. After being with the company these past three months, however, I’ve realized I had nothing to be concerned about. If anything, the pandemic forced me to become more flexible and more comfortable with working remotely – both skills I will need in the future. I learned the importance of having strong relationships with clients who may need to lean on &Barr for support throughout the pandemic. I also learned the importance of communication between team members. I’ve always known that communication is a major factor in success, but the pandemic gave me a better understanding of just how important communication is within the workplace.  

I am so grateful for the opportunity to have worked as &Barr’s Public Relations Intern this fall. This internship allowed me to challenge myself in new ways and overcome anxieties I had about not excelling in the field of public relations. Although I am majoring in public relations, I had not been able to receive hands-on experience in the industry until this year. I was able to draft press releases, research media lists, develop flowcharts and content calendars, and so much more. Additionally, my time management skills improved because I learned to balance school, work, and an internship without compromising other areas of my life. One of the favorite parts about my internship was seeing the different approaches and techniques I learned in school applied to real-world projects. I learned about different brainstorming and creative processes that take place when crafting pitches for media, creating social media content, etc.

This internship exceeded my expectations, and I am so lucky to have started my journey in the public relations industry. I cannot wait to see where I go in the future using the skills I have developed at &Barr.

Brandon Guarro, Account Service Intern, University of Central Florida, senior

Having the honor of interning at &Barr was an extremely rewarding and educational experience for me. I started my internship with &Barr in the spring semester as the pandemic began, and I got to witness firsthand how strong the team here is. Being an Account Service Intern, I was able to interact with most of the departments and see how everyone came together in a time of crisis. As an intern I played a role in this process by helping research the effects of COVID-19 on the advertising industry and how companies all over the world were responding to it. When the agency decided to start working remotely, I was a little worried because I did not know how everything was going to work, but everyone made it so easy to reach out to them that it felt like we never skipped a beat.

The most important skill I learned during that time was how important it is to maintain relationships with clients, and people in general. I learned the importance of anticipating clients’ needs, which as an intern meant improving my research skills as well as working with the team to better understand the strategies that we use to help our clients.

Being that &Barr is one of the few full-service advertising agencies in Orlando, I was fortunate enough to be able to see how everything needs to work together in a campaign. This meant I was able to see a project work its way through the whole agency and get an understanding of how and why decisions are made. I also was given many projects that helped sharpen my skills with important computer programs, like Excel and PowerPoint. Apparently they taught me so much they couldn’t give me up, and I was recently hired as Digital Media Coordinator. Now I look forward to continuing the cycle and helping future interns.