Intern Insider: Tucker Makes an Online ‘Discovery’

Three weeks in, and she's already been christened with a nickname. Her bosses call her Flash because she finishes her assigned tasks so much faster than they anticipate. But the name is perhaps more appropriate because of the multimedia training she is receiving on the job.

Tiana Tucker

Tiana Tucker, a junior communication science major, is an intern with the Discovery Network International department within Discovery Communications in Silver Spring, Md., where she has a multimedia/online internship. It’s not remotely the kind of experience she was seeking when she applied for internships during the spring semester.

“This was not the task I was thinking I’d be in,” Tucker says. “Most (internships she applied for) were PR related, and this was digital media. I didn’t apply to any other internships at all similar to what I’m doing in my department.”

Right now, Tucker completes a lot of categorization and classification work. She recently compiled videos of “cute animals,” she says, for Animal Planet’s United Kingdom Web site. She’s also had to search out content relating to insects for another project. Her tasks now seem menial, but they’re only a starting point for Tucker. She’s had a couple of conversations with her directors about what the culmination of her internship experience will be.

They decided that she will eventually build fan sites, which are pages on Discovery’s Web site that are geared toward the individual users. It allows them to organize and structure the page any way they want, upload videos and photos and stay in touch with specific shows they enjoy.

“That’s one of the big goals that we sat down and planned,” Tucker says.

And she says that entire internship “could be really overwhelming, especially since Discovery deals with so many different things, and they have so much content on their Web site. There’s a lot of things going on. They have a lot of programs.”

Still, so far, she says she’s felt comfortable, if not inexperienced, in her role. She has connected with a couple of other Elon students who are doing internships with Discovery, she’s had multiple one-on-one discussions with her superiors, and she’s enjoyed a welcoming orientation that acclimated her to her new role.

“We did a few ice breakers, and it sort of reminded me of Elon, so I got more relaxed as the day went on,” Tucker says. “They tried to ease us into it, and that ultimately made me feel better and ever since I’ve gotten into my department, everyone’s been helpful. I feel like it’s really good for a first internship because I didn’t know what to expect.”

Tucker says that she began applying for PR-centered internships during the spring. In fact, her initial interest in Discovery wasn’t with its multimedia/online arm. But soon Tucker learned that the only opportunities existed in Discovery’s human resources and digital media departments.

Tucker says that because she enjoyed her Digital Media Convergence class at Elon, the decision to take an unknown leap into Discovery’s online world was natural.

About two weeks before finals, she learned that she had landed the internship, but she still wasn’t sure she would accept the offer. It came down to an unknown quantity with Discovery or a safer opening doing sales work in Fairfax, Va.

“But then the whole part about Discovery being a well known entity in the communications field and how it could lead to a job offer and an even better internship next year is what made me lean toward taking the internship in the end,” Tucker says.

So now she’s entrenched at Discovery for the summer, learning how to live and survive online. She’s gaining skills that will be transferable in and out of the classroom, and while the internship may not have been her first choice, it has certainly worked out well in the end, she says.

“I ultimately didn’t have an interest in digital media and having an internship dealing with things of that nature,” Tucker says. “I just came into it expecting to get some kind of experience. But I think it will shape what I do (after college).”

Intern Insider will run one to two times a week during the summer and will feature brief stories about some of the interns from the School of Communications or in School of Communications programs.

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