As summer draws to a close (where does the time go?), our 2021 class of NEXTerns is about to complete their internships at the agency. The NEXTern program gives college students and recent grads the opportunity to gain firsthand experience in account service, brand, public relations and creative tracks. Natalie Barth (Social Media), Will O’Connor (Design), Lauren Borchart (Content Creation), and Nancy Morgan (FoodMinds) spent the summer doing just that.

What did you enjoy most about your NEXTernship?

Natalie: My favorite part about the NEXTernship was never knowing what each day was going to bring! There was always something different to work on and I never got bored with the work that I was doing.

Will: I enjoyed working with a team of friendly, humorous, and extremely talented individuals. The culture that Padilla fosters is conducive to growth, and the modular team structure meant that I had the chance to work with groups of people that were uniquely selected for each project. I found myself engaged with a wide variety of tasks during any given day.

Nancy: I really appreciated the variety of projects and everyone on staff has been such an invaluable resource for questions and overall guidance. I believe the projects taken on by FoodMinds (and the entire Padilla team) are truly impactful and it’s been so refreshing to be surrounded by likeminded individuals who are passionate about the work they do.

What was your favorite project that you worked on this summer?

Will: I attended a multi-day Prosciutto di Parma photo shoot. Observing the creative skills of food stylists and creative directors while designing graphics myself, all in the same studio, was a fantastic experience. The energy of working in-person in an environment like that is hard to replicate online.

Lauren: I loved working on the photo shoot where I helped make stop-motion videos for the client. It was an awesome experience! 

Nancy: I really enjoyed creating recipes for General Mills. I was also able to support several clients leading up to the UN Food Systems Summit in September. I felt like I had a front row seat as I developed client narratives, profiled key players in ag food systems and attended a few Pre-Summit sessions. 

Any new skills you learned in your time as a NEXTern?

Natalie: I learned how to make UTM codes, which is something I had never done before. I also got to work with some innovative social media monitoring tools like Netbase and Meltwater for some new business opportunities.

Nancy: A major takeaway from the NEXTern program is that it gave me opportunities that pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to grow as a communicator and nutrition professional. I appreciate all of the feedback over the last 3 months and will take everything I’ve learned into my work going forward.

What advice would you give to future NEXTerns?

Natalie: Try to reach out and meet as many people as possible! Everyone at Padilla is incredibly welcoming and willing to talk to you. Not to mention, they’ve also been a part of some incredible campaigns and have some awesome experiences.

Lauren: Talk to as many people as you can! Everyone is more than willing to chat, and it’s really helpful to get to know people. I’ve gotten some really great career advice and made invaluable connections. 

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