Kerry Reynolds ’20 is a superstar. As a dear friend to the O’Brien Center (not to mention a past intern), Kerry left a massive impression on Merrimack College in just four years, serving as a supporter or leader in a multitude of roles across campus. While she attended Merrimack, you could find Kerry hosting and planning shows for WMCK, reviewing poems for The Merrimack Review, developing stories for The Odyssey and working with the O’Brien Center and Honors Program in her spare time. Today, she’s found time to sit down with us to reflect on her Merrimack journey, the importance of company culture and words for the future.
DAN ROUSSEL: Hi Kerry! You just graduated in December; how busy have you been since then?
KERRY REYNOLDS: Hi Dan! Yes, I did! Surprisingly a bit less busy than I had been this past semester, which has been both a strange and refreshing feeling – but still keeping busy nonetheless! I’ve been working a full-time internship with EBSCO Information Services (HQ in Ipswich MA, though EBSCO’s overall national HQ is located in Birmingham, Alabama!) as a Proprietary Content Editorial Intern with their Content Editing Team. I’ve been working remotely, which I had actually done this past summer with this same team as well! I’ve also been searching for job opportunities, which is exciting!
That’s right, you worked for EBSCO last summer too! What made you decide to go back to the company? How does the work culture and your role fulfill your own values and aspirations?
Yes, I did! I was the Proprietary Content Editorial Intern then as well. I’m working with the Content Editing team and working on a bunch of different projects for them. I work on anything ranging from smaller upkeep tasks, reading drafts and editing articles, doing research, etc. I’ve also been able to work on their Literary Reference Center product and help develop plot specifications for a few short stories that they’ll be able to use to develop into plot diagram infographics for the final product, for example. It’s great because they give me a nice balance between some basic tasks and some other projects where I get to be a little bit more involved in the products as well, so I get a great range of experience!
I think a lot of things made me want to go back, first and foremost being the people I’ve been able to work with. Everyone I met at EBSCO was just so friendly, kind, helpful; they’re just the nicest and most pleasant people to work with, and they’re so vocal about making you feel appreciated for the work you’re doing, no matter what the task might be. They’re so open to hear everyone’s thoughts and ideas, and they really make me feel like I’m a part of the team even as just an intern. You never have to feel nervous about asking a question, because everyone, no matter if they’re on your team or not, is more than happy and willing to help you out.
I think it fulfills my own work aspirations because it’s shown me the kind of company culture I know I want to work in, and the kind of corporation I enjoy being a part of. EBSCO both as a company and as a culture really does care about and value their employees, and it just cultivates a work experience that doesn’t feel like a monotonous 9-5 job, because the people you work with are so great and the company you work for really cares about what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. EBSCO has their core values that I think everyone there really embodies. It’s important to enjoy the work you’re doing, but I also think that enjoying who you work with and who you’re working for can also enhance your gained experience.
Kerry, that’s really inspirational. I think we often fail to think of our fit within a company’s culture when we look for these big internship opportunities. And you’ve always been an internship superstar, boasting multiple positions on and off-campus in your time at Merrimack. Which off-campus internships stand out to you as particularly formative for you, personally and professionally?
Thank you so much! I’ve honestly found all of them to be really formative, because they’ve shown me pieces of what I like or don’t like about certain positions and different team dynamics. They’ve all been great in helping me refine or develop skills in areas that I’ve wanted or needed to work on. EBSCO helps me with editing, being detail-oriented, presentation skills and time management; my marketing internship with MuggleNet helped me become proficient in WordPress and scheduling software like Buffer, which has been great because I’ve been able to work on teams and in positions that are marketing-oriented or more oriented towards my English minor—like EBSCO! I’m starting to navigate my areas of interest a bit better, now. They’ve all sort of helped me realize how to incorporate both my English and marketing skills and how I can leverage both, and that I don’t necessarily have to sacrifice one for the other; sometimes, they can actually complement each other.
Outside of your internships, you also served in a variety of leadership roles at Merrimack, from Operations Manager of WMCK to my Co-Managing Editor on The Merrimack Review. What skills did these roles help you develop, and how have you applied them to your job?
The Merrimack Review actually stood out to my interviewer in my EBSCO interview when I applied over the summer! Working with and leading a team of editors, and developing a tangible, well-organized project with you definitely stood out to them, but they also loved the editorial aspect of it in terms of having to be detail-oriented, being able to analyze and interpret different pieces, having to make important decisions in regards to the final product of the journal itself—like, what do we accept and what don’t we accept? What theme do we follow, and what pieces best express and encompass our decided theme?
Thank you for the shameless Merrimack Review plug! Kerry, we can’t leave without acknowledging your legend status in the O’Brien Center, as a former intern of both Get Hired Up and the O’Brien Center’s blog. Can you reflect on that experience with us? What did you take away from your time with the O’Brien Center?
Ha! Thank you, I’m so happy you brought this up! I can’t say enough great things about the O’Brien Center, both from working with them as an intern and visiting them as a student for professional development. As an intern, I had the BEST experience in both roles, though especially as the Writing and Digital Communications Intern. My supervisor, Ashley Archangelo, provided me with so many opportunities to grow professionally and push me out of my comfort zone and to pursue different ideas that I had for our blog and social media, and she allowed me to develop both my marketing and English skills in so many ways. Being able to work on the O’Brien Center’s blog helped me to realize my passion for being able to take a student’s journey and craft a story through writing, which is a revelation that I really appreciate, because it’s made me realize that I’d love to pursue a career where I can utilize my writing skills and my creativity to craft stories and to work on other projects, whether through a marketing/promotional lens or otherwise, and to just be able to work with other people and help express their stories/vision/anything in some way.
As a side note—as a student, PLEASE use the O’Brien Center, seriously! They really are there to help you, whether it’s just to boost your confidence in yourself or to help you get or discover the positions or career that you want to pursue; I can’t express enough how important it is to visit them or at the very least use their (virtual) events to your advantage. I attended the Professional Development Retreat this past fall, and it was SO helpful in preparing me for my job search and feeling confident in updating my resume, my interview skill, and just how to feel prepared for the working world in general. They have so many useful resources—Quinncia, What Can I Do With This Major?, AWATO, Handshake, LinkedIn Learning, and especially career advisors!
Finally! Do you have any shoutouts to make, or any advice for your peers?
Huge shout out to WMCK—whether you’re passionate about music, sports, or anything and everything in between, I definitely encourage students to either tune in (here!) and listen and to apply to become a DJ and share your interests. WMCK is such a fun organization that gives all students a platform to share their voices and their interests, and they cultivate such a fantastic community of creative and accepting people who will give you the courage to share and indulge in your passions, whatever that may be! I also can’t thank them enough for the opportunities and encouragement they provide to all of their DJs and within the E-Board, and the support and confidence they’ve given not just to me but to all of their DJs!
Also the O’Brien Center and Ashley Archangelo!
Some advice? Never be afraid or nervous to apply for anything, and don’t feel discouraged when you don’t get an offer for something you applied for. There are so many times where I almost didn’t apply for a position because I wasn’t sure if I was qualified enough, or for whatever reason I was doubting myself; but I promise, it’s worth it to go after anything you’re interested in doing or are passionate about, whether it’s the position itself or even just the company, no matter your reservations. It’s so easy to stand in your own way and hold yourself back, but if you’re really interested in something or you even think it might have the possibility of becoming something you’re passionate about, there’s nothing to lose from giving it a try. (This doesn’t just have to be career-oriented—even joining organizations on-campus!)
Be open and willing to learn; this goes for applying for positions, working on certain projects, etc. Now is the time to explore, and you never know what you might like or develop a passion for until you try it—you might surprise yourself and become enthralled with something you never thought you would or even knew about before!
Kerry, we can’t thank you enough for your time. It’s a joy knowing you, and a greater joy seeing you thrive. Best of luck with the rest of your internship!
Are you ready to secure an internship or employment for the fall and beyond? The O’Brien Center for Career Development is here to help you! Visit Handshake today to search for open opportunities, meet with your career advisor, and more.