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Internship Spotlight – Alexa Natalicchio ’20

headshotName: Alexa Natalicchio

Major: Communication Studies

Track: Public and Mass

Graduation Year: 2020

On-campus Involvement: TCNJ Women’s Lacrosse

When and Where did you Intern: Summer and Fall for Wakefern Food Corp for the Corporate Communication Department

What drew you to the Communication Studies department and major?

What drew me to Communication Studies as a department is the openness and friendliness of the environment. I have made some of my best friends in classes for the major. The major drew me in by the many different career paths that it offers. With how many things the communication major can do and being interested in things like PR, social media, media and communicating as a whole, it was very fitting and interesting to me.

Describe your internship and your role.

My internship at Wakefern was for the Corporate Communications Department, in the Community Relations division. I was primarily working with ShopRite Partners In Caring events. I was able to help organize, distribute and take an important role in the biggest fundraising event for ShopRite Partners In Caring. Wakefern also has many different opportunities for their interns to take advantage of, such as volunteering at a food bank, a field trip to an organization related to the food industry, a group project that is presented in front of executive staff, a mentor mentee program, a workshop to work on our elevator pitch, and a luncheon where we say our elevator pitch in front of the executive staff and other interns. The opportunities that this internship has given me has allowed me to better understand what the working world is like and the things that are seen as important.

What was your best memory at your internship?

There were many great memories from my internship, but I think one of the best memories was with what we call the Big Idea Project. It is a project that gets presented in front of all the other interns and many people executives and members of the organization. This was such a great memory because it helped me realize what that real world is like. The group was made up of people from different parts of Wakefern, so it was similar to working in the real world and having to work with people who are in different departments and have different expertise, and how everyone can being something different to the table. I really saw this with the Big Idea Project because as we were creating an idea where everyone had different inputs and different things they can contribute.

What is one skill you have improved upon while at your internship?

One skill I improved on during my internship is my public speaking and professional communication. As with everything, when you don’t have a lot of experience with something, you feel uncomfortable and uneasy doing it. I have felt uncomfortable with communicating with people professionally, through email or even face to face. The internship allowed me to really work on that skill and feel a lot more comfortable to call people on the phone or email people requesting responses or inquiring about something.

How did the Communication Studies Department prepare you for your internship?

The Communication Studies Department has prepared me for the internship by having classes that allow for practical application. I believe that the topics I have learned through my classes has helped me with working in groups and how to prioritize things. These are things that have really helped me with my internship because within my department, the three other interns and I all relied on each other to help finish projects. We knew when our assignments had to be done and it allowed for a collaborative environment where we were all able to help each other when needed.While working with my Big Idea Group, I felt comfortable in a group setting because I have done several group projects for my classes, which allowed me to step up and be a leader for my group.

What are your career goals and how did your internship align with your goals?

I am very open to the many career paths that Communication Studies offers. I have an interest in social media and public relations but am also interested in many other aspects of communication. My internship showed me a career I would of never thought about. After doing my internship in the summer and fall I am very interested in doing internal communication within organizations and also with doing community outreach communication as well. Having the internship opportunities showed me career paths that I would of never thought of before and now would consider after graduation.

Do you have any advice for students applying for internships?

My advice for students applying for internships are to be open to anything. I was not sure how I felt about the organization, the distance I would have to travel everyday or what I would be doing within the communication department when I applied. I never imaged myself working in a big corporation or doing something within the food and supermarket industry, however, it has been such an amazing experience and really opened up a lot of doors to me. Along with staying open minded you have to be willing to compromise for an experience that can help you with your career goals. Over the summer there were times I had to say no to hanging out with friends, and I can count the amount of times I went to the beach on one hand, but I left the summer with more real world experiences then I could of ever imagined. I am also very happy to say that I am also given the opportunity to go there again this summer as an intern.