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PDA Education Intern Looks Back: One Year Later

Nov 05, 2018
Zion Jackson

Greetings! My name is Zion Jackson and I spent the summer of 2017 as an intern with PDA’s Training and Research Institute (TRI).

While parts of my internship were spent working on administrative tasks at my desk, I also had the opportunity to work in the training labs—an opportunity I absolutely enjoyed. My supervisor, David Talmage, allowed me to broaden my horizons through very precise assignments. Not only did I learn about the workplace, but I gained great life lessons from this experience as well. This internship required a lot of organizational skill, disciplined focus and time management.

In all honesty, I am not the most organized person. The first day of my internship, however, involved extensive organization. My first task took me two weeks to complete. For this task, I organized important papers from different training sessions into their correct folders. Since these papers were very important, I made sure that all of them were filed correctly. Of course, working with a copier proved a hassle, but is that not the case for all technology? Still, I always made sure to double-check my work and worked at a good pace to do the job right and complete it in a timely fashion.

Working in the labs required more disciplined focus and precision. It came with a lot of responsibilities and rules. Not only for the safety of the individuals in the lab, but also for the tests and training activities being conducted. I set up training sessions and prepared the substances needed for a particular class. For any class to succeed, the setup must be up to par. I was nervous, of course, but I accepted the challenge with confidence. My supervisors were really patient with me and very helpful. Not only did they inform me of what my tasks were, but they educated me about the different machines and activities that take place in the lab. I found it quite interesting to come to work and learn something new every day. In the end, I became comfortable with the labs and felt very welcome. It truly made me feel amazing that they trusted me with such important tasks. While I messed up here and there, they still encouraged me to keep going and always do my best.

I would definitely recommend a person my age ask about this internship and get involved. I enjoyed working with the PDA Education staff every day. Even though I was younger than them, they treated me as if I was one of them. I was treated as a mature adult and their mentoring guided me into a different way of thinking. And, ultimately, I learned the importance of organization and time management. I would love to give a special thanks to my supervisors David Talmage, Stephanie Ko, Kimberly McIntire and Stephanie Grinan. They pushed me to my limits and helped me every step of the way. I appreciate them so much, and I hope it was as much of a pleasure having me there as it was for me being there with them.


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