Q&A with Aspire Intern Kayla Howard

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Kayla HowardKayla Howard is a Senior at Emmanuel College who worked with the Aspire Institute this year supporting marketing and communications. 

 

What is your role at Aspire?

As the Marketing and Communications Coordinator, I manage the Aspire blog and support Aspire staff with many other communications needs. To manage the blog, I write content or solicit posts from partners. Once we identify guest authors, I work with them on edits, find photos to go along with the story, and post the new content to the blog. I then employ our social media outlets to reach as many readers as we can.

What experiences will you take away from your time with Aspire?

I am truly grateful to have been given the chance to work with Aspire. I didn’t know a lot about the education field coming in to this internship and through my work I have gained a greater appreciation for teachers and the tremendous changes that are shaping how the next generation of students will learn and grow.

Throughout my internship, I have been encouraged to expand my knowledge and mastery of new areas. As a part of the Millennial generation, I know I am expected to be savvy with all the latest technological crazes, but before this internship I had never even looked at Twitter. As an undergrad, it was also a bit intimidating to read an article written by a PhD recipient and correct their grammar – but overtime, I developed editorial confidence.

My experience here at Aspire has been beyond positive. From struggling with 140 characters and hashtags to writing and editing blog posts, I will leave Aspire as a better communications professional as well as a more confident young adult.

What are the most interesting issues you’ve been exposed to at Aspire? Why?

The issues of the greatest interest to me concerned the well-being of young children early in their education. Most of Aspire’s programs relate to supporting young children as they learn and to providing high-quality training to the adults in direct contact with young students.

I worked on many blog posts for the Connected Beginnings Training Institute, the STEM App, and the Boston Family Engagement Project, learning about their work and about the goals Aspire has to create a strong foundation for every child to grow from.

The solutions that Aspire’s programs propose make sense to me. I remember my own experience in school and how my relationships with teachers shaped how I viewed school. Without the amazing teachers I had, I can easily see how my love for learning would have vanished. The issues Aspire strives to address are all important – but for me it makes perfect sense to focus more attention on supporting young kids and encouraging a love of learning.

Do you have any tips for other students interested in marketing & communications?

The hardest thing for me was time. Social media moves so fast that if you can’t post things that are interesting and catchy everyday people tend to forget about you or miss you entirely in their packed feeds. Working at Aspire a few days a week, it was hard to sustain a steady presence on Twitter.

I also learned that blogging is a different animal than what my journalism class prepared me for – I remember the inverted triangle being much simpler a few years ago! Blogging is more personal and flexible – you’re allowed to have a character and voice.

Many details separate a personal blog/social media outlet from a professional one, and making sure you’re covering all your bases is fundamental. The rest is all about the sizzle and bang that draw readers to your page.

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