All students want to have a unique internship experience that they can brag about and proudly place on their resumes. An internship that sets you apart and is out of the ordinary. This semester, TAI graduate student Lauren Lombardo is doing just that while completing her Executive Internship at the Dallas Zoo.
Lombardo is working one of few indoor jobs at the zoo as the Communications and Marketing Intern. Her job responsibilities include writing editorial content, writing features for the blog, and participating in social media efforts.
“I’ve learned a lot about taking on different voices and writing for different audiences,” Lombardo said. “I create content for a variety of outlets at the Zoo, and each one needs to be tailored specifically for that outlet. I’ve also learned to be a better interviewer. A lot of the content I write is dependent on what I can get out of people, and my supervisors have shown me how to ask more robust questions in order to dig a little deeper.”
While this internship shares similar responsibilities to that of many other marketing internships, Lombardo’s position at the Dallas Zoo offers her unique experience working for a very different type of brand than typically taught in advertising courses.
“A typical day at the Zoo is probably a little different than most of other internships,” Lombardo said. “Usually, I come in to the administration office and check e-mail, respond to inquiries, and catch up with my supervisors as they’ll often assign me special projects to work on. I might write a blog post, which involves calling and interviewing a keeper or possibly going to an event. I usually try to draft an engaging social media post to go along with a blog. Every Zoo employee has a radio, so we’ll often receive radio calls about important events, like an elephant introduction, and head over to watch it during the workday. Other times, there might be a behind the scenes tour for interns that I’ll go to. I like to eat my lunch by the Sumatran Tigers or on Cat Green by the native Texas cats and walk around the Zoo. I usually finish up my day by working on the member newsletter, which means I have to contact the different Zoo departments to get the latest scoop on what they’re doing. Overall, a typical day is full of lots of writing and animals!”
Lombardo’s love for animals and conservation has made her experiences at the Zoo incredibly special for her. Since she gets to spend a lot of time around the Zoo, she has seen several special events and exciting moments.
“My favorite moment from the internship has been attending the Zoo’s Cheetah Encounter,” Lombardo said. “As an intern, I was allowed to watch the Encounter from a VIP viewing area, so I was up close and personal for the whole experience. Winspear, the Zoo’s cheetah, took off running from one end of the exhibit to the other, and it was so amazing to see this athletic animal in action. I could even hear him purr at one point! Winspear also has a canine friend named Amani, who helps keep him calm [because] cheetahs are naturally nervous animals. The keepers took the time to talk with me about cheetah conservation and tell me more about the relationship between Winspear and Amani. Conservation is extremely important to me, especially when it comes to big cats (big cats are my favorite animals), so this was an extremely insightful and fun event. I often attend events like this and write blogs or social media posts about the experience.”
Lombardo got her undergraduate degrees in English and Geography from the University of Texas, and is now getting her Masters in Advertising from SMU. Her internship with Dallas Zoo provides her a perfect opportunity to combine her interests.
“The internship speaks to my two very specific areas of interest – writing and conservation,” Lombardo said. “My [undergraduate] Geography coursework specifically focused on sustainability. I never thought I would find an internship that incorporated these interests so well, but it’s made my time at the Zoo even more special and invaluable in terms of experience.”
In the future Lombardo hopes to work in the field of advertising and marketing as a professional copywriter.
“I would like to work for a either a non-profit or an agency that specializes in non-profit advertising and marketing,” Lombardo said. “My internship at the Zoo has provided me with direct experience in crafting copy for a non-profit and appealing to the members/donors that support the 501(c) community. I would also specifically like to work on campaigns that revolve around conservation and social responsibility, which is a major area of focus in the content I produce for the Zoo.”