InternsBy Seth Manchester, AEM Public Relations and Communications Intern

Interns play a significant role in the workforce. By contributing valuable support to a business and its existing employees, internships are a way for a company to invest in its own future success while discovering new talent and potential future leaders. 

Providing in-office experience to individuals pursuing professional careers and integrating courses and activities to further develop those skills, AEM values the growth of interns and prepares them for the workforce. AEM interns are appreciated for their work and receive meaningful insights that will assist them in future career endeavors.  

AEM possesses a strong reputation for converting interns into full-time staff and employees; AEM President Megan Tanel began her time with the association as an intern. These high levels of intern retention build a connected and collaborative culture within the workplace, and they help young professionals build a strong foundation as they commence with their careers.  

Current Interns and the Internship Program 

“I think internships really do benefit both the individual and the workplace,” said AEM International Marketing Intern Austin Junk. “As far as the individual goes, they learn necessary skills and values from a real-world perspective, while also networking and learning from professionals. The workplace gets to teach the next generation of the workforce, while instilling important values and showing what a company environment should be like.” 

AEM’s Sarah Brasher serves as the association’s internship program coordinator, and it’s part of her duties as a member of AEM’s Human Resources Department. While there have been internship programs at AEM in the past, Brasher has worked to further develop the current program through helping interns identify and enhance professional skills that are not typically taught in school or on the job. In addition, she is working to create a connected and cohesive intern team and provide guidance to internal development within AEM, as well as foster external growth beyond the association.  

AEM Marketing Intern Alyssa Zimmerman began her role in May of 2022. Through her experience, she learned many skills and improved on others, including sending professional emails, making business calls, contributing to meetings and participating in networking opportunities. 

“This internship has provided me with good exposure to working with partners and various projects which have helped improve my skills needed to be successful,” Zimmerman said.  

Internships are great opportunities to learn and improve upon professional skills, but they are also beneficial to the improvement of soft skills. Safety & Product Leadership Intern Steve Nieskes said that these skills, such as digital proficiency, confidence and networking, benefit him in all aspects of his work.  

“This internship has reinforced the importance of soft skill development and how these skills are utilized through all aspects of work,” said Nieskes. 

Zimmerman has grown into a valuable contributor to her team. She said she believes that what makes AEM’s internship program unique is the fact that interns bring value to each department and are important to AEM’s success.  

“All the tasks and projects I've worked on are beneficial to AEM,” she said. “With all the things I have done here, it feels like I have a significant role.” 

AEM is a proponent of growth for interns, and this is apparent through the communication and teamwork between interns and supervisors. By conducting huddles with various goals, including career pathing, software training, and resume writing, Brasher is helping to ensure AEM's interns succeed.  

“I have really benefited from the [intern] program at AEM,” Junk said. “The meetings are designed to help us with different areas of growth in our careers.” 

How Does AEM Help Interns Grow Within the Association? 

AEM’s inclusive and positive attitude toward interns result in prominent levels of intern retention. The experience AEM provides its interns with gives them the advantage over others seeking a job with the association and provides them with meaningful opportunities. 

Henry Santos began working at AEM in 2019 as an international and domestic marketing intern. Now in his role as customer success coordinator, he is thankful that AEM gave him a chance to start his career when no one else would.  

“I was not given the opportunity to start my career anywhere because I started a little bit late,” Santos said. “No one would hire me as an intern, but AEM gave me that opportunity.” 

Eli Moutry started as an education research intern at AEM back in April of 2022. Now as community and insights assistant, Moutry is one of the most recent examples of interns working their way up to full-time positions within the association.  

“I went in with no proper office experience, but [at AEM], I received that,” Moutry said. “I see where my work is going compared to some other jobs, and I am able to see the whole picture of what I do.” 

AEM always encourages its workforce to succeed and supports them along the way. By valuing them and respecting their time and effort, AEM interns are driven to advance within the association.  

“No matter what, I always have the help of my manager and anyone in my department readily available,” Santos said. “People here push you to go full-time; they give you that opportunity.”  

Former interns offer a lot of insight to those who are just beginning their careers. Connecting with established colleagues is the best way to grow into one's role.

“Networking and connecting with people are key,” Moutry said. “Going to those company events and getting to know people are important because up until that point you are just seeing your work, not the people and what the company is about.” 

Intern responsibilities may differ in other workplaces, so what does it take to be an intern at AEM? When evaluating prospective candidates, Brasher said she operates on the “Skill Versus Will” model.  

“You can teach anyone any skill, but you can’t teach someone to be driven, motivated and excited to learn,” Brasher said. “My main goals for the program are facilitating continued learning and establishing a peer-support system. Ultimately, we want the interns to develop into full-time employees, so my goal is to remove any roadblocks they might have in getting there.” 

To learn more about AEM's Internship Program, contact Sarah Brasher at

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