The Power of PLEN: Nadia’s Experience Leading the August PLENTALK

As a rising senior in college, I have had quite a few experiences that have allowed me to lead and produce content that I can be proud of. However, nothing I have done thus far in my undergraduate career has made me as proud as co-leading and producing PLEN’s August PLENTalk: Endemic and Global Health. This summer, I have had the most incredible opportunity and experience as PLEN’s Summer 2022 Communications Intern. With this position, I have been able to explore, manage, and lead content creation, generating reports on PLEN’s social media analytics, marketing, mass communication, and so much more. While these aspects have been more than valuable in my professional development, the element I am most proud of has been the possibility to truly assemble an event from scratch. The journey to the final product was a fun and exciting challenge! 

As I started my internship just at the end of June, I had missed opportunities to establish working relationships with the PLEN team; however, this did not prove to have any negative impact as I quickly felt welcomed and a part of the team. As a result of my start date, the PLEN Development Intern and I began working on PLENTalk the week that I began working at PLEN. I was honored to work with Paige, the Summer 2022 Development Intern, as they were driven, intelligent, and exceedingly welcoming! While we had to do some hard work, everything was so easy because our dynamic and excellent communication made everything feel like a breeze. Together, we decided on the topic, style of event, potential speakers, and moderators. Separately, I was able to land a speaker, work on marketing materials, send out mass emails, and on the day of the PLENTalk, help begin and close the event. 

The tasks and challenges that were present with working on an event are skills that are going to follow me throughout life. Having to be in communication with the speaker and drafting marketing emails to help increase registration really grew my communication skills as I have never had the opportunity to contact wide and important audiences before. Additionally, before this internship, I had never created content to the extent that I have for the PLENTalk. Producing and drafting true marketing content is something I have never had the opportunity to do. Furthermore, because of PLEN, I got to get out of my comfort zone, get creative, and grow some amazing professional skills. 

As I mentioned earlier, I am beyond thankful for the opportunities my undergraduate education has provided me with. I have had opportunities  to create content and lead events, but working with PLEN and specifically working on the PLENTalk, was the most rewarding hands-on learning. In school, we are not given too many opportunities to work on professional development and this internship has not only provided me with new skills to take with me but also, the most wonderful memories. The PLEN team is fantastic and I can not thank them enough for what they have provided me with, true compassion and kindness. The experiences and skills I have made from this internship will travel with me throughout my educational and professional journey and for that, I am incredibly grateful.  

Watch PLEN's August PLENTalk: End-emic and Global Health here!

Nadia DeCastris served as the Summer 2022 Communications Intern. She is currently a rising senior at Augustana College in Rock Island Illinois, double majoring in Public Health and Psychology with a minor in Communications Studies.

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