Former marketing intern tells how the experience shaped her, one year later

Jasmin Hernandez Santacruz was a second-year student at UC San Diego when she was selected to work as an intern for the Social Venture Digital Marketing Internship Program with City Heights Coffee House (CHCH) in the fall of 2017. The internship is paid through the San Diego Workforce Partnership’s TechHire program where interns are offered a paid, hands-on experience for approximately 10-15 hours per week.

Jasminchch EditedA year after her internship, Jasmin sat down with David Tran, Co-founder and Director of Marketing and Partnerships with City Heights Coffee House to reflect on her experience and share what she learned:

Where are you in your academic and professional journey?

I am currently in my third year of college at UC San Diego. Aside from my linguistics major, I ended up picking up a second major in psychology and a minor in international studies. I completed a year-long internship with the psychology department at UCSD.

One of my biggest accomplishments was taking everything that I learned from the digital marketing internship at City Heights Coffee House and applying it to the larger community at UCSD. It helped me with sustaining more active social media accounts for the organization and creating a system that was more effective in managing our events.

Recently, I have joined the afterschool tutoring program at Saint Mark’s church where I help refugee students with their studies. This summer I hope to branch outward in my community in City Heights by becoming a mentor for a local middle school. I will also be applying for an internship at the School of Global Policy and Strategy at UCSD.

What are your top 3 takeaways from the digital marketing internship?

Personally, I feel that the digital marketing internship offered me lifelong tools and techniques that I would not have been able to acquire on my own. If I were to sum it down to three specifically, I would say I learned:

  1. The value of one’s community as a crucial part to one’s identity
  2. The importance of communication in group work
  3. The need for clarity in project planning

These takeaways set me up for success in the sense that my perspective on my internship goals became a responsibility—one I had to achieve for the improvement of my community and for my social and personal growth. The blog series I was involved in allowed us to reach out to a larger, more diverse community than I was used to. I was able to reach individuals who could relate to what I was writing and, at the same time, become more knowledgeable about the values that CHCH promotes with its presence in City Heights.

Learning about the business metrics and logistics of the nonprofit organization allowed me to see the fruits of careful research and planning when moving forward with a big project. For CHCH, this meant starting off as an Instagram-worthy spot in an alleyway to becoming the successful coffee house that it is today.

How have these takeaways shaped your life today?

As I mentioned above, I credit much of the success that I’ve had with my on-campus organization to the things that I learned with the CHCH internship. I was fortunate enough to become involved with CHCH when I was just entering college, a period that is crucial in the whole process of self-discovery and in shaping who you’ll be as a professional in any career.

One of the first things I learned when joining CHCH was the importance, and practically necessity, of using an online calendar system. Now I can happily say that my laptop has at least five different calendars ranging from organization events to academics to religious services—a rainbow of to-do lists. I think planning and managing events in such a way is a skill that is highly undervalued but is truly worth having as I advance into my career.

Overall, the takeaways mentioned above have allowed me to further my coffee addiction (ha!) but also surround myself with the goodness present in my community—like individuals at CHCH who strive to help community members that are struggling and are often marginalized within society.

More recently, the Workforce Partnership has partnered with City Heights Coffee House to provide a new program called the Career Launch Academy. Applications are due June 21.