January is #NationalMentoringMonth!
One benefit all T. Howard Foundation interns have is being paired with a mentor. Most THF mentors currently work in the media industry, and half are THF Alumni. All mentors volunteer their time to assist a new generation of diverse professionals in the industry.
THF Alumna, Sunny Kim ’18, Shares THF Experience
I found out about the T. Howard Foundation (THF) through a networking event organized by the University of Texas at Austin. I studied journalism at UT, and always felt like an oddball as an Asian-American woman passionate about the media industry. But when I heard about THF’s mission to help underserved and underrepresented groups get jobs and internships in media industries, I knew I had to check it out.
Through the THF Internship Program, I had the amazing experience working at Hearst, one of the biggest and most diversified media companies in the U.S. I worked as an Editorial Intern at Popular Mechanics Magazine where I researched topics related to intellectual property theft, smart cities and universal basic income. I had opportunities to pitch my own story ideas, participate in weekly meetings, conduct interviews and write episodic summaries for PM’s podcast. It was a great opportunity to utilize the skills I learned in the classroom to a real job.
THF Mentorship Provides Professional Friendship
One of the most rewarding parts of my internship was developing a relationship with my assigned mentor. All THF interns are paired with a mentor at the beginning of their internship, and I had my support sister Gina Chen, who works as a Network Manager at Vox Media.
It was refreshing to talk to someone who was also a young Asian-American woman working in the media industry. We met up biweekly and shared good food and conversation. I felt comfortable talking to her about my concerns and she was always available to chat and listen. It felt like having an older sister taking care of me, which was great because in the beginning I didn’t know anyone in the city. I asked her lots of questions about the media industry, and she even invited me to her workplace at Vox Media which was in the Financial District of NYC.
Since I completed my summer THF internship, I have kept in touch with my mentor and hope to do so for the future. I think the Mentorship Program is extremely helpful because my mentor gave me great tips to navigate the workplace more successfully. One of the things I did at Popular Mechanics, as advised by my mentor, was to write a weekly report of the things I did to send to my manager at the end of the week. My manager at PM really appreciated this, as did the Editor-in-Chief. This helped me build trust among my co-workers in a short span of time.
THF is a great company that genuinely cares about its members and their success, and I’m glad I can be a part of their network. I feel more prepared for any kind of internship or job after my experience with THF.
Sunny Kim is expected to graduate in May 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin.