Gaining Copy Editing Experience While Interning for Educational Nonprofit

Helena Rowland, a senior English major at Michigan State University, worked as a Copy Editing Intern for the nonprofit educational institution ASCENDtials where she learned how to edit copy and take charge of collaborative emails.

Rowland shared her internship experience in a Q&A that was originally published by the Excel Network.

Person smiling next to company logo.
Helena Rowland

What were your internship responsibilities?

I was in charge of editing and writing grants, editing social media posts, writing emails to try and establish a collaboration with companies with the same mission as us, and just overall being another set of eyes for any kind of documentation we sent out or produced.

How did you obtain your internship? 

I heard about the internship from one of my professors and applied via Handshake.

What did your daily routine include?

Monday through Wednesday were meetings — every day consisted of editing documents and answering emails.

What skills did you learn and/or build upon during your internship?

I learned a lot about writing large-scale documents. I was not at all familiar with grants or how to write one, so this was definitely a learning curve for me.

What did you learn about the industry as a result of your internship?

I learned a lot about how to collaborate with others on projects and how to speak up for myself in professional contexts. 

What was your favorite experience from the internship?

My favorite experience was after I wrote my first collaboration email. The amount of praise and appreciation I received for something that was so small but official within my job really secured my feeling of security in my career path.

What are your future plans?

My future plans are to be an editor or a copy editor in a publishing house, but I would be open to doing this kind of editing as well.

What advice do you have for others seeking internship opportunities?

My advice is to keep trying even if you don’t hear anything. I had been applying to internships for about a year before I heard anything from employers, and this one was definitely worth the wait.