Internship Series: San José City Hall Vice Mayor’s Office (District 5)

Anna Pham

COM ’21 | Public Relations


CCD: Tell us about your work experience. What were your responsibilities?

AP: This past summer, I interned at the Office of Vice Mayor Magdalena Carrasco for the City of San José. Some of my tasks included answering the phone and helping constituents, tabling at community events, designing flyers, compiling information on Microsoft Excel, doing research on policy, getting volunteers for our annual National Night Out event, writing for the monthly newsletter, collaborating with other interns, printing, emailing, and much more. I would say that there was never a normal day in the office. I remember my first day at the internship—I was given a stack of people to call, and it was very intimidating but by the end of the summer, I was able to answer phone calls and speak with no hesitation.

CCD: How did you get the position? What resources at BU or elsewhere did you use?

AP: I wanted to do something with my summer back home, so I was actively on internship/job search sites. I found this internship through Indeed: Job Search.

CCD: What was the best thing about the experience? What was the worst?

AP: First off, I loved working on the 18th floor of City Hall (the view of my home city was absolutely beautiful). One of my tasks was picking up the phone and hearing constituent’s concerns. I enjoyed being able to help them in any way I could by providing them with the resources or getting them connected with the right resources to solve the issue. That being said, there were definitely slower days and faster days it was unpredictable, which made it exciting.
Overall, there was good and bad, but it was also my first internship and I am grateful for the lessons I learned.

CCD: What was the most memorable moment of your experience?

AP: One of my tasks was to table at community park events and encourage constituents to get involved in the district. I loved this part of the job because it was very hands-on; we also gave out a bunch of free stuff (who doesn’t like free stuff?). I enjoyed talking to the kids, parents, and my peers about what we were working on in the office and how to better use the city’s resources. It was interesting because people would always say “wow, I didn’t know that” and it made me feel proud to be able to represent the city and hear out their concerns.

I also really enjoyed assisting with the annual National Night Out, which is a community building event held every year in August. There were over 3,000 attendees and volunteers; it was our biggest event of the summer. It was a day of coming together with free food, giveaways, games, and allowing community vendors to share their knowledge with the public as well as get involved. District 5 is incredibly diverse. This internship alone has inspired me to learn Spanish to better communicate, and has also inspired me to get to know my Council Members and utilize my city’s resources wherever I go next.

CCD: What advice would you give to another student about making the most of an internship or job experience?

AP: Ask questions. If you’re confused about something ask. If you’re curious about something ask. Your internship is really what you make of it! Think about it like this: you were selected among so many candidates for this position and you have the opportunity to do something amazing with it, even if it’s just for a couple of months. Don’t be afraid to speak up. You get out of the internship, what you put into the internship.

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