In my last semester of my college career, I got the honor of interning for my favorite non-profit organization, The National Foundation for Autism Research in San Diego, also known as, NFAR. This foundation is very dear to my heart because my younger brother, Julian, was diagnosed with Autism when was just 2 years old. Now, Julian is 18 years old and loving life! My family and I have been with NFAR since the foundation first started 14 years ago. NFAR has supported my family since the beginning when Julian was first diagnosed, figuring out a plan of educating my family more on this disorder as well as raising awareness within our community. Over the past few years, I have volunteered each year to help NFAR with their annual 5k race, The Race for Autism. This is their biggest event of the year where they raise the most funds that go towards extracurriculars and activities for individuals with Autism and their families, the numerous advocates in schools and programs in San Diego, and the NFAR Tech Program.
During the spring semester, I was the NFAR’s social media intern. As their social media intern, I would update social media platforms daily, specifically Instagram and Twitter and provide day of race updates on social media platforms. Also, I would use the power of social media to learn how to effectively communicate with the public to bring more traffic to their social platforms. On each platform, I would keep their followers up-to-date with a fundraiser leaderboard and spotlight highest teams and fundraisers. One of the most fun projects I had during this internship was being able to interact with all of the families and companies at the Race for Autism 5k Walk/Run in San Diego. I was constantly posting on the NFAR Instagram, Instagram story, and Facebook page so supporters at home could follow along. I was able to capture the race from beginning to end from a racers perspective as well as posting about our amazing sponsors for the race. A cool project I had the opportunity to do at the end of my internship was to gather the Instagram Growth Figures over my time with NFAR. While collecting this information, I was able to gather all of the numbers to show how their platform has grown and how their interactions and engagement has gotten bigger as well.
This internship experience is extremely valuable to me as I learned a lot about how to grow various social media platforms and learned the differences between all the platforms. Being hands on at the race event was also such an amazing experience since I was very involved with all of the families and individuals there for the race and constantly being in contact with everyone posting about the race. This experience has influenced my career goals because I am hoping to pursue a full time position in social media whether it is for a specific person, sports team, company, or brand. Not only have I been able to learn a lot about social and digital media at NFAR through my manager and the other individuals on the NFAR board, but I have also been able to spend my time being a large advocate for Autism Awareness even more than I usually am during this internship. NFAR has allowed me to voice my thoughts about being a big sister of a loved one with Autism as well as the importance of why more individuals should learn about the Autism Spectrum Disorder. Being an intern and advocate for this organization has helped me grow as an individual where I feel more confident in what I discuss regarding the Autism Spectrum Disorder and being able to continue to educate those I come across everyday. After this internship ends, I still plan to volunteer for this amazing organization to help them grow and continue to help all the individuals and families in San Diego that are affected by Autism.