Kelsea Costello

Mass Communication

Southwest Airlines

How has your internship helped build skills and clarify your career goals?

My coworkers at my internship always allow me to tag along to meetings I may find interesting that involve not only Customer Relations but other departments which has given me the opportunity to figure out what kind of career path I would like to pursue after graduation. It also has allowed me to realize the I do enjoy working for a large company and for a company that is located outside of the Midwest.

How do you apply your Liberal Arts skills in your internship?

I frequently apply what I have learned as a Purdue Liberal Arts student in my internship with Southwest Airlines. I use what I learned from classes such as COM252 (Writing for Mass Media) every day to write and send out internal communications to a department of over 500 people. I use the technical camera skills I learned from COM332 to film videos.

What is the a typical day like as an intern, any challenging or exciting aspects?

I head to Southwest's headquarters on the opposite side of the runway at Dallas Love Field Airport around 7:30am. In the Customer Relations/Rapid Rewards department where I work, I say hello to my coworkers and begin my day by archiving the department-wide communications from the day before. I then send out the Daily Operations Summary to over 500 employees and prepare any other departmental communications that will go out during the day. I will usually also be updating the look of any outdated departmental paperwork and working on shooting and editing Customer Relations-focused videos. I also often attend meetings, such as the weekly news meeting on Mondays where representatives from many of the departments debrief and update one another on any notable situations from the past week/weekend.

The most challenging aspect of my internship was getting the internship offer. Southwest has a very intense and long application process that for summer interns, begins in October. First you submit a normal application with basic information, a resume, and cover letter. Then, if they determine you could possibly be a good fit, they require you submit an essay about why you would like to work for Southwest. That happened around the end of November/early December. Then in January I had a phone interview, and finally interviewed at the company headquarters in Dallas in early February. Ultimately, I found out in mid-February that I would be one of around 150 other interns, out of over 30,000 applications that had been submitted.

The most exciting aspect was having the opportunity to use my Purdue Liberal Arts major of Mass Communication to assist in the vital internal communications of such a large and successful company is so exciting and makes me feel like my role is important and essential, even if I'm only an intern. I was most surprised by how true all of what you hear about Southwest's culture is. They are known for their commitment to keeping their employees happy and making them feel cared for, and everything from the interesting interior design of the headquarters to the weekly after-work deck parties seeks to accomplish that. It is truly a very happy and friendly work environment.

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