Business Center

End of Internship Article: Skills for the Future

By Campbell Pontin, Media and Marketing Intern

July 19, 2019


Today marks my last day as an intern for the Office of Process Improvement. Looking back, I had no idea how much I would learn over four short months. I joined CDOT with an interest in working in the public sector, and a background in marketing and graphic design. I had plenty of opportunities to develop those areas during my time here, but I’ve also learned so many unexpected skills that I know will help me in my future career.

Since I started working for OPI, no two days have been the same. On Monday I could be facilitating a meeting and designing a PowerPoint, Tuesday I’d be writing scripts for videos promoting innovation at CDOT, and Wednesday I might be heading down to Aurora to watch the annual Roadeo and ride in a snow plow. Having such a varied schedule has allowed me to dip my feet into subjects that I never thought I’d encounter. Learning about Lean and Change Management has been particularly interesting, and I feel that I can apply these philosophies to any future job environment. My bosses, Gary, Geneva, and Michelle, have been incredibly supportive and encourage interns to forge our own path and take on projects that appeal to our personal interests and goals. I can say that my time here has helped me become a better graphic designer, but it’s also given me a wider perspective on so many other areas, and I now know an innumerable amount of transportation-related acronyms.

Not two weeks after arriving at CDOT, I was made lead for a project to develop videos to promote Lean Everyday Ideas and showcase innovations that CDOTers have put into action. This was a daunting task at first. I was new to CDOT, had no connections and no experience managing a 6-month long project. I felt a little bit lost. But with some gentle encouragement from Geneva, I was able to take ownership of the project and work with employees from multiple offices to pull the videos together. At this point, I’ve handed the project off to another intern, but not before developing scripts and storyboards, securing video participants, and scheduling filming times for each video. The LEI Video project really put me out of my comfort zone, but I feel that this gave me the best possible opportunity to learn and grow as a professional. I now have stronger project management skills, and have found the confidence to take on those larger, more unfamiliar tasks.

This internship is unlike most others. You may think that interns are there to grab coffee, or make copies, but that is not the case at CDOT. During my time here, I’ve met with executives, helped support an agency-wide re-org, and taken on countless other projects that have a real and measurable impact. Interns are truly valued here, and while our supervisors are always there to support us, they don’t hold our hands through projects so that we have the opportunity to develop our skills and succeed on our own. Now that my time at CDOT has come to an end, I’m off to work as a Graphic Designer for a print shop called Signal Graphics. Despite the change in industry, I know that the skills and qualities I’ve developed at OPI will help me succeed in any path that my career takes.