As a Fort Worth native, the opportunity to work in our entrepreneurial ecosystem and startup scene has been very fulfilling. But when I started this internship, I didn’t know how much I would learn about my hometown, myself, and the business world beyond our city limits. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to work for Sparkyard and HSC Next as my first internship. Regarding introductions to professional life, I would say that mine was pretty stellar. Writing about what I learned this summer without launching into a full novel is challenging because the amount of experience and understanding I’ve gained extends further than I ever anticipated. However, I’ll spare the reader and highlight the top 5 things I learned this summer.
1. Teamwork is important.
Working with the Sparkyard and HSC Next team has been one of my favorite parts of my internship. Their culture of collaboration and community has given me clear insight into some of the things I want to look for in future internships and jobs. Over the summer, blogs were passed back and forth for editing; various members stopped by the interns’ desks daily, and my fellow interns and I had countless laughs between projects, all while keeping a steady tempo of productivity. I observed how clear and frequent communication can push a team to produce quality work and keep an eye on big picture goals. This showed me that personal interactions in an office can be the glue that creates a cohesive and driven work environment.
2. Work off the other geniuses.
I was introduced to the Working Genius model this summer and was fortunate enough to take the assessment. The Working Genius determines your work style’s strengths, competencies, and frustrations out of six types (wonder, invention, galvanizing, discernment, enablement, tenacity). The model offers a unique take on maximizing productivity and alleviating workplace differences. Within the team, all of the geniuses are represented, bringing diversity, energy and occasionally the need for compromise. Understanding the Working genius framework has helped me understand my needs in a work setting and work more efficiently with my coworkers. Learning to complement other’s strengths in the workplace has been fascinating and enlightening.
3. Be a scholar of the real world.
I may not have been in a classroom this summer, but I was definitely educated. This internship has taught me so much about what it takes to run a business, how the community can help entrepreneurs, how to maintain a website, and so much more. It’s been priceless to learn from my boss’s direction and the freedom they gave me to be creative and learn through trial and error. I learned how to use my established skills in new ways and build new skills that will be used far beyond this summer. I also had the chance to sit in on many meetings, attend biotech conferences, and observe my bosses interact with various people in a variety of settings. These insights emphasized the value of learning through observation to me. Soaking in those experiences taught me much about the nuances and implementation of the other skills I was learning.
4. Trying new things is rewarding.
Despite my continual education, there were many moments when I was presented with tasks that I didn’t think I was prepared for. However, I learned that it’s not about feeling prepared for a task—it’s about being willing to give it your best effort and asking for help if you need it. With that mindset, you can only be pleasantly surprised by how prepared you actually are, rather than stressing over your anticipated inadequacies. I was able to learn this lesson because my bosses and coworkers were willing to help me when I hit roadblocks or didn’t understand. I gained so much from trying new things and saying yes to almost everything, even if it intimidated me, from writing an email campaign to doing market reports. It inspired my confidence and deepened my humility because sometimes you just have to admit that you don’t know what you’re doing and ask questions until you understand.
5. Fort Worth isn't just for cowboys.
Our city has a plethora of resources and opportunities for entrepreneurs and small businesses that fail to make it out of the shadows of its cattle-raising roots. I had the privilege of participating in the naming and branding committee for the new Create Fort Worth entrepreneurship center. For this committee, a diverse group of community members combined their creative and professional prowess to iterate name after name and logo after logo. We worked through successes and disagreements to help give Fort Worth the entrepreneurship center it deserves. That experience showed me just how much Fort Worth cares about our entrepreneurs. The city is determined to revitalize its startup scene and the community is rallying to help Fort Worth grow.
In conclusion, my horizons have been broadened and my mind expanded. I’ve been given unique opportunities to understand the intersection of entrepreneurship, biotech and research, and Fort Worth. After this summer, I am so excited to see what the future holds for the city, the entrepreneurial community, and for me. Thank you Sparkyard and HSC Next for a wonderful couple of months!
About the Author
Josephine Steed is a student intern for the HSC Next department at the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth. Josephine will be a second-year student at the University of South Carolina, pursuing a BBA in both Public Health and Psychology. Go Gamecocks! All thoughts and opinions are her own and in no way reflect the thoughts and opinions of HSC.