Summer Intern Chronicles: Sarah Gaffney from University of Alabama

Intern at Convention Data Services...
Sarah Gaffney is a rising senior at University of Alabama and is interning this summer at Convention Data Services. (CDS photo)

This is part of a continuing series of "Summer Intern Chronicles" that Cape Cod Today will publish throughout the season.  Many local college students undertake internship experiences during summer break.  These internships can truly form a young person as a professional in their chosen career path.  For many, the internship is their first work experience in the career they hope to pursue.  These internship stories are intended to give the students an opportunity to share their experiences, showcase the work of their sponsoring organization and put in a plug for their college.  The stories are written in the students' own words and published verbatim as submitted.  

If your Cape & Islands or Plymouth organization hosts summer interns and you'd like them to participate, please email [email protected] and we will send you the project guidelines.

Sarah Gaffney from University of Alabama 

My name is Sarah Gaffney, and I am from Sandwich, Massachussetts. I am a rising senior at the University of Alabama studying Meetings and Events Management. This summer, I have had the wonderful opportunity to intern at Convention Data Services (CDS) in the event services department. CDS is headquartered in Bourne and provides registration and lead management services for the events industry. Within event services, I mainly deal with the data that accompanies registration for conventions. I work directly with clients to ensure that data is being correctly analyzed and inputed.

Recently, I was given the opportunity to go onsite with CDS and attended the Las Vegas Market, which is an interior design convention in Nevada. Working at the show was a great experience and gave me first-hand knowledge about the work I had been doing behind the scenes. Being able to travel and directly interact with clients and attendees was an invaluable learning experince that I would not have been able to gain in a classroom setting.

The advice I would give to students seeking an internship would be to search for a position that has you doing more than busy work. CDS has been wonderful because I am always learning something new. The technicalities that I have learned here will be directly applicable to my career in event services. It is wonderful to feel so valued in my internship environment and work alongside such an amazing group of individuals. Everyone I have met at CDS during my internship has been so welcoming, kind, and informative. Whether it is an executive in the company or another intern, I never feel apprehensive about approaching coworkers with questions or suggestions.

This internship has changed my professional outlook by forcing me to escape my comfort zone and become a problem solver who feels comfortable asking questions. It can be intimidating to enter a professional work environment for the first time, and I am so lucky to have spent my summer in a place where my coworkers were so patient and offered assistance whenever needed. CDS is a rapidly growing company, especially for being located on the Cape. However, the small family business feel is still very prevalent. I am grateful to all my coworkers and especially to my boss, Dave Wuethrich, for making my internship experience so memorable.


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