News & Stories
Reese Chatman
November 4, 2022

A Balancing Act: Juggling College Commitments with Internships

Reese Chatman 25 — a communication major with a concentration in public relations — started college with plenty on his plate. A recipient of the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship, a competitive merit and work-based scholarship, he worked 16 hours per week for the president’s office and dived into his first communications classes. Reese immediately saw connections between his courses and hands-on application in his job, which involved event planning, office management and professional communication with a variety of people. But life got a little more complicated when he was asked to apply for a national internship with TeenPact, a non-profit, non-partisan Christian leadership program teaching students across the country about the American political process.  

The opportunity seemed too good to pass up. In high school, Reese was a part of TeenPact, serving in staff positions during his junior and senior years. The internship offered the chance to travel to nine states, overseeing high-school and college-age staff and the curriculum in each location. He knew the opportunity would widen his scope of experience and seemed like an excellent place to test out skills like teaching and public speaking — but he was not sure how to make it work. Together, with faculty and scholarship advisors, Reese found a way to balance different college aspirations and commitments. 

Reese contacted his scholarship coordinator to explain why he thought this internship would be valuable. They came up with a plan to uphold Reese’s scholarship commitments while also taking advantage of the internship if he was selected.   

Once chosen, he was able to commit to a semester away from Berry, thanks to the support of Berry mentors. While traveling to various states with the non-profit, Reese stayed connected to the Berry community. His advisor, Kimberly Field-Springer, associate professor of communication, kept him on track, helping him register for classes while he was away. It was hard work coordinating all the details, but Reese says the effort was worth it.  

“I never know what I’m capable of until I’m thrown into a new position,” he reflects. Though Reese may not be headed for a career in the political process, TeenPact not only boosted his confidence in his teaching skills but also showed him that he has a knack for making educational content entertaining. 

Back at Berry this fall, Reese is digging into digital storytelling and working as the features editor for the Campus Carrier. He also has a message for those interested in internships: “It’s okay not to have your path sorted out. But make sure to take advantage of any opportunity at college. Even if an experience I’ve had wasn’t a fit, everything has helped me narrow down which aspects of my future career are important to me.” 

Photo by Mary Claire Stockebrand

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