Our internships with Cohear are coming to an end as we go back to classes this fall. So, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on our summer with Cohear and what we have learned along the way.
Before starting Cohear, what was your first impression?
Anna: I was really nervous coming into Cohear at first. This is my first internship and first time working in a professional setting, so I was worried about how my academic experience would translate and how I would fit into the team. I was definitely envisioning more of a background role with a lot of admin tasks, because that’s what I’m used to. I was surprised at the level of input I had, specifically when writing reports.
Akua: I was super excited, because I had never worked for a company that really had the same values that I have been learning and understanding since highschool. I was definitely nervous because outside academic papers and articles, I had never really written professional documents, but I also didn’t think I would have to do much writing. I thought most of my work would be administrative, more traditional “Intern” work.
Daniel: Before signing up for the Cohear summer internship, my first impression was that Cohear’s focus was to conduct and synthesize customer stories for agencies and provide a loop for feedback. In the first two weeks, I learned about the core foundation of Cohear; growing a community where everyday experts are empowered to share their lived experiences with policymakers.
What We Did
Daniel: I was trusted by the creative director to make major aesthetic decisions on behalf of Cohear which improved my design leadership skills. I produced social media graphics, pullup banners, table runners, business cards, presentation designs, website updates, and a 60-page GCF research design with no and little supervision.
What We Learned
Daniel: As a UX/UI designer, I did not know what I was missing in my user research until the first month of the internship. Learning how Cohear uses their research findings and develops those actions into easy to comprehend and digestible insights was my biggest paycheck. For example, working with the Creative Director on a presentation design for the Key Insights and Messaging Recommendations to Address Vaccine Hesitancy in Cincinnati and Central Ohio, and seeing how the research contributed to a 200% increase in vaccination in the communities where the research was conducted, meant a lot to me.
What Was Helpful
Anna: I received tons of great feedback on almost everything I did, which was so crucial for my learning and confidence. No one can do something perfectly the first time, but having such constructive feedback made me feel so much more sure of myself and my abilities moving forward.
Akua: I feel like Cohear gave me the freedom to really showcase the things that I was good at, but also improve in the things that I still had to learn. Instead of making edits for me they would make suggestions that got me to the first step, and I was able to figure out the rest for myself and actually understand the edits. I think even with the knowledge I had, specifically revolving around Criminal Justice or Equity, I was able to experience those from so many different perspectives that I genuinely think it helps me frame my future studies in different, innovative ways.
Daniel: Style guide and project deadlines. The color blue and purple means a lot to the organization – and I respect that. Although there are thousands of tints and shades of blue, having access to the specific color codes of the Cohear brand ensured consistency in my choice of colors. Working under tight deadlines was a big takeaway too. It challenged me to think on my feet and stay productive all the time.
Anna: Come in ready and willing to learn. Cohear has a team of very smart, very accomplished people who also want to see you do well. Take every opportunity you can get to improve your skills.
Akua: Unlearn everything that you think about what you’re going to learn or experience, because chances are, it’s probably wrong. Cohear isn’t just a team but it’s truly a family. It felt like everyone’s main priority was growth. As an intern, it was prioritized that I learned new things, not that I did everything correctly or perfectly.
Daniel: The Cohear team will laugh at this advice but hey...attend the team's lunch! Schedule one on one meetings with each member of the team and get to know more of their roles at Cohear, and their lives after office hours. Little did I know that Monique Gilliam is a musician when she is not Cohearing.
Anna: I loved the opportunity to hear from the communities Cohear works with. I learned a ton from just hearing different perspectives in the focus groups and advisory boards that they facilitate. Just listening to people that you don’t normally have contact with in your day-to-day life is a tremendous opportunity to grow and better understand the human experience. I really believe in the work that Cohear is doing to better people’s lives.
Akua: Cohear doesn’t just talk the talk about valuing everyday experts, but I think they utilize that within everything they do, from scheduling meeting, to assigning tasks, we’re all doing what we’re passionate about and the other team members really make sure to emphasize and highlight each others experiences as humans before employees.