Allison Martin sitting at a desk with a laptop in front of her and a coffee mug that says \"NBC.\"
Allison Martin graduates in May with a dual degree in psychology and computer science — with a concentration in data science — and a double minor in mathematics and actuarial science. (Allen Jones, University Marketing)

Class of 2022: Pursuing an internship changed Allison Martin’s career path

Martin parlayed a project management internship at CNBC/NBCUniversal into a full-time job as a media tech associate at NBC after graduating.

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Allison Martin wants to spread awareness about how crucial internships are to landing a job after graduation.

“As important as it is to do well in your courses, the application of that knowledge in a job environment is invaluable to skill development,” she said.

Students should heed Martin’s advice.

The Fairfax, Virginia, native graduates in May from Virginia Commonwealth University with a dual degree in psychology and computer science — with a concentration in data science — and a double minor in mathematics and actuarial science. She also parlayed a project management internship at CNBC/NBCUniversal into a full-time job as a media tech associate at NBC after graduating.

“I felt tremendous pressure to land an internship,” Martin said. “My stepmom informed me about the importance they held in landing a job post graduation, so I knew I needed to gain that experience before graduating. I gave myself a quota, about eight to 12 internship applications to find and turn in each day until I landed one. I put in roughly 260 total applications.”

She utilized resources through the College of Engineering such as resume tailoring sessions, workshops and mock interviews, and even took a course designed specifically for landing an internship — ENGR 395Professional Development. Martin believes internships should be emphasized more in higher education.

“When I saw an email for an interview with NBC, a dream company of mine, words can’t describe how excited I was,” she said. “For someone wanting to go into the entertainment industry, NBCUniversal was an absolute dream. In fact, my freshman year I had gone on a tour of 30 Rockefeller Plaza on vacation, and knew I wanted to work there one day.”

Knowing she wanted to pursue media, Martin still couldn’t decide on a major her freshman year. After a screening of “RBG,” followed by a question-and-answer session with the director, Julie Cohen, Martin asked about advice for young people wanting to get into the film industry. Her one piece of advice? “Major in anything but film.”

The animated film “Frozen” piqued Martin’s interest in animation, which led her to computer science. “This was the connection I needed, a major other than cinema that could be connected to the industry,” she said. “I decided to pick up computer science and delve into learning various programming languages and never looked back.”

Martin has always been interested in psychology. She considers understanding how people think and why they behave in certain ways fundamental to many careers and fields. Finally, her dad — an engineer — always distilled in her that if you are good at something, you should pursue it.

“I have always enjoyed working with numbers and liked math in school, and since I needed certain levels of calculus for computer science, it was only natural to add the minors I have,” Martin said. “Funny enough, [my father] wanted me to go into actuarial science when I was undeclared so I wanted to see what the classes were like, but only started taking them in my senior year.”

Martin also found time to study abroad in 2018 in Florence, Italy, where she said she discovered who she was, built her confidence and independence, and learned skills such as interpersonal communication, language skills and cultural awareness (and ate 184 gelatos).

But of all her college experiences, the internship had the greatest impact on her career trajectory.

“I am certain that I want to continue working in this industry and have particularly loved working with NBC,” she said. “The people I have met have made the experience. The support and guidance I have received is invaluable, and transferable to any place I will work after; and I am grateful for that.”