Despite the struggle of transition for students adjusting to online classes for the summer semester, members of Growl are successfully wrestling the adoption of new and changing events, plans, and experiences due to COVID-19. While social distancing and practicing safe habits during a pandemic are respected within our organization, we are also proud of the prominent accomplishments Growl members are able to achieve to remain academically successful throughout these times.
Many of our teammates are utilizing this summer to take on a few extra courses, spend time with their families or further their professional skills through internships. While many student’s internships have been canceled, a good number of them are still being hosted remotely. This is the case for fourth-year Public Relations Assistant Director Maddie Kidd, whose Corporate Communications internship with IBM was supposed to be hosted in New York City but has now moved online.
“I’ll be working on various projects involving media relations, employee communications, digital media, and storytelling. I am looking forward to learning more about how the communications industry works through a global technology company!” Kidd said.
Everything, including the legal system, has been affected by this pandemic. Thankfully, second-year Logistics Assistant Director Andrew Smiarowski’s internship in Sanford, Fla. with the 18th Judicial Circuit Court is still being hosted in person. He is serving for judges that work in juvenile and drug courts, watching court proceedings and writing legal briefs about each case. First-year Assistant Director of Engagement Jadie Fleischer is interning at the Florida Women’s Law Group in Jacksonville, Fla.
“This law firm is fully run by women and represents women in family law cases,” Fleischer said. “As an intern, I research local resources to help women in the Jacksonville area and create new solutions to keep the firm connected to our clients during the pandemic.”
Others have been taking this time to spend with their family as well as volunteering in their communities. Second year students Jake Siegel and Zoe Rasmussen are examples of this. For Siegel, an Assistant Director of Operations, this has been a great way to spend more time with his twin sister who he was separated from this past year because they attend different universities. Rasmussen, an Assistant Director of Engagement, has been connecting with her family through various outdoor activities such as bike riding. She has also been using this time to volunteer with Seeds of Hope, a local hunger-relief organization she began volunteering with in high school. According to Rasmussen, the organization prepares boxes of food for local residents and has doubled the amount of boxes being made during this time.
John Williams, a fourth-year Assistant Director of Operations studying microbiology is working as a caretaker for a quadriplegic University of Florida professor. A couple days a week he assists the professor complete his daily activities.
“It is an extremely rewarding experience, and it just reminds me how blessed I am to be alive and reminds me not to be frustrated with the little things in life,” Williams said.
In a time marked by so much confusion and change, there is significant power in seeking out ways to come out stronger on the other side. For the Growl staff, we are doing this by working to better ourselves and the people around us, all in addition to better preparing for the best Gator Growl yet to celebrate our reuniting in the Swamp in the fall.