A Career ‘Test Drive’

Ohio Wesleyan Senior Completes Local Government Communications Internship

By Cole Hatcher

Sarah Jonassen ’22

Name: Sarah Jonassen ’22
Hometown: Powell, Ohio
Major: English (Creative Writing Concentration)
OWU Connection Experience: Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission’s Local Government Internship

Jonassen spent the summer completing a communications internship with Franklin County’s Mifflin Township.

“I was able to expand my writing portfolio and get a solid sense of what I want out of my future career before I graduated,” Jonassen said of the experience. “Summer internships are useful because you gain experience without the long-term commitment of a normal job. It’s basically a test drive of your career.”

Why I Sought This Internship

“I love writing of all forms, but I wanted to gain experience in the sort of real-life writing that happens every day in workplaces.

“I also was very interested in working for the local government because I enjoy work where I can see the practical benefits it has for people, and working in a smaller government entity allows you to do that, even if it’s something as small as reducing the garbage in one neighborhood.”

My Favorite Moment

“I got to interview and write about a genealogist hired by the township to recreate lost cemetery records with her research. She told me stories about many of the tombstones, including one marking a family plot that was made from a meteorite.”

Lessons Learned

“Theoreticals are great, but classrooms can’t fully prepare you for writing for a real-life audience.

“My work was varied, but it was always focused on maintaining public trust in the township through communications that helped or informed the residents of the township or its partners.

“I learned that communications in government entities is about responding to the specific concerns and needs of the community as a whole in your writing, while ensuring that the individual people who make up that community aren’t left out because of their different experiences.”

Why I Chose Ohio Wesleyan

“I chose Ohio Wesleyan because a teacher I respected recommended it to me and still had great memories of it 20 years later.

“When I visited, I enjoyed how students could interact directly with the professors. I’d visited some colleges with class sizes of over 100 students, where some never met the professors and only interacted with a teaching assistant, and I wanted a more personal approach.”

My Plans After Graduation

“I want to work in communications and public relations, and OWU has helped me develop a strong foundation of writing skills.

“It’s also let me explore the kind of writing that I might not get to do as much of in my future career, which is just as valuable to me because I plan to continue my independent writing, too. Some of the best things on my resume were OWU experiences like being on the school’s OWL Literary Magazine.”