Inside the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, interns gain real-world experience that prepares them for exciting careers. Internship opportunities within the Chamber range from publishing articles and managing social media calendars to working with member businesses to promote events, ribbon cuttings and ceremonies.  

Chamber interns have gone on to pursue fulfilling careers. TREND sat down with two former interns, Jessica York and Natalia Pérez-Gonzalez, to learn about their Chamber experience and how it’s impacted their careers.  

Jessica York

Jessica York

Jessica York served as a Chamber intern from November 2018 through July 2019. She joined the Chamber after completing her undergraduate degree in psychology at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga and worked on her master’s degree in Creative Writing alongside her internship.

During her time with the Chamber, York played a key role in social media planning and wrote featured articles such as: “Lead Like a Woman: An Interview With Entrepreneur Jamey Elrod” and “From Writing to Marketing: Finding a Shelf for Your Book” — both of which played direct roles in leader her toward her future career.  

Since her internship, York has published seven short stories as a horror author, some of which were mentioned in the summation section of a 2021 anthology titled “The Best Horror of the Year Volume 13.” She explains that her time at the Chamber directly changed her life, from the research that went into writing her article about book publishing to interviewing the co-founder of Text Request, where she now works as Content Editor leading the creation of blog posts and customer newsletters, sales and partnership materials, social media posts and more.

York says her Chamber internship provided opportunities to grow her portfolio and allowed her to gain a grasp on what companies expect from their employees.

She is currently working on a novel and is scheduled to have four more short stories published at the end of the year. She recently signed to be represented by Elizabeth Copps, the founding agent of Copps Literary Services. 

Natalia Pérez-Gonzalez 

Natalia Pérez-Gonzalez interned at the Chamber from September 2020 to July 2021, shortly after graduating from Southern Adventist University. She described her experience as somewhat unconventional, due to the remote work conditions brought on by the pandemic.

Pérez-Gonzalez explains that her internship expanded her understanding of the business-editorial requirements that prepared her to excel in her career. Her passion for journalism and communications shine through in articles like “Chattanooga Coffee Culture Cultivates Community” and “Chattanooga Empowers Art Community, Cultivates Public Art During the Pandemic.”

Something she loved about interning with the Chamber was the creative freedom this position allowed. She believes this editorial experience sharpened her skills and encouraged her to continue writing about subjects she’s passionate about.

Pérez-Gonzalez went on from her internship to her dream graduate program in magazine and journalism at New House School of Public Communication. When she graduated from New House, she launched a career in freelance magazine journalism, working with Cosmopolitan, Bustle, Women’s Health Magazine and more.  

Pérez-Gonzalez is now a Pulitzer Center Writing Fellow and a Lifestyle & Parenting Intern at Bustle Digital Group, working on a part-documentary, part-written piece about abortion rights in the Dominican Republic. For this project, she will be doing in-person research and reporting, following her dreams of exploring cultural and gender roles in societies.  

Want to follow in their career footsteps? The Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce is seeking a Writing/Communications Intern for the remainder of 2022 and into 2023. 

To apply: Submit resume and three writing samples or portfolio. Also, include a brief cover email explaining why you’re a good fit and what you’d like to learn through an internship experience with us. Please send application materials to avallejo@chattanoogachamber.com

Learn more about our internship program, here.  

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