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An Interview with Grace McGahey - StratusGrid’s First Intern
Read our interview with StratusGrid’s first Marketing intern. Get insights into their experiences, learning, and the value of internships in tech.
As a company, StratusGrid is always looking for ways to be more involved in our community. One of the ways we have wanted to be more involved is by developing an internship program, which led us to hiring Grace. Back in August, we interviewed and hired Grace for our Marketing Internship. Since then, our team has been consistently impressed by her work ethic, attitude, and willingness to step outside of her role to interact with other teams. This week marks the conclusion of her internship, so we wanted to sit with her and chat about her internship experience.
Grace McGahey - Marketing Intern
Can you share a little about yourself? Where do you go to school, what is your major, and what are your hobbies?
My name is Grace McGahey; I am a senior from Nashville, Tennessee, studying Communications with a concentration in Marketing and minoring in Business Administration, and I plan to graduate from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in the spring. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, watching documentaries, and going to Nashville Soccer Club matches with my family.
How did you find out about the internship opportunity at StratusGrid, and what was the application process like?
When I began looking for an internship, I saw an opening at StratusGrid through a listing on LinkedIn. I immediately went to their website to see if their culture and values aligned with mine, and I was instantly hooked. The application itself was standard: I told them about myself, included my resumé and cover letter, and kept my fingers crossed.
How did the interview and onboarding process compare to previous work experiences?
Once I got the email saying they wanted to interview me, I was ecstatic! The first interview was preliminary, asking questions like my background information, what I'm studying in school, and where I see myself after graduation. During the second interview, I met with Evan Bissonette, Head of Sales, and Savannah Champion, Marketing Coordinator, and I instantly felt a connection between them. Maybe it was because we went to the same school or their sarcastic sense of humor; regardless, it hardly felt like an interview in the best way possible.
I was offered the job and two weeks later, I started work. On my first day, Evan and I discussed the goals I wanted to accomplish, and he answered any questions I had. The Flight Instructor, David Wilson, outlined my learning goals, projects, and responsibilities that I would have during the next couple of months.
What type of projects did you work on during your internship?
Before I started, I thought I'd be handed over unwanted work or projects to keep me occupied throughout the day. However, I had a good mix of projects during my internship. Some projects were geared toward fundamental marketing practices, while others focused on projects that I worked on with both Marketing and Sales. I worked on implementing an SEO strategy, earned certifications in HubSpot and AWS, helped with a blog post, created an infographic, added headshots to our website, and much more.
Was there anything that surprised you throughout the process?
I never felt like any curveballs were thrown at me during the internship. StratusGrid is the type of company that is honest, even in the initial interview. Though there were some definitely some pain points, everyone always bounced back, and it only made us more determined to work through those difficulties. I was pleased to find that the team truly welcomed me throughout the internship. Sometimes internships can feel like busy work, and I was excited to see that StratusGrid was intentional with the projects I'd be working on. Our team cheered each other on and always lent a hand.
What were your biggest takeaways from this experience/do you feel like you have grown from this opportunity?
I have 100 percent grown from this opportunity in ways I didn't know were possible. For example, I've always commended myself as being a team player, working well with others, and can spearhead a team when needed. At StratusGrid, I realized there was a lot of room for me to grow in terms of being a collaborative team player. The way StratusGrid works together is incredible. They embody the word "team" through how they communicate and respect one another. The more I grew as a team player, the more I realized that nobody does anything alone. Replacing the word "I" with "we" helped me better understand what a teammate is. I also grew in learning how to approach a challenge. If I felt roadblocked, I would share it with my team and we would figure out a solution together.
What advice (if any) would you give to a student interested in a StratusGrid internship in the future?
It's a complex company with many moving parts, and it's okay not to know everything. The more you ask questions and talk to people, the more you learn. If you think your question is dumb, it's not. Embrace the people around you; they've got meaningful and exciting things to say. Push yourself in ways you didn't think you could; it'll be recognized.
If you are a student looking for an internship and come across an open position at StratusGrid, jump on it! StratusGrid is an excellent company to work for. The teammates at StratusGrid are encouraging, honest, and insightful. The skills and values I'm most appreciative of are gaining more confidence in my ability to create content and market companies, openness to learning, and becoming more of a team player.