Junior Meghan Mende earned a coveted weeklong internship at New York’s Fashion Week that left her well-suited for a career in event planning.
Junior Meghan Mende (left) with other interns at Fashion Week in New York

Junior Meghan Mende (left) with other interns at Fashion Week in New York

Even as snow and ice slowed the region to a crawl in February, junior Psychology and Event Planning major Meghan Mende refused to let the weather get in the way of her dream. While continuing to excel in her event planning courses, Mende hit the jackpot when it comes to landing that one great internship. 

After entering an online contest to intern at Fiji Water during Fashion Week in New York last month, Mende was chosen from a pool of 200 college students as one of just eight finalists.  In hopes of landing the coveted internship, each of the applicants then submitted a short video illustrating their knowledge and ardor for fashion. Voting for the best video was open to the public, and with her ambition to win, Mende quickly got to work, contacting every possible organization she could think of to advertise the contest, including Facebook headquarters.

“I worked incredibly hard to get as many votes as I could, and to win was a surreal moment,” Mende said. “You never know how good success feels until you actually experience it. For an Event Planning minor with an extreme passion for fashion, winning an internship at the biggest fashion event of the year was an incredible accomplishment.”

Eager to parlay her chance into other opportunities, Mende broadened her internship search through sites such as Internships.com, Simplyhired.com, Indeed.com and FreeFashionInternships.com. And while Mende found these sites helpful, she also took advantage of a local and convenient resource available to her right on the Lawrenceville campus.

Rider provides help to students looking to jump-start their internship search. The Office of Career Services’ Broncs Career Link, an information database that lists open internships for specified fields, is a great place to start.

Dr. Aaron J. Moore, assistant professor of Journalism and director of Rider’s Internship Program, advises a number of students with their programs. Moore suggests that when students are seeking an internship, their search should be done somewhat independently to mirror that of a job search. One key difference, however, is that their advisors remain available to provide feedback, guidance and support.  

“Rider has played a major role in the success I’ve had. Most of the time when I have gone on interviews, employers are stunned that I am even pursuing an Event Planning minor, being that most schools don’t offer that option,” Mende explained. “While the courses I’ve taken in the field set me apart from other candidates, Rider has also played a major role from a social aspect. Students and teachers alike told me personally that they voted for me in the Fiji Water contest, which made me feel really supported by our whole campus community.”

Since her updated résumé has been posted on the Internet, Mende has been receiving nonstop phone calls from other top companies wanting to set up interviews. Mende has already met with a representative of Michael Kors Fashion Design for a possible summer internship, while DeBeers Jewelers and L’Occitane cosmetics have contacted her as well. In addition, after just two days at Fashion Week, Mende was approached by IMG – Fashion Week’s primary event-planning agency. The world-renowned modeling agency is interested in her experience and has scheduled an interview for later this month.

 “Once you land that one internship, so many doors open up. This Fiji Water internship was such an amazing opportunity and it only pushes me more to find that next great opportunity,” Mende said. “You can never have enough experience, so you have to stay motivated in hopes of landing that one internship that puts you on the map, and paves the way for your dream career.”