August 2022 Student Spotlight
MPA candidate, Nara Sandberg, who is passionate about public health and sustainability tells us about her summer internship at Johnson & Johnson and more in this month’s student spotlight.
Congrats! You had three offers for summer internships to choose from. You have started an internship in June with Johnson & Johnson as Communications Graduate Intern on their Global Public Health team. What made you decide to intern for this company and how has your experience been there thus far?
Thank you! It’s been a great experience so far. One of the threads throughout my professional experience has been the power of communications so I was very excited about the opportunity to apply this experience to join a company like J&J that is guided by a Credo-based culture, and dedicated to using its resources to put the needs and well-being of people first. On a more personal note, I am very passionate about public health and sustainability, so it’s been exciting and personally fulfilling to become involved in J&J’s Global Public Health (GPH) work around dengue, which is at the forefront of the intersection of public health and climate. In my role on the GPH team, I am focusing primarily on two project areas: a dengue communications strategy framework and revising and making recommendations for the overall GPH narrative. I am also working with the Global Corporate Affairs summer intern cohort on a Capstone Project that supports J&J’s Our Race to Health Equity (ORTHE) commitment and bolsters the public relations, social media, and strategic communications efforts for a partnership with the National Medical Fellowships program. I will be presenting strategic recommendations with the cohort to the GCA senior leadership team. Overall, it has been a really great experience so far, and instrumental in helping to shape my career moving forward, and I am grateful for the opportunity.
What has your Marxe School experience been like thus far? Tell us about your MPA experience.
I considered going back to school to get a graduate degree for years before I finally took the plunge. I actually attended an open house at Marxe back in 2017, but the pandemic was the push I needed to finally go back to school. I figured that I would use the time productively to sharpen my skills and jumpstart my career.
My experience so far has been great. Starting remotely had its challenges, but I was excited to finally be on campus in person this past semester. I’ve enjoyed getting to meet classmates and professors in person. Engaging in in-person conversations has been helpful to build relationships and allowed me to learn more from my classmates and their experiences. I feel like the program has helped me grow a lot personally and professionally and expand upon my skillset. I’m looking forward to doing my capstone and graduating this coming fall.
Could you tell us about your internship at the national office of the ACLU in the Affiliate Support & Nationwide Initiatives (ASNI) Department?
In my role at the national office of the ACLU, I worked on several projects, including creating PowerPoint decks, trainings and presentations synthesizing data focused on optimizing board recruitment, training and effectiveness for the 54 affiliates across the country. I also re-envisioned and created a new style for ASNI branding, which I incorporated into department materials. It was exciting to work at such an influential organization doing important, timely work to defend and preserve civil rights and liberties, particularly at this time.
You worked for The Monday Campaigns for almost five years. Could you tell us a bit more about the company and what projects you worked on during your time there?
The Monday Campaigns is a nonprofit public health initiative that promotes sustainable behavior change by dedicating every Monday to health. The Monday Campaigns is founded based on research showing that people are most receptive to health messages on a Monday. This applies to all different types of health behaviors, and research shows that people are searching for health-related terms on Google on a Monday more than any other day of the week – whether this is to join a gym, make a doctor’s appointment, quit smoking and more. This even applies across different languages. People are most open to “buy health” on a Monday.
In my role there, I was responsible for identifying and bringing in new target partner organizations and generating earned media. In my last few years, I focused specifically on our food programs, including Meatless Monday. I developed and executed marketing campaigns with partner organizations, secured media coverage and contributed articles to a variety of target local, national and trade media outlets. During my time there, I got involved in the New York chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA-NY) and won the NY chapter’s 15 Under 35 award in 2018.