The Advancing San Diego (ASD) Internship Program launched in Summer 2020 in a remote-capacity amid the COVID-19 pandemic and aims to provide up to 100 San Diego-based companies with fully subsidized interns. This program targets companies with 100 employees or less, which comprise 98 percent of all businesses in San Diego, employ nearly two thirds of San Diegans, and account for 70 percent of job growth. A key issue for these companies has been a lack of time and resources to recruit the skilled talent necessary to continue their growth.
As students are closing out their Spring business internship experiences, EDC is rolling out this blog series to highlight the innovative local companies that comprise the third cohort of the program, and the interns they hosted. To date, ASD has placed 93 student-interns in local businesses, with $455,000 in total wages and support services paid.
In this feature, we sat down with Dominique Hernandez, intern at San Diego Loyal. As part of the third cohort of host companies, San Diego Loyal is a professional soccer club currently competing in the United Soccer League (USL) Championship. Hernandez is a rising senior at CSU San Marcos where she is studying business management.
Read on for more from Dominque.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Dominque Hernandez and I am originally from Ventura County, California. I am currently attending CSU San Marcos where I am a captain of the women’s basketball team. As an academically-awarded student athlete for an NCAA DII Women’s Basketball Team, I was interested in a position working in the local sports industry. Thanks to ASD’s Internship Program, I was able to join San Diego Loyal as an operations management intern.
How has your experience in the Advancing San Diego Internship Program been, and what projects/assignments have been the most meaningful?
My experience in the ASD Internship Program has been amazing. It has allowed me to work with very knowledgeable and supportive individuals who are so driven in the work they do. This hands-on experience has been so important as I begin to navigate my career path. The most meaningful assignment thus far was being an Ambassador Manager. Here, I was responsible for 40+ individuals as we strived to create an optimal customer experience. Our 619 game consisted of 20 individuals from the SD Loyal Ambassador Program and 20 Sports-Management students from the University of Iowa. This experience highlighted the future impact I could have by helping individuals and creating the best work-environment, while also striving to be successful in the task as a customer-experience based team.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your day-to-day, and what challenges have you faced as a student?
One of the biggest challenges I faced was the struggle of simultaneously balancing responsibilities from different aspects of my life. Because I was studying from home, I was asked to assist my family, all while taking 18 units and completing basketball workouts. My love for my family and desire to succeed encouraged me to take on all these responsibilities, but I soon realized that the biggest challenge was delegating tasks. Once I figured this out, things became less stressful, and I learned more about my ability to balance responsibilities in the different realms of my life. Because of this experience, I am now able to manage various tasks in my life while enjoying each experience.
What advice would you give to high school students looking for a successful career in the local software industry?
Connections are incredibly important to have. As my mom has been telling me for years, it is not what you know, it is who you know. While it is important to be a driven and hard worker, it is equally if not more important to have personal connections. I believe it is important to start those connections as early as possible, and when you do connect, leave a positive first impression. Start building your LinkedIn profile now, and connect with professionals whose roles you can see yourself in.
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