Interning at the LGBTQ+ Center
Hello! My name is Serena Gestring, a Emerging Media and Technology major, and I minor in both Web Design and Development, and User Experience Design. I plan to graduate in spring of 2025, and go into a web development career.
I chose to come to Kent State because it was essentially my perfect university for a number of reasons, but one of the main ones was my internship experience at the Kent State LGBTQ+ Center!
I attended Bio-Med Science Academy for high school, and Bio-Med requires their senior students to complete an internship during their last year. Past Bio-Med students had interned at the LGBTQ+ Center, and that idea really interested me, so I reached out to the director of the Center, Ken Ditlevson, and we scheduled an interview.
My first time walking into the LGBTQ+ Center for my interview was memorable.
I was charmed by the comfortable and relaxed atmosphere, and everyone I met was very welcoming and friendly. I was offered the internship, which I accepted, and the LGBTQ+ Center would be my home for the next three years.
I interned at the center for my entire senior year of high school. During that time, I assisted other interns in developing a few events and programs, such as the LGBTQ+ Walking Groups, an LGBTQ+ History Month Roundtable Discussion, and the center’s annual Rainbow Run fundraiser. All of these programs were incredibly fun to help with, and I enjoyed working with and getting to know the other student interns.
The only downside I saw to my internship (at the time) was that it did not really relate to my career of interest, which my high school encouraged us to find in our internships. However, I was actually wrong about that. The LGBTQ+ Center has a website like every Kent State department, and I was fortunate to receive training on the content management system Kent State uses so that I could become a website editor. I was ecstatic.
I was getting real work experience in my future career as a high school senior.
Kent State was a perfect school for me because it had the exact major I need to go into the career I want, I am able to commute from home, and it is affordable for me and my family. However, on top of all of that, interning at the LGBTQ+ Center showed me a snapshot of campus life over an entire year that most prospective students do not get from one single tour of campus.
I made connections with students and staff across different departments, and I became more familiar with the layout of campus and where specific buildings are, all of which helped me to feel comfortable and confident going into college as a first-year student. It also showed me that Kent State University truly cares about its LGBTQ-identifying students, staff, faculty and community, and that efforts are being made to ensure Kent State creates a welcoming and supportive environment and culture for all students.
This is very important to me and I felt Kent State would become my home – it definitely has.
I have now completed my first two years as an undergrad, and I continued interning at the LGBTQ+ Center during those two years. I received the title of Website Coordinator, which I am proud to put on my resume, and I have gained valuable work experience in a professional environment that you do not get in a classroom setting. I plan on continuing to intern at the center for my remaining two years as long as my class schedule allows.
If you are an LGBTQ+ or ally student and are looking for a welcoming, supportive, and relaxed space to study or hang out, please consider visiting our LGBTQ+ Center! Internship opportunities are also available as a job or for class credit to all students of any major or minor. You can reach out to the LGBTQ+ Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My internship at the Kent State LGBTQ+ Center has made an incredible impression in my life that has changed me as a student, professional and person for the better. Choosing to work here is one of the best decisions I have ever made.