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SPAA Internship Spotlight: Aliyah Saleem – Johnson & Johnson (Janssen Pharmaceuticals)

Name: Aliyah Saleem
SPAA Degree Program: Bachelor of Arts
Major: Public and Nonprofit Administration
Graduation Date: May 2024
Name of Organization: Johnson & Johnson (Janssen Pharmaceuticals)
Location: Titusville, NJ
Title: Community Impact Intern

Summary of Responsibilities:
As an intern at Janssen Community Impact, my main responsibility was to support the planning and execution of employee engagement activities for over 5,000 Janssen colleagues throughout the U.S. A significant part of my role involved contributing to the coordination of "Janssen Cares Volunteer Days," a prominent month of service during which numerous employees across the country give back to their local communities.

Favorite Aspect of Internship:
I had the fantastic opportunity to co-plan an enriching visit for 30 middle school students from the Trenton, NJ area. I facilitated activities to expose them to the world of STEM fields and the business environment. The students participated in an exciting elephant toothpaste experiment, designed a clinical trial, and embarked on a sustainability tour. During the tour, they learned about the J&J farm and solar panels and listened to inspiring stories from J&J employees about their career journeys.

Career Goals:
I find myself in a state of exploration, open to various possibilities, but one path that strongly captivates me is a career in public affairs/communications within the private sector. My enthusiasm for creating a positive social impact drives me, and I am determined to channel this passion throughout my professional journey to make a meaningful difference in the world.

How did the service-learning course help you navigate your internship responsibilities?
By linking academic knowledge with meaningful community service, the course provided me with valuable insights and skills to excel in my role. Through the course, I learned to actively make connections, think critically, solve problems, and make informed decisions. The Service-Learning Course played a pivotal role in helping me navigate my internship responsibilities. Ultimately, the Service-Learning Course not only provided me with the practical skills needed to fulfill my internship responsibilities but it also reinforced my determination to pursue a career in public affairs/communications within the private sector. I am motivated to continue creating a positive social impact and believe that my learnings from the course will be instrumental in my professional journey to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others and contribute to the betterment of society.

What kind of skills did you learn during this internship?
During this internship at Janssen Community Impact, I acquired a diverse range of skills that has significantly contributed to my professional growth. On the hard skills front, I honed my project management abilities by proficiently planning and executing employee engagement activities. My research skills were enhanced through conducting in-depth research on best practices for employee engagement and volunteerism, which allowed me to optimize the impact of Volunteer Days. Additionally, I developed proficiency in various technologies, including Excel, SharePoint, and Microsoft Forms, which proved invaluable in promoting volunteerism and managing event logistics. On the soft skills front, my communication skills were put to the test as I acted as the main point of contact for Janssen employees with volunteer inquiries, requiring effective communication and coordination. My leadership abilities were demonstrated through co-planning an enriching visit for middle school students, where I guided and inspired them during various activities related to STEM and the business environment. Moreover, I showcased adaptability by managing multiple logistical elements for volunteer events, effectively handling changing circumstances with ease and resourcefulness. These invaluable skills have not only enriched my internship experience but have also prepared me for a successful and impactful future in the public affairs/communications realm within the private sector.

Has your mentoring part of the internship been helpful in navigating your career goals?
The mentoring part of my internship has been invaluable in navigating my career goals. Through the guidance and support of my mentors, I have gained a deeper understanding of the various opportunities available in my field of interest and how to strategically approach finding and seizing these opportunities. Most importantly, they have taught me the value of keeping an open mind, allowing me to explore different paths and discover new possibilities that align with my passions and aspirations. Their mentorship has been instrumental in shaping my career trajectory and empowering me to make informed and purposeful decisions along my journey.