This week in the Fortinet Intern Spotlight Series, we introduce Oscar Cartagena. In 2021, Cartagena served as a communications intern. In 2022, he held the role of Communications Assistant, an elevated position for interns returning for a second season.
Can you tell me a little about your background?
My parents are from Medellín, Columbia, but I was born and raised in Miami, Florida. I lived there until about the age of 10, after which I spent my middle school and high school years overseas. I played soccer most of my life, and I knew I wanted to play collegiately once I got to the high school level. I also found a love for communications, and fortunately, I was recruited by Penn State Harrisburg where I could do both. I played soccer there and got both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in communications. Throughout college, I knew I wanted to be in the media creative industry and combine my passions for athletics and communications. I knew that route was possible through an internship with the Sports Information Office and thankfully with the AJGA.
How did you find out about the AJGA?
During COVID-19 and my senior year of undergraduate, I decided to look for opportunities for potential internships. I was scrolling through LinkedIn, and I saw the AJGA internship and went to find out more. I didn’t know much about golf, but it had exactly what I wanted to pursue in a communications internship. To be able to travel, see new things and gain experience in content creation was a great opportunity. I owe it all to LinkedIn.
What was your internship experience like?
I was a little intimidated at first because I didn't have golf experience. The AJGA has the proper training for an individual to learn more about golf. The environment is fast-paced, but not fast in the sense that you can’t learn. Having intern teammates who knew about golf helped as well. When it came to content creation, it was pretty exciting. You’re trying to capture the environment and what’s around it, and golf is an environment-orientated sport, so that helped a ton. I got to grow professionally and personally, seeing a lot of the country and meeting people from so many backgrounds. If I could go back, I would do it all over again.
What skills do you think you improved during the internship?
From a professional standpoint, the AJGA provided the necessary resources for you to be creative with your communications responsibilities. This allowed me to grow my skills in content for social media strategies at certain events. Public speaking was another one as, you had to be able to talk to certain stakeholders professionally, whether that be a junior, sponsor or others. Being able to create engaging content and interact with those stakeholders allowed me to grow creatively. Personally, there was a lot of growth, as you are working with a group of people you’ve never met and traveling with them, which puts you outside your comfort zone. You have to learn how to adapt quickly to traveling from place to place, so it forces you to grow up as a young adult and expand yourself.
What do you do now?
After graduating with my master’s at Penn State Harrisburg, my professor referred me to a job within the marketing communications department. Thankfully, I applied and got the position, so I’m now working as a Digital Content Creator within the Office of Marketing Communications. A lot of my job consists of marketing for the institution; however, I do a lot of work that involves the athletic department as well. Primarily, I help create content for the men’s soccer team, so definitely keeps my passion alive, working within sports while also fulfilling my areas of being creative.
What do you think you use at your job now that you picked up at the AJGA?
I think a lot of the social media strategies that the AJGA taught us as communications interns are incorporated into what I do here within my job. How we interacted and got content covering junior golfers translated easily into how I interact with college students and student-athletes now. The ability to get those students engaged and excited to do creative and fun content, rather than making it feel like another responsibility for them. Being able to communicate effectively with stakeholders or those in higher supervisory roles were transferable skills that I still use them today.
What’s the next step in your career?
I hit my one-year mark with the university at the end of October as a Digital Content Creator. I’m currently studying and pursuing my drone remote commercial license because I want to expand myself as a digital content creator. As far as long-term goals, I hope to be a communications director either in higher education or athletics, but I’m really happy with where I’m at now. I couldn’t be here without the AJGA. I’m grateful for the opportunity that they provided.
What would you tell someone who’s looking to apply to the AJGA Internship?
I would say, just do it - apply as soon as you can! The reason why is because not only will you grow professionally, but personally. It’s a unique experience that not many companies or organizations can provide. You’ll get to see the United States and work with people from many backgrounds. You’ll have access to amazing technology and resources to grow. The culture is phenomenal, and everybody is there to help you. There are so many values in the company that fit in with Gen Z, and I just can’t recommend it enough because the growth is massive.
If you're driven to be part of this dynamic community, applications for the 2024 AJGA Internships are open. For more insights into the #AJGAInternship, explore the AJGA Careers
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