Student Spotlight: Sydney Oates '16

Sydney OatsCompany: Turkey Hill Dairy

Position: Market Research Intern

How did you get your internship?

“I had seen the position on the [Career Development Center’s] website first, and [then] the Career Fair is actually where I met the man from HR [and] chatted with him. Then I applied and interviewed out in Lancaster where the position was [located].

“The Food Marketing Department helped me out a lot too…Through the whole process of getting internships the past three years, and now looking for a full time job, they always [help you] edit your resumes, [ they] look at everything for you, [and] for interviews they always help you through [the whole process]. [It’s] really nice to have that.”

What did a normal day look like?

“Really there was no normal day…I worked very closely with another Saint Joe’s student, so the two of us were together 40 hours a week, never apart. If we were apart it was very weird. Around the office, if someone saw one of us and not the other they’d be like ‘oh what’s going on?’

“So somedays we [would be] in the office…compiling surveys, sitting in on meetings with project managers, sitting in R&D meetings to taste test the flavors, analyzing all the data that had come back, coming up with reports and PowerPoints [to] present to leadership. But more normally we were at The Turkey Hill Experience which is an interactive ice cream museum. There we would have people who came in take surveys, [so] we’d give them usually three samples of gelato and they’d complete the survey. This summer we ended up scooping over 5,000 scoops of gelato. We also did [some] testing on sweet tea and lemonade as well, but most of it was spent doing ice cream.

“We [also] had the chance to sit in on focus groups and in-home interviews through the internship. So we went to Baltimore [one day] to sit in on focus groups for novelties – like popsicles, ice cream bars, and stuff like that. We [would] sit behind a one way mirror so we could see everything that was going on [and] we’d see what people had to say, which was interesting. We also traveled back to Philadelphia (we were living out in Conestoga) and sat through focus groups about new package designs for drinks. It was cool to have a travel day and be out of the office and stuff.”

What did you find challenging about your internship?

“I think just [that] every day was very different. There was never a [day when we would] come in at 8 AM, sit at [our] desks, and leave at 5 PM. [Instead], there were days we’d come in early, scoop ice cream [all day], [and] be done by 3 PM. Or [some days] we would come in a little later. So it was tough because there was never a regular day.

“I guess working with people [was difficult] too. A lot of [the internship] was customer service, and it was just me and the [other intern] there. So we [would] always get people who [would] say mean things to us or who were just kind of crazy.”

What is some advice you’d give to students looking for internships?

“I would definitely recommend looking for an internship [that is in the field that] you want to go into. With Food Marketing, a lot of positions are [either in] sales or [are] very generic, but I knew I really wanted to go into market research, so having a marketing research internship on my resume is really going to help me get my foot in the door. Just having that distinction from people who just did sales is a great thing to have.”