Who would have thought my love for riding Caltrain would turn into an internship? One day, I was headed to San Francisco from San Jose and like most riders I had my head down and headphones on while scrolling through social media. I had followed Caltrain on Twitter, since I became a regular commuter and it just so happens there was a tweet about Caltrain looking for interns for the summer. I thought since I love Caltrain and their plans for modernizing their operations, I should apply. I wasn’t thinking too much about it, because when I got a call for an interview a month later I was surprised. Next thing you know, I’m starting my first day as a Communications Intern for the San Mateo County Transit District, which is the administrative body for Caltrain commuter rail, SamTrans bus service and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority.
My experience at SamTrans and Caltrain has been a very educating, eye-opening, and fulfilling three months. I was born and raised in San Jose, so I grew up with the tech sector in mind and never realized I could be in the public sector until now.
SamTrans is truly a unique place where you meet team members who are striving to build a better transportation system for the people they serve in one of the nation’s busiest corridors. This internship has given me an opportunity to work in a large department which includes Public Affairs, and Government and Community affairs. I learned how to adapt to a brand’s writing style to represent their work, help bring ideas to life, as well as work on a variety of projects. Some projects that I worked on were writing for the Peninsula Moves blog where I shared local events that passengers can get to by taking public transit around the Bay Area. I helped with some logistics for the Electrification Groundbreaking when Caltrain got funding for their Electrification project, I attended community events for public outreach, as well as contributing to Caltrain’s social media outlets to share some behind the scenes to our audiences on Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter.
With a small intern class, we got to work hands-on and closely with our supervisors on projects. I had great supervisors who collectively were supportive, encouraging, and fun during my internship. Each one of them brought so much to the table and shared a lot of wisdom and knowledge with me. Having supervisors who helped me along the way and made sure I was getting the most out of this experience really reflects how well they understand how invaluable an internship is. Most of my assignments I was tasked to do are transferable to future careers, in the classroom, and in leadership roles. I am so grateful that I took a chance in spending my summer in San Carlos at the San Mateo County Transit District headquarters. I’ve learned so much, made great connections, and saw a sector I never knew was so valuable to the public. I know I can put a lot of what I learned here towards my future and as a Communications student. I’m extremely excited to see the future of SamTrans and Caltrain as they move forward with their modernization projects knowing that I contributed in some kind of way during this historical time for the Bay Area. That is something special to be a part of and no one else can say the same.