2024 boot camp attendees at the Nasher Museum post speed interviews. Photo by Brett Chambers.

NCCU students get a chance at a summer internship with Duke University

March 12, 2024

For the 17th year, the Charmaine McKissick-Melton Communications Fellowship made its return to N.C. Central University.

The name of the fellowship comes from Charmaine McKissick-Melton, former NCCU professor who retired in 2022. The experience was renamed after her in 2021, however McKissick-Melton founded this internship with Duke and 2023 marked the 16th year of its occurrence. McKissick-Melton, considered a daughter of Durham, was born to Floyd McKissick Sr. who was a civil rights lawyer with connections to many known civil rights leaders. 

The Fellowship begins as a bootcamp experience for students, giving them the chance to build up confidence in their ability to interview in front of industry professionals in different subsections of the field. This time period also prepares students for the work ahead of them if chosen for one of the internships. 

For mass communication students that are interested in a summer internship, this gives them the opportunity to gain valuable real world experience. This year, this was the schedule for the process.

From January to March, the students met with Brett Chambers, Co-Coordinator and Professor at NCCU, on Thursdays at 10:40 in the morning for preparation. 

January 25th was registration and orientation, students got information on the opportunity and signed up officially. 

February 1st, more details were provided on the internship opportunities.

February 8th was the social media and budget review where the details of the hourly pay and stipends are talked about.

February 15th, students were given a better understanding of the job descriptions. Each year it varies but for 2024, 11 job sites were a part of the fellowship each with something different to offer.

February 22nd, preparation for the interview occurred, students came to the 10:40 meeting in their best dress, ready to deliver their elevator pitch for critique. 

February 28th was when the speed interviews were done at the Nasher Museum of Duke. 

The speed interviews began as a “selling yourself” opportunity, the students one by one stood in front of the auditorium full of job site representatives and delivered their elevator pitch. Each student then sat down with their 3 interviewers one by one and participated in a timed interview where they were asked questions along the lines of what they can offer the team at the site they are speaking with. 

“It was like having a casual conversation with a fellow co-worker.” said Jalynn Woods, a mass communications junior who participated in the experience. “It felt like they really wanted to know about you, your skills, and interests.”

Over the 10 week internship in the summer, students will participate in weekly lunch and learn sessions where they get together with the other students chosen for each internship and are immersed into even more aspects of the field of communications. More industry professionals, some from the other sites and others not even a part of the fellowship, join in with intent to share their knowledge to the students. 

In the end, students walk away with work examples for their portfolio, the experience to put on their resume, pay, and the connections they built over the time taking full advantage of the opportunity. 

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2024 boot camp attendees at the Nasher Museum post speed interviews. Photo by Brett Chambers.
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2024 boot camp attendees at the Nasher Museum post speed interviews. Photo by Brett Chambers.
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