Nest Network, an initiative run by students from the JHU American Marketing Association (JHU AMA), is working with Hopkins and community partners to match students with internships for the summer. Nest Strategies, the marketing branch of JHU AMA, created Nest Network to address the growing concern over the cancellation of students’ summer internships due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Katerina Misa, a rising senior and president of Nest Strategies, and Professor Leslie Kendrick, JHU AMA’s faculty supervisor, elaborated on the mission of Nest Network in an email to The News-Letter.
“The Coronavirus pandemic has hurt local businesses and has caused internship programs to be canceled, so Nest Network works to address both of these problems by matching qualified JHU students with local firms to perform a summer internship in return for academic credit,” they wrote.
Nest Strategies Vice President of Consulting Natalie Farrell came up with the idea for this program to help both Hopkins students and the Baltimore community.
“It’s a two-sided mission. We want to help Hopkins students get internships because it is such a hard time to find those opportunities now,” Farrell said. “The other side of it is helping Baltimore businesses out.”
Elizabeth Goldstone, who serves as Nest Strategies vice president of mentorship, noted in an interview with The News-Letter that the economic conditions brought on by the pandemic make the program even more crucial.
“We want the program to be mutually beneficial for the businesses being hard-hit because of the economy right now and for the students who otherwise would just be sitting at home instead of gaining a valuable experience outside the classroom,” she said.
According to Goldstone, this initiative economically benefits the businesses because the interns will be unpaid. However, because Nest Network has been sponsored by the Center for Leadership Education, students who participate in the internships will be eligible for academic credit.
Misa and Kendrick added that Nest Network wants to service students of all fields and academic backgrounds.
“We wanted to provide a breadth of positions that would be beneficial for a variety of majors and career field interests considering COVID-19 has impacted all industries in some way,” Misa wrote. “From data analytics, to market strategy, to website design and development, we hope that almost any Hopkins student can find useful experience with Nest Network.”
According to Farrell, the organizations offering internships range from mask-manufacturing startups to HomeSlyce Pizza Bar to Sharp Dressed Man, a Baltimore organization that rents shoes to men experiencing homelessness when they have job interviews.
In order to find businesses, Goldstone said, Nest Network first reached out to businesses that were already connected to Nest Strategies.
“During the year, Nest Strategies runs marketing portfolios for some local Baltimore businesses,” she said. “We reached out to our connections there first to gauge interest, and every single one of them said ‘Yes, we would love to take an unpaid intern, even if it's remote.’”
Given the popularity of the idea, the team then reached out to other Baltimore businesses via email, many of which welcomed the idea of taking on an unpaid, remote summer intern.
Kendrick and Misa outlined the intern application process in their email. Once a student fills out their application, it is reviewed by the Executive Board of Nest Strategies. Then, the executives hold virtual interviews with the applicants before the applicants are ultimately matched with their organization, a process which will be completed before June 1.
Goldstone stated that once Nest Network has matched interns to internships, they give the intern’s information to the business they have matched the student with.
“The last step is that the employers do a phone screen, which is more of a formality, to make sure that it is in fact a good fit,” she said.
Farrell noted that Nest Network anticipates having 100 applications for 80 positions. Kendrick highlights that both JHU AMA members and non-members are eligible to apply for the internships.
“Everyone's willingness and excitement to help with this initiative has been incredible to see and has exemplified our executive board's drive to give back to the Baltimore community while providing JHU students professional experience,” Misa wrote. “I am eager to see how Nest Network develops and grows this summer as well as in years to come."