My name is Maddie Cortez and I am a Texas born-and-raised, incoming senior at the University of Texas at San Antonio. About a 40-minute drive from central San Antonio is my hometown, Floresville, Texas. I’ll visit my small town to enjoy the company of my two brothers and parents, who are the most supportive and important people I know. When I want to unwind, you can typically find me lost in a book, playing volleyball, spending quality time with my friends and family, or submerging myself in music.
Discovering my educational path has been an interesting quest, but as a communication major, I can confidently say I’m right where I belong. My first two years of college were spent as an architecture major where I was forced to learn highly hands-on material at home due to COVID-19. During this time, I had moments to analyze my long-term goals and this ultimately helped me realize that I wanted to pivot into a different career path. I knew I occupied strong suits that tied with communications and wanted to optimize them. The idea of declaring a major that entails an array of career directions enticed me. I’ve now completed one year of studying communications and I feel overly fulfilled in my decision!
Being confident in my studies has allowed me to take on an extracurricular such as writing in the sports section for the UTSA newsletter, The Paisano. I possess great pride as I get to brag about my UTSA Roadrunners and cheer them on each publication. Writing for our athletes has sparked my desire to one day create digital and written content for a renowned sports team.
Students + Startups
As I entered my junior year, I knew I was ready for professional job experience. I kept my eyes and ears open for an opportunity that would grant me new perspectives. A friend I met in one of my communication courses mentioned a program named Students + Startups, which pairs college students with San Antonio start-up companies. Being accepted into this highly competitive internship program allowed me to initiate my first steps into a professional experience. With over 100 vetted students from around the nation and only 55 companies, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t intimidated by the competition that surrounded me. Nevertheless, I was drawn to the challenge.
In a matter of minutes, this anticipated challenge fell to an exhilarating juncture. I discovered a new elemental moment for myself and enjoyed each conversation throughout the network and interview experience. In the process, I connected with Brenda Constantin and Dora Ndesandjo from 3Sixty Integrated, a security integrations company. The unique flow of our conversation included topics such as their familial company culture and how versatile their company allows them to be – this drew me in instantly. However, what piqued my interest was their genuine interest in who I was and who I want to be. It only took a few conversations to know I wanted to join their team for the summer and indulge in what they had to offer.
My Internship Experience at 3Sixty Integrated
This was my first internship experience and marketing was the angle. I was entering uncharted waters, and the security industry was especially new to me. As I impatiently awaited my first day on the job, I had a list full of questions of what was to come. Because I was a new communication major, I had yet to take any marketing courses for my degree. I was grateful when Brenda started my first day with a quick Marketing 101 lesson, which offered insight into the overlap and differences between communications and marketing. During her teachings, I developed my personal ‘3Sixty Integrated Dictionary’ filled with business terms and jargon. I was particularly grateful for learning their culture and industry jargon, as Brenda made sure not to overlook that aspect. We both agreed that learning the roots of an organization allows people to sprout into successful individuals, thus leading to a successful business.
My time with 3Sixty Integrated enhanced my professional and personal development to a high capacity. On a personal level, I have redefined discipline and determination entirely. Moving forward, I know my work ethic will grow to be more stellar than before. Working with my team allowed me to kindle new potentials for myself that will assist my future endeavors.
On a professional level, I was introduced to the bullet journal method, which both Dora and Brenda practice daily. This approach has honed my organizational and communication skills and has enabled me to be more clear-headed. I will undoubtedly carry this practice into my schooling and personal life. Secondly, I’ve learned the tedious development of event marketing strategies. 3Sixty Integrated produces extraordinary events where no detail is superior to the other. Furthermore, I’ve grasped an understanding of how to successfully maintain relationships with key stakeholders within the clientele. I feel honored to work with a company that provides the willingness and solicitude needed to maintain great business relationships. I also learned to communicate more effectively, create matrices for event and meeting planning, and learned to enhance my interpersonal skills. Above all, it has been an honor to work alongside a team that obtains the ability to cater outstanding results and execute one thousand-step projects flawlessly.
As I approach my fall semester in a matter of weeks, I will continue to apply myself in my communication studies and write more articles for The Paisano! I feel eager for the incoming school year as I have awakened a new, motivated mindset from the ample methods and skills from my time with 3Sixty Integrated. I cannot begin to express my gratitude to Students + Startups and 3Sixty Integrated for launching an unforgettable first internship. Most especially, I’d like to thank Brenda and Dora for being exceptional women-in-business role models during this journey.
For anyone interested in a unique internship opportunity, I would highly recommend applying to the San Antonio-based, Students + Startups program or reaching out directly to apply with 3Sixty Integrated. If you are interested in an internship with 3Sixty Integrated or want to know more about my experience as a marketing intern, I encourage you to connect with me on LinkedIn or email me at email@example.com with any questions.