Summer is a popular time for students in the School of Human Environmental Sciences to complete their internships.  This series will spotlight student interns.

 Kate Gaston, Merchandising, Apparel & TextilesStudent: Kate Gaston, Merchandising, Apparel & Textiles

Internship Location:  Nordstrom, Streets at Southpoint, Durham, NC

What is your typical day as an intern?  Every Monday all of the interns had a class together.  One example would be having guest speakers, who were all Nordstrom employees in different positions, and teaching us about the company.  The rest of the week we worked normal shifts that were always at the same time our managers would be there, so we could shadow them at the beginning.  There were 13 interns in our store, each in a different department.  During normal shifts we were typical sales people, except we spent a lot of additional time with the managers, learning how they perform their jobs. 

What is one of the things you learned as a student that you use often as an intern?  At Nordstrom, each department manager has a pretty free range of how they want to merchandise their department.  This is something I really enjoyed getting to be a part of.  I believe that what I learned in our visual aesthetics class helped me with some of the creative process.  I am used to a company telling me how they expect the floor to look, and following a very specific guideline.  It was a nice change to use some of what I have learned and apply it to our department at Nordstrom. 

What is one piece of advice you would give to students preparing for their internship? I would suggest that you start looking for internships early.  I did a phone interview in December and flew there the first week of January.  Also, be open to whatever assignments they want to offer you.  I was assigned to work in a men's department and have never worked in men's clothes before.  However it was a great experience and I learned more than I could have imagined. 

Additional Comments: Nordstrom is an excellent place to work.  When I am done with school I will be returning to Nordstrom and can't wait to see what the future holds for me there.  They take great care of their employees and within a week of being there, they had made me want to make a career out of Nordstrom.  I would be happy to talk to anyone who is interested in working at Nordstrom!