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In today’s blog post, Indiana INTERNnet intern Kayla Walke interviews Salvador Espinoza. Salvador was the winner of the 2016 High School Intern of the Year IMPACT Award, and has been nominated for College Intern of the Year multiple times.

Indiana INTERNnet: What are some of the best lessons you learned while interning?

Salvador Espinoza: I think the best lesson I ever learned was to never underestimate the power of an internship. I was 16 years old when I got into my first internship and it was for a manufacturing company. That already doesn’t sound appealing to most teens trying to make a quick buck over the summer, but it sounded like a great opportunity and it ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I was an intern for the same company for 6 years and learned so many things. I learned about marketing, human resources, what goes on in a manufacturing company, and many more, and had I not considered this when I was 16, I would have missed out on such a great experience. So, the best lesson I ever learned was to never underestimate an internship

IIN: What advice do you have for current interns?

SE: My advice would be to learn as much as you can and ask plenty of questions. Most internships last a few months and I would advise that during that time, don’t just work on your projects and do your job but try to go out and learn more. Learn more about the company, learn more about your co-workers or your field. Make connections and possibly have someone be your mentor. This is a time where you, the student, can see what it’s like to do a job you’re interested in and it’s also a time to see if you like the direction you’re going for your career so be sure to ask plenty of questions and learn as much as you can.

IIN: Why do you think internships are important?

SE: I think they’re so important because internships give us the opportunity to see what our careers may look like. It gives us an idea of what the real world looks like if we continue in our field and it allows us to see if this is a road we want to keep going in or possibly learn about other fields. I believe it’s a sample of what life can be like after we graduate from college so we must take advantage of it.

IIN: How did winning an IMPACT Award impact your life?

SE: It was such an amazing experience and a true honor. As I said before, I could have never imagined as a 16-year-old teen that all this would happen because I took this opportunity. It was a very humbling experience and it was great seeing how many other students worked hard in their internships as well. It made me feel like I was a part of something bigger and I’m so grateful to have been a part of it. I think it’s so awesome that Indiana INTERNnet takes the time to value interns!

IIN: What are your future plans/goals?

SE: Life has treated me so kindly over the years and I couldn’t be anymore blessed! Having learned so much from my internship experiences, graduating from college, getting married and starting a family, a big plan for me is to be the best version of myself I can be and to let others know that getting involved with an internship early on can be one of the best decisions you can ever make!

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