My Huntsville City Hall internship experience

single-meta-cal March 6, 2018

Updated: March 6, 2018

The City of Huntsville has opened applications for its 2018 internship class. Apply here.

It’s a pretty well-known fact that every college student’s dream is to spend summer time working for free with a local city government … right?

This summer, the City of Huntsville wrangled in seven summer interns willing to become temporary public servants, eagerly abandoning the pool and binge-watching Netflix in hopes of gaining useful career experience and networking with some of Huntsville’s brightest.

“We benefit from having access to some of the best talent on our college campuses,” said Harrison Diamond, Business Relations Officer for the City of Huntsville, who along with Senior Human Resource Analyst Tenya Green works closely with the intern program.  “It helps us having young, fresh eyes take a look at what we’re doing. You name it and interns are working on it.”

So, without further ado, meet the city interns for Summer 2017:

Emily Thomason – Communication/Video Services Intern

Sage Lyons – Business Relations Intern

Madison Kilpatrick – Communication Intern

Clay Martinson – Business Relations Intern

Bella Tylicki – Communication Intern

Daniel Yurcaba – City Planning Intern

Kassady Douglas – Geographic Information Services (GIS) Intern


What was your typical day on the job?

Emily Thomason – I would come in, check the news and my calendar and then usually edit a few episodes of Kenny Anderson’s (“Impact” on ETV) or Brenda Martin’s (“Inside Huntsville”) shows. Sometimes we would have footage to go shoot like an interview.

Sage Lyons – I shadowed Mayor Battle and Harrison Diamond around through different meetings, groundbreakings and ribbon cuttings. Pretty much anything they would go to.

Madison Kilpatrick – I would come in and check the news, my email and my calendar. Then I would sit in on that morning’s daily meeting with department heads and other managers. That was basically the only thing “routine” about my days. Otherwise, I was constantly bouncing between assignments, meetings, news conferences and all sorts of other stuff.

Clay Martinson – My typical day was shadowing Mayor Battle and Harrison. I got to sit in on a lot of meetings with the Chamber of Commerce, along with different businesses. I also got the opportunity to familiarize myself with lots of different data bases.

Bella Tylicki – My typical day was conquering whatever tasks (Communication Director) Kelly Schrimsher and (Digitia Media Specialist) Jessica Carlton threw at me. Some of these tasks were curating Council members’ e-newsletters, attending news conferences, writing City Blog posts and livestreaming on Facebook or Instagram. I had a few regular tasks, too, including checking local news, attending the “daily” and auditing the City website for user friendliness.

Daniel Yurcaba – It depended on the day. I went to a lot of site plan meetings, site visits, meetings with clients and attended planning commission meetings.

Kassady Douglas – Monday through Wednesday I worked at my desk constructing building plats for homes and editing diagrams for underground systems. On Thursdays, I was able to go outside to gather GPS points and details for future mapping projects.


What was your favorite part about the internship?

Sage Lyons – It’s an internship where I came in having fun. I enjoy everything about government and Mayor Battle is a family friend so it’s fun to get to have a mentor relationship with someone I’ve grown up with and learned from forever.

Madison Kilpatrick – I loved doing live streams at Huntsville Animal Services. I learned a lot about live streaming and got to really connect with the team over there…plus they have puppies.

Clay Martinson – My favorite part was getting to hang out with Harrison and Mayor Battle. They are two great leaders in our community and it was just a lot of fun learning from them.

Emily Thomason – Getting to use the video editing software because it is really nice.

Daniel Yurcaba – I really enjoyed working with long-range planning. It deals with bigger projects that I think would be really cool for the city.

Kassady Douglas – I enjoyed getting to know the people in my office. I met some really great people and made wonderful connections both personally and professionally.

Bella Tylicki – I have lived here my whole life, but I learned so much about Huntsville. For me, just having a seat at the figurative table was the coolest part of the internship.


Do you have any parting wisdom for future interns?

Sage Lyons – Don’t grab the U.S. Army coffee cups because they are (City Administrator) John Hamilton’s. One day I made that mistake. He didn’t notice but everyone else kept saying things like, “Mmm…grabbing the big man’s cups I see.”

Madison Kilpatrick – Always quadruple check which way the camera is facing before you start a live stream, otherwise you may end up capturing a live video of yourself staring at the screen in confusion before finally switching the screen around to capture the intended parties. Not that I’ve had any personal experience with that or anything…

Emily Thomason – Soak up as much as you can.

Clay Martinson – Just take in everything that you can. Everything that everyone says is a little pearl of knowledge so don’t take it lightly.

Bella Tylicki – Surround yourself with people that are where you want to be, and you’ll eventually get there. Take advantage of every opportunity, and try to say no as little as possible! You might surprise yourself.

Daniel Yurcaba – Eat lunch in the office, not outside, otherwise you will sweat like a pig.

Kassady Douglas – Enjoy every second of it! The summer goes by fast and there is so much to learn, do and be a part of.

Huntsville Animal Services also hosted interns this summer. Learn about them below, as Karen Buchan, Animal Care Supervisor, recounts their experience and background.

William ‘Dakota’ Akins, who attends Alabama A&M University, Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, assisted me with some of the revisions of our policies and procedures manual at Huntsville Animal Services. He worked a part time job and still found time to work hours at the shelter. He shadowed staff in the kennel areas and was on the road with officers to observe their job responsibilities.”

Victoria Lebrun attends The University of Alabama as a junior and is working toward a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology, minoring in Telecommunications and Film. She has a compassion for animals and wanted to obtain experience working in the animal shelter environment helping potential adopters find a pet that best fits their family lifestyle.

She interned at Huntsville Animal Services as an Adoption Counselor and plans to do her college research project utilizing the experience from the shelter. Not only did she counsel customers, but she helped staff in other ways such as cleaning kennels, collaring the dogs and cats, escorting and answering a lot of questions from the public.”