By Bo-Sen Shao, USC Master of International Public Policy and Management, 2020
This is the third in a series of articles dedicated to intern and concurrent work/school experiences - public sector, private sector and also non-profit sector.
Sophia Greenberg is obtaining her Master’s degree in Urban Planning with an emphasis in Economic Development and a certificate in Real Estate Development at University of Southern California (USC), and completed her undergraduate degree in Economics with a minor in Spanish, also at USC.
“I grew up in Culver City and I’m excited to pursue my passion in economic development and city planning to create and redesign cities to suit the needs of the people that live there, not just the buildings and cars that seem to dominate our urban landscape.” says Greenberg.
Greenberg had several internship experiences before landing her current internship with former Mayor, now Councilman of Culver City, Thomas Small. She also interned for a mobility technology company, URB-E and helped get their product recognized as a feasible mode of transportation for undergraduate students at USC. Her diverse experiences also include working with a public relations firm and as an acquisitions intern for a real estate development firm which constructs large vast databases for future home purchases and market competitor analyses across the United States. Most of her internships have been based in Los Angeles region, where she plans to continue to pursue her career.
Greenberg’s current internship position was crafted especially for her. She had the opportunity to speak to the then-mayor of Culver City, Thomas Small, about her interests in planning and economic development and shortly thereafter he offered her a position as his intern. She was also offered a job at his wife Joanna Brody’s Public Relations firm, Brody Public Relations, on policy related projects, to which she gladly agreed.
“My internship ends when I graduate from school, as I am planning to pursue another Master’s degree in Spain the following year” says Greenberg who wants to study further to diversify her skills.
She has worked on a total of three projects for Brody Public Relations, on which she was responsible for compiling databases and conducting in-depth research.
Greenberg credits a variety of skills as integral to her success, including proficiency in Microsoft Excel, data analysis and econometrics, social media management, and strong writing abilities. She also has full biliteracy in both English and Spanish!
Besides some of her hard skills, she also possesses general knowledge on marketing and advertising, communication skills both in-person and through a digital presence, and an unwavering determination to succeed at her position. Her soft skills are extremely useful in her internship and her excel, data analysis and writing skill shave helped too. “I have not yet needed to speak, read or write in Spanish, though I am sure I will at some point through the internship” remarks Greenberg.
She had a productive and beneficial internship experience so far and is certain that she will walk away with a good understanding of local government and the intricacies of public relations as a result of this internship.
She also noted that she appreciates METRANS, both for featuring students like her and for its large library of transportation research. “METRANS is a wonderful source of research papers and projects that supplement my real-world experience with hard, scientific data and findings,” she said, adding that she frequently turns to the research at METRANS for her classes at USC .
Her advice to students is to “get as much education as you can as quickly as you can. You may move from company to company, changing titles and rank. No matter what, your degree(s) stay with you.”