May 9, 2018

Spotlight Article: Columbia Chamber Spring & Summer Interns

Internships are a great way for college students to get a taste of the work world and see how they like different industries. Many colleges and universities are now requiring students to do at least one internship for a full semester in their field of study. This year we have had four University of South Carolina and one Vanderbilt University interns that helped the Columbia Chamber with public policy and advocacy, communications and graphics, events, and Partner relations. Their input, enthusiasm, and energy were much appreciated by the team at the Chamber.

Read on to learn a little about them.

Laura Belge

*Second from the left in photo above

Hometown: Augusta, G.A.

School: UofSC

Major: Visual Communications

Minor: Business

Graduation Date: May 2018

Laura has been the Chamber’s graphic designer for the past eight months. She has worked closely with the marketing and events department to produce social media images, event graphics and signs, brochures, logos, videos, and much more. Notably, Laura designed the Chamber’s event graphics for Power in Heels, Chairman’s Reception, Public Policy Reception, Columbia Impact Awards, 33rd Annual Golf Tournament, and is currently working on graphics for the upcoming 118th Gala. She also designed this year’s Columbia Chamber Public Policy Agenda. In addition, Laura has been an event photographer for the Chamber’s larger events.

“My time at the Chamber turned out to be the best thing I have done for my college career,” Laura said, “Being in a graphic design position I was able to hone in on my skills and was able to add many new pieces to my portfolio and website. I feel very fortunate to have been a part of the Chamber during this exciting time in Columbia’s history.”

“Working with a graphic design intern added a fresh perspective into our Chamber marketing,” said Rebekah Babovic, Director of Events, “Laura has had great ideas and visions incorporating our branding into trendy and captivating graphics that inspire our Partners.”

After graduation, Laura will continue her work at the Chamber while she is starting her freelance business,  The Chamber is excited to watch a young businesswoman start her business and are proud to be among her first clients.


Sterlin Choice

*Middle in Photo Above

Hometown: Greenville, S.C.

School: UofSC

Major: Political Science

Graduation Date: May 2018

Sterlin was the Chamber’s public policy and advocacy intern this semester. She assisted senior leadership with various types of research including, tax rates, economic drivers, job growth, political trends, and state legislation. Sterlin also supported the team on activities related to the Chamber’s Issue Forums.

“The research I did for the Chamber was the same type of research I have been doing for the past four years in my classes,” Sterlin says, “Working at the Chamber taught me the business behind-the-scenes of  Columbia that I would have never learned in the classroom.”

“As the Chamber started to enhance its public policy and advocacy plan this year, Sterlin’s research and aid was invaluable,” Henri Baskins, Executive Vice President said, “Sterlin’s work was always thorough and accurate.”

Sterlin plans to seek post-graduation education while also continuing her internship with the Chamber through the summer.


Mallory Johnson

*Middle in Photo Above

Hometown: Columbia, S.C.

School: Vanderbilt University

Major: Public Policy Studies

Minor: Political Science and French

Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2020

Mallory was the Chamber’s public policy and advocacy intern this summer. She assisted senior leadership with researching public policy issues, compiling data comparing Columbia to other southeastern cities, and creating presentations for meetings with Chamber Partners and community members. Mallory also helped organizing Chamber Board Meetings and helped with Chamber events.

“Working at the Chamber this summer gave me the opportunity to work on a project I really cared about and that affected the city I have grown up in,” Mallory said. “I was able to directly apply frameworks I learned in school and work with a project from its inception. The connections and experience I have gained through my internship at the Chamber are invaluable.”

Mallory will return to Nashville, TN in August to continue finishing her bachelor’s degree.


Emma McGoldrick

Hometown: Hilton Head, S.C.

School: UofSC

Major: Marketing & HR Management

Minor: Biology

Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2019

Emma has been with the Chamber for nearly seven months and quickly became our “Girl Friday”. Emma found her niche with organizing many functions within the Chamber. Most notably, she helped get the Chamber’s Instagram account updated and relevant. Emma supported the Leadership Columbia program and the Military Affairs group with a host of event preparation and updating online information.

“I am grateful for the experience and skills I have gained while working at the Chamber,” Emma said, “The Chamber staff were very welcoming and have been great mentors to me. What I learned at the Chamber I will be able to use in the rest of my classes and future career.”

“Emma was always eager to start every project she was given,” said Charlotte Bian-Lingle, Director of Leadership Development, “No matter what the task was, Emma did it accurately and in a timely manner.

Emma was accepted into the Tori Burch Summer Internship Program and will be living in New York City until she returns to UofSC to start the fall semester.


Spencer Reed

*Right in Photo Above

Hometown: Cary, N.C.

School: UofSC

Major: International Business & Supply Chain

Minor: Chinese Studies

Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2020

Spencer spent the latter half of the semester with the Chamber helping the Partner Relations team. Spencer conducted data, worked with customer sales tools, and learned about the need for constant touch points and consistent feedback loop to make sure Chambers Partners are happy and nurtured.

“At the Chamber, I not only had the opportunity to learn the functions of a chamber,” Spencer said, “but I also was able to help with a number of projects that helped me prepare for future classes.”

“Spencer brought experience and knowledge beyond his years, helping the Partner Relations team capture more accurate information from New and Renewing Partners that will help the Chamber for many years,” said Chris Wulf, Columbia Chamber Director of Partner Relations, “Through his strong business acumen, he assisted the Chamber in finding ways to better utilize data and eliminate inefficiencies, allowing us to focus more on our Partners.”

Spencer hopes to work with the American Chamber of Commerce when he studies abroad in Shanghai before he graduates.


Businesses, and students, know that successful internships can lead to jobs after graduation. The Chamber’s newest staff member Anna Peterson, Communications Specialist, was previously a Chamber intern. (Left in photo below)

Anna started as an event and communications intern at the Chamber in March 2017. Her role changed over time and she helped every department in a wide variety of projects. Anna’s main focus was the Chamber’s online presence and helping to the Chamber’s message consistent and relevant on every platform.

“My internship at the Columbia Chamber verified my choice in my college major of public relations,” Anna said, “After interning all summer, I knew that I truly enjoyed the work I was doing and really could not see myself doing anything else right after graduation. Being at the Chamber helped me to grow professionally and make meaningful connections all over the Midlands. Even though I grew up in Columbia, I have learned more about the city and its business climate while working at the Chamber.”

“Anna has become an essential member of the team at the Chamber,” said Rose Dangerfield, Vice President of Communications and Marketing. “Her talent and her willingness to jump in and do what it takes to get the job done is reflective of her caring personality and belief of ‘do the right thing and be the best you can’, continued Rose.


Thank you to all of our interns for their hard work and dedication to help the Chamber’s mission of creating an environment where businesses can flourish. The Columbia Chamber believes in the nurturing a generation of future business leaders and sees the importance of investing in young people to create professionals who are aware of the Midlands business climate. The Chamber remains committed to being a part of the ecosphere that helps create an environment where young talent wants to stay and create their future.

Thank you to Anna and our interns who wrote this article for Partner Connections.

Interested in being a Chamber intern? Please send your current resume to Anna Peterson at to apply.

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