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Students gain knowledge at Hartsfield-Jackson

By Maria-Jose Subiria

msubiria@news-daily.com

Jasmine Smith, a 21-year-old aspiring broadcast journalist, said she wants to follow in the footsteps of Katie Couric and Anderson Cooper. In the hopes of getting experience in the field, she is interning this summer in the Public Affairs division of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Smith, of Marietta, is part of the "2010 Summer Internship Program" at Hartsfield-Jackson, along with nine other interns.

"I think it's everything I expected," Smith said of the program. "It's a wonderful opportunity to get insight in my field, and fields related to my field."

Smith said she is majoring in mass media with a concentration in broadcast journalism at Valdosta State University, in Valdosta, and is planning to graduate in May 2011.

She said she decided to apply to intern in the airport's Public Affairs division, because it offers journalistic opportunities. She said her work may appear in the airport's monthly employee newsletter, entitled, "General Manager's Department of Aviation Monthly Report," and the Hartsfield-Jackson News e-Magazine, which appears on the airport's web site, www.atlanta-airport.com.

Besides writing for some of the airport's publications, Smith said she hopes to hone her broadcast journalism skills by creating videos for the airport's YouTube channel.

She said the video projects would be informative for Hartsfield-Jackson passengers, and would touch on topics such as airport parking.

Smith said she will soon begin to record footage for a video.

"I started writing a script," she said.

Smith said she will present her video ideas to officials in the airport's Public Affairs division.

Phanitsuda Atipan, of Bangkok, Thailand, said she is focused on becoming an airport manager.

The 28-year-old said she is working toward a Master of Science degree in aviation and space science at Oklahoma State University. She said she is also part of the university's flight training program.

She said she is assisting a marketing research analyst at the airport.

"Since I focus on airport management ... I want to have experience before I go home," Atipan said.

Atipan said that, as an intern at Hartsfield-Jackson, she has learned to compare airline service data from other airports to Hartsfield-Jackson. With the comparison, marketers can find ways of attracting more airlines to Atlanta's airport, she explained.

She said she is also working on a survey of customers of the airport's rental car center.

Sasibala Modala, of southern India, is working on a master's degree in computer science at Georgia State University in Atlanta.

She said she flew into Hartsfield-Jackson when she first came to the United States in 2008, and that since then, she has been in awe of Atlanta's airport.

Modala said she became aware of Hartsfield-Jackson's internship program through the airport's Facebook page.

"I am already a fan on Facebook," she said.

Modala said she is an intern in the Information Services division of Hartsfield-Jackson. She said she is working with officials in the division to create a Hartsfield-Jackson application for smartphones.

She said the app would provide passengers with a map of the airport that would guide them from concourse to concourse. It would also locate the airport's concessions for travelers, and inform them of deals and promotions at participating stores, she added.

"This is like a very prestigious moment for me," Modala said of interning at the airport.

She said the internship program will allow her to apply her classroom knowledge to the corporate world, and could open doors to computer-science career opportunities.

Kenya Moore, a human resources senior analyst at Hartsfield-Jackson, said she has coordinated the internship program for about seven years, though it has been in existence for about a decade.

"It offers the students an opportunity to gain experience and exposure to their career choice," said Moore.

Moore said the 10-week summer program will conclude on Aug. 7. Individuals participating in the program are paid interns, and obtain college credit, she explained.

Moore said that while she has held her position, the airport has "had about seven students that have gained permanent employment as a result of being an intern."

"They get an overview of how all the divisions work together to produce the ... product of the Department of Aviation," she said.