Self-Developing a Co-op or Internship with Eliana Berger, Anna Rychlik, & Alys Olmstead

Northeastern WISE
4 min readMar 2, 2021

Whether you feel confined by the co-op options on NU Works or are on the search for the ideal summer internship, our second WeLearn Table Talk was meant for you. Eliana Berger, Anna Rychlik, and Alys Olmstead leveraged their experiences to talk about self-developing a co-op or internship.

“Do not be the only thing that’s standing in your way.” — Eliana Berger

We kickstarted the session with Eliana Berger — the co-founder of WISE.

Eliana, a third-year Business and Psychology major, has had considerable experience when it comes to self-developing her own work opportunities, especially in the realms of product management. Find her recommendations below:

Identify roles of interest

  1. Research interesting roles
  2. Get coffee with people

Identify companies of interest

  1. Use tools like Crunchbase, the Breakout list, LinkedIn top startups, etc.
  2. Look at portfolio companies of top VC funds

Pitch yourself

  1. Send cold emails!
  2. Try to get an intro
  3. Articulate your strengths and past experiences
  4. Go the extra mile

Most importantly, DON’T GIVE UP!

“I didn’t realize people want to help you out. People out there want to see you grow!” — Anna Rychlik

Our second speaker, Anna Rychlik, the co-director of WISE, took the floor to share a more design-centered perspective.

Anna, a fourth-year Business and Design major, converted her role as the Business Development and Design Intern to a Design co-op, and shared her insights on how one can continue to have valuable experiences beyond your co-op! Here’s how she did it:

Communicate confidently

  1. People can’t read your mind. Let people know what you can bring to a company and what you want to get out of an experience

Don’t underestimate your skills

  1. Make sure your resume, portfolio, website, etc. is up to date and representative of your skillset
  2. Show your value to your potential employer

Maintain relationships

  1. This is how you can continue to have valuable experiences beyond your co-op

“Finding a common thread will sometimes make people more open to talking to you.” — Alys Olmstead

Finally, our third speaker, Alys Olmstead is a Northeastern graduate. Alys was a Communication Studies and Cultural Anthropology major and was actively involved in our university sphere by being on the council for various programs, being a Husky Ambassador, or amplifying her global experiences through the program and a Berlin Dialogue.

Alys successfully self-developed the Artistic Intern Co-op at VOLTA by Cirque du Soleil. Wondering how she succeeded in doing so? Read her tips below:

Start early, email often

  1. Get your co-op advisor and other Northeastern faculty onboard (and excited) early
  2. Keep communication frequent, and don’t be the one delaying the progress — there will be forms to sign, emails to write, calls to make

You’re always networking, even when you’re not networking

  1. I met the person who would eventually be my contact for Cirque 3 years before he even worked there
  2. Don’t just tell someone how you work, show them

Prioritizing and compromising

  1. You will likely need to compromise with Northeastern’s needs, your companies, and your own
  2. Before you start, consider what aspects of the experience are most important to you
  3. Be willing to adjust your initial “job description” and look to re-evaluate once you get onsite

Like always, we concluded our Table Talk with a Q&A session where all three panelists were asked interesting questions regarding negotiating internships into co-ops, how to approach people on LinkedIn, strategies to pitch your pay, and even self-developing opportunities internationally.

In case you missed this WeLearn event, feel free to check out this recording for a recap!

Our next WeLearn event is coming up next Wednesday, 3/10 at 6 PM EST — don’t forget to RSVP!



Northeastern WISE

WISE is the Women’s Interdisciplinary Society of Entrepreneurship, a club that is dedicated to supporting women interested in developing an innovative mindset.