David D'Amico had the summer of a lifetime. An internship with Dunkin’ Donuts brought him face to face with athletes like Rob Gronkowski and gave him professional opportunities he never anticipated. The Johnston resident went back to Assumption College with plenty of stories to share with classmates.
And then came another story to share.
D'Amico's blog reflecting on his intern experience was featured on the White House website.
"I was really surprised,” he said, adding that the mention will definitely find a place on his résumé. “It was cool. I got a lot of résumé boosters.”
D'Amico was shocked to receive an email from the White House. When Dunkin' personnel asked him to write an essay summarizing his experience, he thought it was for their benefit only.
"I just thought I was explaining my internship," he said.
The three-paragraph essay took him only a half hour to write initially. When Dunkin's Human Resources Department asked him to cut it down, he spent another hour and a half on it.
"I got to travel and stuff so trying to take pieces out but leave the stuff in that I thought was important was tough," D'Amico said.
Tough but worth it, as D’Amico caught the attention of the White House. Dunkin’ Donuts is part of President Barack Obama’s Summer Jobs Initiative, hiring young people for internships that could gain them access to employment in the future. A White House spokesperson said they chose D’Amico’s post because it showed that he was a “very engaged” intern.
The honor was also highlighted in Assumption College’s campus newspaper.
A senior studying organizational communications, with a minor in graphic design, an internship at Dunkin’ was exactly what D'Amico was looking for. He had spent the previous year interning with the RDW Group, for a course called internship in business, which whet his appetite.
At the end of the course, the class had a networking dinner with Assumption alumni who are professionals in the communications industry. There, D'Amico met Tom Manchester, a vice president of field marketing for Dunkin' Donuts. The two talked about their shared love of sports. D'Amico played hockey at La Salle Academy, and continues to play at Assumption.
The conversation ultimately turned to work, and Manchester suggested that D'Amico apply for an internship. He did, and walked into his interview with confidence. Little did he know, the internship program at the company is very competitive, attracting roughly 120 applicants.
In the weeks that followed his interview, he waited anxiously for a response. Where his summer would take him if he didn't hear back, D'Amico wasn't sure.
"I did put a lot of eggs in that basket," he said.
During finals week, the good news finally came. On June 6, he started his daily commute to Canton, Mass., to Dunkin' Donuts' headquarters. And within the first week, D'Amico was being thrust into the profession he hopes to someday pursue.
"My first week there I was just sitting in on meetings, listening to what the field market managers do. In that first week I was like, 'Wow, they do a lot,'" he recalled.
During that first week, those meetings brought together advertising, public relations and retail marketing representatives to discuss how to market the sponsorship of Gronkowski. In the second week, D’Amico flew to New York with the Dunkin’ vice president of field marketing to help out at a press conference with Eli Manning.
“It was cool that I got to be a part of that stuff. It was really exciting,” he said. “I was already jumping into things my second week there.”
It was especially gratifying to see news reports of the Manning conference multiply in the days that followed. D’Amico found himself a part of something getting national attention.
“I’ve never really been a part of something like that. When we introduced [Manning] to the press, seeing the amount of coverage he got in the week afterwards was interesting. It was great press for Dunkin’,” he said.
D’Amico spent some of his time in the Canton office, and the rest of it out in the field. For example, he was charged with traveling all of the highways in Rhode Island and Massachusetts to make note of the billboards at exit ramps and if any were currently available. He still finds himself looking for billboard positions.
For the most part, he was able to work independently.
“My projects, most of the time, I was left to do myself. A lot of the work I did was pretty organic to my style,” he said.
That trial by fire served him well, and now that he’s back in school for his senior year, D’Amico says his classroom performance has improved. In his business and technical writing class, he found the work to be easy.
“I found it a lot easier. I was a lot more laid back with projects and assignments with my business classes,” he said.
While some internship days were long, and some weeks surpassed 40 hours, D’Amico says he barely noticed. On one particularly long day, he was at Gillette, filming a commercial with “Gronk.”
“It was worth it. I was hanging with Gronk,” he said. “I didn’t even know I was working.”
The internship was a learning experience for D’Amico, who says he has a better idea of what he would like to do someday. He has long been interested in public relations and marketing, but now thinks he wants to focus on sports marketing.
Then again, Dunkin’ wouldn’t be a bad gig either.
“I would really like to go back to Dunkin’,” he said. “I really liked working for them. Either way, I’m going to definitely try to use the contacts I gained this summer.”