Real World Learning: Roanoke senior's Target internship leads to management job

This story is one in an occasional series highlighting Roanoke College students' real world learning experiences.

Experience is essential to finding a job after graduation, and internships are some of the best ways to gain practice and land a permanent job.  

It worked for Roanoke College senior Timaria Hammond-Downing.

She spent the past summer patrolling the aisles of a Target store, not to shop, but to work as an intern. And as a result of her experience, Hammond-Downing landed a permanent job at Target once she graduates from Roanoke in May.

Hammond-Downing, a Minnesota native, worked as a summer intern through INROADS, a company that provides underserved youth an internship in the business world while preparing them for corporate and community leadership.

Hammond-Downing applied for an INROADS internship last September, and after four phone interviews, she was chosen for a 10-week paid stint with a Target store in Minneapolis.

At Target, Hammond-Downing worked with the logistics team and trained to be a department manager. Her tasks involved regulating store efficiency through sales, inventory and maintaining store cohesion.

"One day my boss said he was going to lunch and I was in charge of the team," said Hammond Downing, recalling the nerve-wrecking experience. "Trying to keep the store in line and be a leader was exhausting. I made a few mistakes, but I learned a lot of leadership practice."

Hammond-Downing worked 40 hours a week at Target to meet internship requirements. The long work days were often overshadowed by frequent charity events that Target sponsored.

"At Target, we did a Make a Wish event for Conner, a little boy with a bone marrow issue. He loved the ocean and the beach, so we made an event beach-themed with stations of games and prizes. The final prize was a cruise to Hawaii," said Hammond-Downing.

While interning at Target, she also volunteered with Feed my Starving Children, a non-profit Christian organization that provides bags of food for malnourished children in other countries.

Hammond-Downing hopes to one day work for a corporate marketing company where she can give back to the community like Target did during her internship.

After completing her summer internship, Hammond-Downing was offered a permanent job with Target after she graduates from Roanoke. She will be trained through a six week business college program, and Target executives will decide which store and what department she will be placed in.    

Hammond-Downing is pursuing a major in business administration, a minor in art and a marketing concentration at Roanoke. Also she is vice president of membership for the Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity, president of the Black Student Alliance and a graphic designer in the College's Public Relations Office.  

"My internship was a great experience, and I finally got to work for a company at which I always wanted," said Hammond-Downing. "Look for internships outside of the box. It's all about who you know and what you know."

-Published Dec. 6, 2013

About the Author

Allison Shannon '15 of Salem, Va., is a student writer in Roanoke College's public relations office. She is double majoring in English and psychology, and she is a goalie for Roanoke's Women's Lacrosse team.

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