Abrea Armstrong

Abrea Armstrong

Student Secures Dream Internship with Help from University Career Services

A lifelong fan of hip-hop music, Abrea Armstrong ’13C is enhancing heIr education with an internship at the popular XXL Magazine. “I love going to XXL every day,” she said. “When you enjoy what you’re doing, it doesn’t seem like work.”

A native of Winston-Salem, NC, Armstrong was first drawn to St. John’s because of its proximity to New York City, the birthplace of hip-hop. “I knew what I wanted to do career-wise, and New York was clearly the best place to be,” said Armstrong. “I’ve been able to get involved in that part of the music industry while still pursuing my undergraduate studies.”

Like many St. John’s students, Armstrong secured her position at XXL with help from University Career Services. It is her third internship in two years. “My first one was with Jazz at Lincoln Center, which was amazing, because I really love jazz,” she said. “Last fall, I worked at Sony Music Entertainment in their urban marketing and promotions department, which was a great experience, too.”

Armstrong began researching internship opportunities from home during summer break, using CareerLink, an online resource for internships and jobs that is offered by St. John’s.  With the help of Michelle Kyriakides, EdD, director of experiential learning in University Career Services, she was able to earn academic credit for her work. “Michelle was so helpful,” said Armstrong.  “She really made it her personal responsibility to ensure that I was able to get credit for my internship.”

As an editorial intern at XXL, Armstrong works closely with many of the magazine’s journalists. “I transcribe a lot of interviews,” she said. “I’m learning about style and how to lead people to get certain information.” In her free time, she also writes a blog, A Lil’ Gold and a Pager, which focuses on urban art and music.

Although she attends classes at the Queens, NY, campus, Armstrong lives at the University’s Manhattan campus, on Murray Street.  Being in lower Manhattan has served her well. “I can hop on one train, and in 10 minutes, I’m where I need to be,” she said.  “It’s a great opportunity for me to be out on the street in the hip-hop community, building up my credibility and getting to know people.”

As a student, an intern, and a blogger, Armstrong always has a full plate. “I have classes Monday and Thursday and I intern on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday,” she said. “It’s nice to have a schedule like this, so I can get to class and my internship without much interference.”

In the future, Armstrong would love to parlay her internship experience into a full-time position. “One of my supervisors is a St. John’s alumnus,” she said. “I definitely plan on rubbing some elbows and saying, ‘so you went to St. John’s, too?’ That’s the beauty of interning. The connections you make while you’re there can really help when it comes time to find a job.”