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A Big Part of Who We Are
Why Interns Are So Much More Than Interns

Posted Wednesday, August 12, 2015

  • Current interns Michelle Scott and Thomas Hallinan (far right) with their predecessors Kiran Ghouri, Anthony Melito and Erica Witthoft in the Beauregard Boardroom.

Every year, our AXON US office welcomes several interns, and the success of its program can not only be attributed to the quality of the candidates it attracts, but also to the commitment, passion and engagement of its team. When the interns are brought on board, they participate in an intern orientation, which includes one-on-one meetings with several team members, to learn about the team members’ roles and on-going projects. The interns also receive a welcome packet, which includes a glossary of frequently used terms and abbreviations. As much as our interns can gain valuable experience and better understand the profession, as a Firm, we are also getting a lot out of the opportunity. We encourage and value input from every member of our teams, and our interns are no different.

In New York, our AXON team has two different internship programs:


Long Island University Program


Since 2012, our AXON US office has been partnering with Long Island University’s School of Pharmacy internship program for 6th year doctorate candidates. As participants in this program are usually a little bit older than your typical intern, they’ve already had the opportunity to go through many rotations in different healthcare settings.

Reporting to Danielle Cavazzini, herself a PharmD from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, students work mostly with the Editorial team as their internship is more scientific-oriented. By being completely immersed and fully integrated into the team during their five weeks at AXON, interns get a full experience as to what life would be like if they decided to work on this side of the business. During their time at AXON, the interns contribute to active projects by assisting with research, fact-checking documents, working with writers to prepare drafts, and participating on internal brainstorming meetings.

Having completed several internships during her six years at MCPHS, Danielle has first-hand knowledge of the value of discovering both traditional and non-traditional pharmacy paths. It was in fact through that process that she realized that her creativity could be better fostered in places other than behind the pharmacy counter… and decided to offer her skills as a Scientific Affairs Associate and Medical Writer at AXON US!


Open Program


AXON also has an open internship program for interested students, most of whom come from a business program, but also communications, biology or chemistry majors. Some internships are unpaid (but students get credited for school), some are paid, some take place during the summer and others during the regular school year. “It keeps us all fresh and allows both mentoring and coaching opportunities for different staff members,” says Mario Nacinovich, managing partner of AXON US. “If they’ve never managed before, they now get to be responsible for someone else. In a way, it’s also a form of training for them.”

In the past, the office has welcomed several students from Manhattan College, the alma mater of our colleagues Mario Nacinovich, Evita Sanchez and Nick De Lillo. These interns work closely with the Client Services team and assist program managers. They also do research for business pitches or current client work, and help with everything from meeting planning to operations-related work.


A Win-Win Situation


A testament to the AXON program’s success, recent intern Erica Witthoft has since graduated from Manhattan College and joined our team as Operations and Program Manager this past July. “The great thing about an intern joining your full-time staff is that their work has already been evaluated,” adds Mario. “They’ve already experienced your day-to-day operations, and they have an obvious curiosity about healthcare. If you don’t see that curiosity or inquisitive nature from Day 1, you’ll never see it in five years when they’re employees.” 

As a Firm, internship programs are very rewarding. While AXON teaches its interns about the medical communications industry, the interns provide fresh ideas and new perspectives that help AXON stay creative and current. “We don’t think the way they think,” shares Mario. “We’ve brought our interns to meetings, think tanks and business development pitches. It’s always amazing to see how creative they can be in coming up with a solution, something we never would have thought about, because we were just too close to it.”

In addition to Erica, former-interns-turned-employees include Anthony Melito, Editor, and Kiran Ghouri, Scientific Affairs Associate and Medical Writer. “As an intern at AXON I was able develop my writing proficiency, communications skills and the confidence to be my client’s trusted advisor,” said Anthony to our Web Editorial team. “My internship provided me with the foundation I needed to transition from an intern to a full-time AXON employee.”

At AXON, and at NATIONAL as a whole, we don’t look at our interns as interns; we look at them as future employees. They’re an investment of our time, of our energy, and are a big part of who we are as a Firm. And our approach is perhaps best summed up in the testimonial current intern Thomas Hallinan shared with our Web Editor:

“AXON has allowed me to jump right in and utilize the skills I have already developed to make a difference in the workplace. My colleagues have become not only great mentors, but even better friends; I know I have their full support in whatever it is I’m asked to do. I was promised I would learn working at AXON and I have become a well-rounded and sharper individual because that promise was made true.”  

For more information on our AXON US internship programs, drop us a line at [email protected]


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