The Sophomore Class Atlanta Leadership Experience at Agnes Scott College by Hannah Savage ‘24
SCALE, the Sophomore Class Atlanta Leadership Experience, is a critical piece of Agnes Scott’s distinctive SUMMIT program. During this week-long experience, all Agnes Scott sophomores complete an externship at Atlanta-area businesses and non-profit organizations to focus on leadership, collaboration and career development skills. Some notable establishments our Scotties have worked with are AT&T, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta Community Food Bank and BlackRock. And these placements are not major specific! Anyone can join any group if they are interested in the project and company. My placement was more catered to Business students, but some of my teammates were STEM majors who had never taken a business class.
SCALE is one of the many pieces of SUMMIT that is designed to ensure Scotties complete multiple professional experiences during their time at Agnes Scott. It is a great way for students to explore different fields and determine if we see ourselves working in that industry or environment. It also introduces Atlanta companies to our students and makes sure that Agnes Scott students are top-of-mind when it comes to further internship or job opportunities. Many students have even been offered summer internships with their placement companies after their SCALE participation.
This year, I, along with two other Scotties, completed our SCALE experience with Plywood People. Plywood People is a non-profit organization that helps start-up companies find their footing through different programs and workshops. I heard a lot of great things about this organization prior to my placement, so I was really excited to work with their team.
Here’s an overview of how the SCALE experience shaped up for me:
On Monday, multiple placement groups met on campus to go over our game plan for the week and to meet our teammates. We went over basic information, such as tips for professional conduct in the workplace and for dressing professionally. Each team did research on their company and its history to get a better grasp of its culture and practices. We also had an assignment to conduct interviews with two employees in the company, so we prepared our interview questions. Overall, Monday was a great way to bond with our teammates and set guidelines on how we want to communicate and address conflict.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were our “field days,” which we spent at Plywood People working on our projects to help market and learn about the work that they do. As team members, we worked on individual projects such as making social media content, designing flyers and transcribing interviews and podcasts to make them more accessible. One of the greatest aspects of our field experience, however, were the connections we made within the company. We met with leaders within Plywood People, but beyond that the building in which the company operates is an open work space for multiple businesses. Because of this collaborative environment, we were able to meet chefs, yoga studio owners, artists and more. Everyone supported each other within the collaboration space, because as different as their companies were, everyone was on a similar journey to making their businesses viable. As a Business Management major, it was exciting to be in a room of fellow entrepreneurs and to see them uplift and give each other advice.
As I said before, Plywood People’s mission is to help companies and organizations with their start-up journey, and they do this in three stages: Path, Foundations and Layers. Each stage is filled with months worth of courses and sessions to help best prepare the leaders of these companies for business success. We were invited to sit in on a Layers meeting and witness everything I have been learning in all of my business classes live. It was really reassuring for me to see this and verify that I want to be like the people in the meeting: driven and working to build their own company.
On Friday, the placement groups came back together and presented what they had done the last few days. It was really cool to hear the projects my peers had been working on and to learn about all the different companies. One that I particularly enjoyed learning about was a company called Semaine Health, which was started by two Agnes Scott alums. Semaine Health focuses on creating plant-based, science-backed supplements for those with periods to make their cycle more comfortable.
Overall, I enjoyed my SCALE placement, and I value Agnes Scott’s consistent commitment to its students’ professional development journeys. I met so many people during SCALE and made wonderful connections that will stay with me for the rest of my career!
Hannah Savage is a rising junior (Class of 2024) from Fayetteville, GA. She is majoring in Business Management and minoring in Spanish. Hannah is an admission ambassador and summer intern.