POV: Internships from a student’s perspective: Noni Williams

Today we’ve invited Textile Product Science major Nzinga-Noni “Noni” Williams, class of 2024, to write about her participation in that classic college experience: the internship. Noni interned at Yarrington Mills in Hatboro, PA, and came away with a newfound respect for her studies. Yarrington Mills is an importer and distributor as well as a narrow-goods mill, making knit trims, cording, and ribbon for varsity jackets.

My time at Yarrington Mills was the experience I needed that helped change my perspective of the textile and fashion industry and what I am learning at school. It showed me in real time how I can apply those lessons and inspired me to look at ordinary things around me differently.

I interned part-time from march until school ended, then transitioned to full-time. During that time, I received a raise for my good work. I am continuing to work there part-time during this fall semester, but I am open to other opportunities because I would like a diverse portfolio.

While working at Yarrington Mills, I was in charge of performing standardized ASTM and AATCC test methods (Pilling, Snagging, Wash Fastness, Elongation, etc.) on their fabric and keeping their record system for each style of fabric up to date. In addition, I would occasionally assist in the warehouse, instructing the warehouse crew on where rolls of fabric went when a new truck shipment arrived or helping prepare orders to get shipments out the door. Not only did I learn how the company operated, but I was also able to get an inside look at problems that might’ve arrived and how they were dealt with. Working here gave me a comprehensive and diverse understanding of how each aspect of an American fabric distribution company operates. Ironically, it showed me that the class I felt was “pointless” or unrelated to my major ended up helping me in situations I didn’t think would arise. Something as simple as effectively communicating using industry terminology or understanding a situation better and from a different perspective changed my outlook because of a simple hallmarks class I took sophomore year.

I would encourage anyone learning about a topic to get “textbook knowledge” and gather just as much real-world experience. I believe these two learning methods go hand-in-hand to fully and deeply grasp an area of interest. Then, you go to work, and it correlates to what you were just learning in class. After an internship, selecting courses for each semester is easier when you know what issues or knowledge are required in your area of study so that you may prepare for those moments. Eventually, you’ll get to a point where what you were just learning in class is now being applied at your internship or a new job. 

Also, not every company is so “corporate” (serious and only looking out for themselves or treating the intern like a servant). The women I interned under, Ashley and Shanon, in the purchasing department made sure I continued to learn while I was there. It was a team or family type of atmosphere where my success mattered as well.

Thanks to Noni for sharing her experience with us! 

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