Holly Watson joined Susan Davis International (SDI) as an intern in June 2023 through the Washington Ireland Program.

Watson is a senior at Ulster University in Northern Ireland working toward a bachelor’s degree in journalism. At Ulster, she is the Events Manager for the Journalism Society Committee and oversees event planning, research, promotion of activities and social media. In 2021, Watson spent a year studying at the University of Stirling, in Scotland, taking elective classes in Media, Linguistics and Philosophy.

During her time at SDI, Watson enjoyed refining her research and technical skills, while learning more about using social media as an effective tool for communication and promotion.

Here is more about Holly:

What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever received?

The best piece of advice I ever received was from my late father. He would say to me “self-pity gets you nowhere.” It may seem harsh, but this was just my dad’s personality. It was his way of telling me to pick myself up, dust myself off and keep going. If things don’t work out for you the first time, that is all the more reason to try harder the second.

Every time I have a setback in life, I give myself a moment to breathe and then try again. Even if I fail one hundred times, at least I can say I gave it my everything.

Which country would you most like to visit?

Japan, without hesitation. I have always been fascinated with Japanese culture. There are so many beautiful and interesting places I would love to visit from Kyoto to Tokyo. I would love to spend time enjoying the festivals and visiting temples, as well as trying even more authentic Japanese cuisine.

As an English-speaking individual, I would also love to learn the Japanese language. With family heritage dating back to Asia, it seems like fate.

How do you get your news and stay informed?

As a journalism student, I spend a lot of my time listening to or watching the news. My preferred method is listening to the radio in the morning as I’m getting ready, checking news notifications on my phone throughout the day and finally sitting down to watch the 10 o’clock news before bed.

After learning about modern journalism, I am always a little wary of news found on social media, so I do tend to stick to traditional news media platforms, especially about important or groundbreaking news.

What is your opinion on social media? Good or bad for society?

I have mixed opinions. Social media is an innovative tool for communication, and we experienced the positive effects during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ability to reach worldwide audiences at a click of a button is incredible, but I do believe there are dangers.

The widespread misinformation is undeniably problematic. Without proper regulation it is hard to protect young people on social media platforms. I try to stay optimistic that social media is a positive resource in the grand scale of things.

Who inspires you, and why?

Instead of a person, I would say an organization, Women’s Aid. I started volunteering for Women’s Aid when I was 15 and it completely changed my way of thinking and how I conduct myself in this world. Women’s Aid is a United Kingdom-based charity for women who are experiencing sexual and/or physical violence. They provide safe refugee for women and their children.

The small branch I volunteered at had the most incredible and strong women I have ever met. The compassion radiated out of the building. I learned so much about domestic violence awareness and they inspire me every day to lead my life with kindness and willingness to help.

It can be quite easy to close ourselves off from the problems in the world. This organization reminds me that education is the most effective tool against ignorance. Our voices are most powerful when we use them together.

What is it about your work for SDI that you find most inspiring/motivating/ rewarding?

During my time at SDI, I have been constantly motivated and inspired by the team. The work I have done in my time here has been so interesting and varied. I especially enjoyed sitting in on team meetings and learning more about the SDI clients.

Finishing my first independent research project was an extremely rewarding experience, especially after getting constructive feedback. It boosted my confidence and interest in this field of work.

The professionalism and talent of the SDI team inspires me each day. It makes me even more determined to take as much out of this internship as possible and apply it in the future.