Jaelyn Luong

Major: Culinary Food Science
Company/Organization: Dotdash Meredith
Company/Organization website: https://www.dotdashmeredith.com/
Destination: Des Moines, Iowa
Timeframe: Summer 2022
Advisor/Coordinator Email: ebierman


During my time at Dotdash Meredith, I helped assist food stylists. Some of the responsibilities I was responsible for was preparing food for stylists to style and take a picture of. It depended on what day and how many recipes we were taking pictures of. It ranged from 2-7 recipes per day. I would help cut, measure, cook, and bake products that the food stylists assigned me. I would also take care of the dishes to make the cleaning process faster when we are done with the shoot. I also put away ingredients and sometimes would pick up ingredients at the store.


One of my greatest accomplishments was connecting with my coworkers. Since this was my first internship, coming into this workplace was very new and nerve-wracking. But on my first week there, everyone was very welcoming and showed me around where everything was. There was not one day that I would not want to go because I loved being there so much. The environment that has formed in the photo kitchen is just amazing. Everyone knows each other and sometimes jokes around. Honestly, one of the best work environments I have experienced, and I valued my time there as an assistant. In general, it is hard for me to connect with others when placed in a new environment. But after spending three months with this company, I feel comfortable talking to anyone there.

Learning experience

The greatest lesson I have learned is what it is like to be a food stylist. I think not a lot of people give them as much credit. Seeing how they must prepare two weeks in advance so the grocery shoppers can get the ingredients on time blows my mind. Also, remember they still have to style food the week off, which is also incredible. How much time and effort food stylists take to style food never crossed my mind. I always thought the food was just placed and taken a photo of it. But behind the scenes, there is so much that is happening. There is a photographer, art director, food stylist, assistant for the food stylist, and some photographer and the client that approves the photo before it is sent in. So just seeing how much teamwork is in effect is crazy, but it is good to know how much they have gone through.

What advice would you give?

Some advice that I would give future students is to go for any opportunity thrown their way. Originally I was not planning to look for internships or do one for the summer after my freshman year. But in the past, I was talking about what I wanted to do after college with my advisor, and luckily enough, she sent me an email about this internship and how she knew it was the perfect fit for me. At first, I was hesitant because I was just a freshman finishing my first year at Iowa State. And with only taking gen eds unrelated to my major, I felt I was not qualified for this position. But without my advisor's push and motivation, I would not be writing this. My advisor's motivation helped and made me apply for this internship. I honestly learned so much from this internship and gained many connections that I wouldn't have gotten anywhere else. So I am thankful that I decided to take this opportunity. And honestly, after finishing the internship so early, many people are amazed that I already have this experience, which is something to take pride in. Again take that opportunity that you are unsure of because you never know how much it will benefit you in the future!

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