Intern Serves Social Responsibility Role at Dunkin’ Donuts

Ariana Scurti during her internship with Dunkin' Donuts/Baskin Robbins. (Photo courtesy of Dunkin' Donuts)
Ariana Scurti during her internship with Dunkin' Donuts/Baskin Robbins. (Photo courtesy of Dunkin' Donuts)

SHARELINES

Coffee isn’t the only thing brewing at Dunkin’ Donuts.

Social responsibility initiatives are a part of the central operation that oversees more than 11,500 Dunkin’ and 7,600 Baskin Robbins restaurants spread across nearly 60 nations. And, that stirred the interest of Ariana Scurti ’17 (CLAS) who gained experience with the parent company as an intern this summer.

The social responsibility office at Dunkin’ Brands Group is charged with analyzing how the company best serves its customers, treats its employees and business partners, and how the company impacts the planet and local communities.

“It’s really interesting to see how interconnected everything is,” Scurti says.

As one of 29 interns at the headquarters in Canton, Mass., Scurti researched a variety of topics—from eggs to diversity in the workplace. In addition to the day-to-day tasks, each student was assigned a summer project based on the needs or business goals of their department, says Kristin Reynolds, the company’s human resources senior specialist.

Scurti’s project was to look for trends in the way data is reported across the industry, helping the Dunkin’ Brands Group prepare for its next biannual corporate social responsibility report.

“The goal of the Dunkin’ Brands summer internship program is to create meaningful work experience and resume building opportunities for the students,” Reynolds says. “Also, the summer program provides leadership and mentoring experience to employees.

“We believe internship experience is very important and sets candidates apart when hiring for our entry level opportunities.”

Scurti also benefited from the many meetings she attended. As her team discussed various strategies and how they would be implemented, Scurti witnessed how corporate meetings are run and was amazed to see how many people it takes to complete a project.

Scurti’s paid internship opportunity wasn’t easy to find.

With her graduation from UConn only one year away, 21-year-old Scurti had attended several career fairs, but never felt she had any viable options given her unique course of study. She is pursuing a double major: an individualized major in international relations with a focus in human rights and development, and Spanish. She is also earning a minor in economics.

In a final attempt to secure an internship, Scurti attended an information session held by the UConn Center for Career Development and learned of a few online search engines that could help her. Savvy searching led her to the Dunkin’ Brands Group, which is conveniently located near her hometown of Easton, Mass.

“The rest is history,” Scurti says. “It’s been a good fit.”

The internship changed how she looks at different industries. Many people view corporations as evil and the enemy, but they really work toward sustainability, she says.

“I had no idea how much is being done in the corporate social responsibility world,” Scurti says. “Companies like Dunkin’ Brands are making a serious commitment to be social responsible.”

Working a nine-to-five office job was an adjustment for Scurti, who spent last summer working with Soluciones Comunitarias in Guatemala through UConn’s Social Entrepreneur Corps and school breaks help others through UConn’s Alternative Break program.

She had to learn to pace herself throughout each work day, taking short breaks when possible. That’s when the free Baskin Robbins ice cream came in handy, she says. Free coffee and donuts were also options.

“It’s a great perk,” says Scurti, who favors the cookie dough ice cream.

Looking ahead, Scurti is both horrified and excited that she is about to start her final year at UConn. She plans to earn her master’s degree in public administration and is participating in a fast-track program at UConn that allows her to take graduate courses while completing her undergraduate degree. Beyond that, there are still decisions to make.

While Scurti knows what she learns in the classroom is important, she firmly believes that real-life experience is vital to future success and that students should be involved in extra-curricular activities and have internships.

“I’m really thankful that I got this opportunity,” she says.