PRSSA Kent State University
by Maddy Etzel
During the summer of 2013, I had the opportunity to complete my internship at AKHIA, located in Hudson, OH. AKHIA is a full-service public relations and marketing communications agency with design, Web and strategic planning capabilities. AKHIA works with both B2B and B2C clients.
During my internship, I worked on a wide variety of projects including building media lists using CisionPoint, collecting editorial calendars for client media relations, maintaining and compiling clips for media relations outreach and email marketing campaigns, writing copy for press releases, assisting with general office duties and writing in the AKHIA intern blog post.
I was also assigned to one specific client to work closely with during the summer in order to gain a full understanding of client relations and working with a team. I was able to sit in on weekly status meetings, draft press releases for the client and I even had the opportunity to handle an entire creative project on my own. I was very excited about this project because my team put full trust in me to work with our creative department to executive from beginning to end for the client.
The information taught in JMC courses helped me tremendously at every stage during my internship. I was able to look back at previous class work I had completed to help me find direction on a project at work.
Overall, I had such a wonderful experience at AKHIA, and I’m happy to say that they’ve asked me to stay on for the fall semester. I feel like I learned so much every day and have many mentors who have taught me a lot as I continue to grow as a young professional. Everything I’ve done has felt valuable, and everyone at the agency has welcomed me with open arms. I love working somewhere where the culture is so vibrant and alive.
by Benjamin Jordan
I served as a Public Affairs intern at Stratacomm, a public relations agency in downtown Washington, D.C., during the summer of 2013. The company consists of approximately 20 employees, including two interns to help with a wide variety of tasks. Most of the clients Stratacomm serves are D.C.-related, such as the Department of Energy (the organization’s biggest client), city redevelopment campaigns and infrastructure/transportation improvements. To help brainstorm new ways to help clients, Stratacomm created three committees within the company—Transportation, Infrastructure, and Energy and Environment—and each employee would be in one of these groups. I was part of the Energy and Environment Task Force and our biweekly meetings exposed me to great ideas and ways of thinking about assisting clients.
My regular duties included compiling and distributing clips packages for clients regarding their projects. With so much news coming across my desk each morning, I felt like I was really on the pulse of the city. I also regularly created media lists with Cision so clients could easily distribute press releases across the country. The rest of my work was usually random assignments—not a big surprise at an agency. I pitched calls and developed rapport with reporters, drafted and edited content for clients’ blogs and websites, prepared materials for and helped run clients’ events, and updated various documents and spreadsheets.
My time at Stratacomm gave me a great sense of what life is like at an agency. Bits and pieces of projects are constantly being juggled, last-minute assignments frequently pop up, employees are constantly on the hunt for new business and every 15 minutes of my life were painstakingly coded and billed. Now that I’ve tried agency PR, I’d like to experience corporate or cause-related PR. I’m someone who likes to be passionate about one thing, and spreading my effort among a flurry of small projects this summer didn’t suit me. I’d advise students who are heavily involved in one extracurricular activity in school (like a fraternity or club) rather than many organizations to first try corporate or cause-related PR.
Overall, working in downtown D.C. was awesome and I only had togo on a cliché coffee run once.
by Breanna Reffel
I had the privilege of interning for one of the top 10 hospitals in the nation, ranked in 10 specialties by U.S. News and World Report: The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. I specifically worked in the College of Medicine, ranked 14 in the nation.
I managed a start-up institution specializing in design thinking, innovation and commercialization of new healthcare products and solutions called the IDEA Studio for Healthcare and Design. It hosts a national healthcare conference every year, and I was in charge of the marketing. As a project manager, I did a whole laundry list of tasks. My first month or so, I wrote and wrote and wrote some more. By the end of my first month, I had finished a marketing plan, social media plan, blog editorial calendar and a Twitter for business justification proposal.
Towards the halfway point of my internship, the writing slowed down, and I started implementing tactics for my plans. Some of my tactics included email blast to entire OSUWMC faculty and staff, social media, intranet campaigns and blog updates. The email blasts that I wrote are actually quite an important job because these emails are sent out through the CEO’s email. I wrote these emails as Dr. Gabbe and signed them as him, so I had to be extra professional and careful with my writing.
Throughout the summer, I also helped the media relations department by sending external press releases and media escorting. I even had a photographer use me as a test subject.
My writing classes and PR Tactics class helped me the most that summer. All the event planning assignments that Michele Ewing had us write helped tremendously. I was well schooled in plan-writing after Tactics.
My advice for younger PR students is volunteer yourself for everything and just talk to people. By talking to other MARCOM professionals at OSUWMC, I got invited to sit in on athletics meetings and help out with sports medicine events that had OSU football players attending. Don’t be afraid to go above and beyond just the office work.
by Aubrey Johnson
I had opportunity to work as the public relations assistant at Chautauqua Institution summer 2013, and I am thankful to have hadan internship at such an amazing institution.
Chautauqua Institution is a non-profit summer community located in southwestern New York on Chautauqua Lake. It offers a unique mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship, educational programs and recreational activities.
As the PR assistant at Chautauqua, I had two bosses who I worked and completed tasks for. One of my bosses is the editor of the Chautauquan Daily, the daily newspaper at Chautauqua, and my other boss is the chief marketing officer. Most of the time, though, I was completing tasks without their involvement or guidance. I was given a great deal of responsibility and a lot of independence.
When I first started the internship, the amount of responsibility I was given scared me. After writing my first couple press releases, I was told they didn’t need to be edited because they were very well written. I was trusted to send out press releases to local and national media with only my eyes looking at them. It was refreshing to know they had confidence in me, even though I doubted myself at first.
Since then, I have learned to be confident in my work, and I have gained excellent problem solving skills because I have to figure out things on my own. I typically wrote at least three press releases a week, coordinated interviews for various media events, wrote copy for newsletters, answered questions and requests from the media and more. My name was also listed as the media contact on the press page of our website, so I was constantly receiving calls and requests. It is safe to say that my ability to multitask increased immensely.
I’m excited to say that I was able to coordinate a visit from a Japanese magazine, SOTOKOTO, completely on my own. I planned interviews for the Japanese journalist and photographer and helped them develop ideas for the story on Chautauqua that was featured in the September issue of SOTOKOTO. I can’t wait to receive the copy we are featured in! (Although, I haven’t mastered how to read Japanese yet.)
Overall, I am shocked at how much I grew as a PR professional during that short summer job experience. My confidence in my work skyrocketed, and I know it’s because of the independence and amount of responsibility I was given at Chautauqua. My advice to interns is to not be afraid of a lot of responsibility and independence—embrace it!
Interning at Professional Ski Instructors of America and American Association of Snowboard Instructors
by Candace Dungan
I have never been someone to play by the book. After high school, I had no intentions to attend college. Instead, I planned to move to Colorado and become a professional snowboard instructor. My life was turned upside down the summer after high-school graduation when I became pregnant with my now beautiful, 3-year-old daughter, Mona. Four years later, I am officially the new Member Services and Marketing Coordinator at PSIA-AASI, The Professional Ski Instructors of America and American Association of Snowboard Instructors in Lakewood, Colorado.
Throughout the process of landing my internship at PSIA-AASI, the best advice I could give to any student is to create your own path. I was PSIA-AASI’s first intern and landed the job through networking. When I was offered my full-time position, my supervisor explained that it was my confidence and forwardness that impressed her the most.
Each class I completed at Kent State University put me one step closer to my goals, but I believe my PR Campaigns class was the most helpful in providing me with the knowledge to contribute to PSIA-AASI. Creating a campaign for FedEx Custom Critical gave me both confidence and understanding of internal organizations, which was the most helpful during my internship.
I also took it upon myself to go above and beyond my duties as marketing intern. I often found myself repeating one of my Kent State professors who taught me the phrase, “I can do that.” Early on in my internship I noticed that many employees had large workloads, and I did my best to offer help in anyway I could. Besides my marketing responsibilities, I found myself working with both the financial and education departments. Soon, my co-workers we’re asking how they we’re going to get by without me, and I believe I became indispensable.
But, my internship was not always smooth sailing. I didn’t know how or when I should communicate with my co-workers and supervisors. I found it was okay to ask how and when to communicate. In fact, your co-workers and supervisor will appreciate it because it will save them time when they receive information from you in the way that works best for them.
During my internship my large tasks included creating a media list and style guide as well as contributing to online content. I also helped organize and communicate our member benefits, which is not an easy task at an association that offers as many benefits and educational resources as PSIA-AASI.
My new position will require me to take the lead on media relations and the on-boarding process of new members. I also will work closely with our Partner Specialist to best serve our partners, such as Burton, Subaru and Go Pro.
Four years ago I planned to be a professional snowboard instructor. I now work for the organization that makes professional skiing and snowboarding possible. Without the skills I learned in Kent State’s PR program and the mentoring I received from my professors, I could never have accomplished my goals and found myself exactly where I want to be.