PRSSA Kent State University
by Connor Griffith
I was hired as a 2013 summer intern at The Timken Co. in Canton, Ohio. My official title was IT Communications Intern. I started in mid-May and worked through mid-August.
Getting hired, I didn’t really know what I would be doing or if I would actually use the skills I have learned in all my JMC classes. However, from week one, I knew I was in the right role and knew my internship would give me very valuable experience.
I worked on many projects including drafting company newsletters, event planning, writing stories for the company intranet, script writing, video production, creating recruitment PowerPoints and creating a communications plan for a clothing merchandise re-launch. There wasn’t a day all summer where I wasn’t utilizing the skills I learned in my JMC classes.
I never knew just how much writing PR and communications professionals do on a daily basis. With all the writing practice we get in our JMC classes, I can say it definitely pays off and is extremely valuable in the workforce.
Some advice for students who are looking to get an internship: It’s never too early to start looking. I was really feeling the pressure when I started applying before Christmas break and didn’t hear from any company. I was lucky enough to come across Timken at the internship fair. Anyone who says that fair doesn’t really help is wrong. I got to network with so many companies and handed my resume out like crazy, and it paid off.
Good luck to all incoming students looking for an internship! Just remember, when all those writing classes seem too much at times, they do pay off in the real world.
by Rebecca Campbell
I had the opportunity to work at Allied-THA, an integrated marketing agency in Cleveland, during the summer of 2013. Allied’s clients consisted of major motion picture studios including Paramount, Universal, Columbia and 20th Century Fox. I worked with three other interns to assist in promoting several films such as “World War Z,” “The Way, Way Back,” “Identity Thief” and “Paranoia.” I continued to work at Allied through Fall 2013 as well.
Some of my responsibilities included brainstorming promotional ideas, conducting research in eight markets - Cleveland, Cincinnati, Buffalo, and Albany, NY - and planning promotional events. These events mostly included contacting venues that would be good fits for the films and help get the word out about the film. Another responsibility was to help work advanced screenings of films and fill out a screening report, which consisted of comments from the audience, demographics and scenes the audience reacted to.
One of the key lessons I learned is to always ask “what’s in it for me?” when thinking about the client in an agency setting. Because of my JMC classes, I was able to think in this mindset, and it benefitted me when I was planning two events that I was assigned to do. Companies need a reason why they should let you into their location at no cost and talk to their customers.
My advice for future interns is take full advantage of your internship and do as much as you can because there are some things that you can’t learn in the classroom. For example, the movie studios wanted pictures from the events that myself and the other publicists worked, so they can see where and how their film is being promoted. I had to learn what type of pictures to take and how many because that’s what the client wanted.
by Bobby Batyko
I interned at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium (GCA) located in - you guessed it - Cleveland, Ohio during the summer of 2013. Featuring more than 70,000 square feet of display space, including a 250,000-gallon shark tank, it’s difficult to not be amazed. As a part of the PR/marketing team, each day presented a new set of challenges and objectives both in the office and out in the community.
Every year, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has an ‘industry’ day. Various attractions from around the Cleveland area are invited to have booths at the Rock Hall. Then, members of the travel and tourism industry (i.e. hotel managers, concierges, restaurant managers, etc.) are invited to connect with these attractions. This way, when out of town guests need or want something to do, they can be efficiently directed to all that Cleveland and the immediately surrounding areas have to offer.
However, since this event is normally held in the summer, entertainment institutions such as the Playhouse District and other arts venues do not have their winter calendars finalized. Thus, it would make sense to have another industry day, this time in the fall. It was my responsibility to work with our marketing manager and Positively Cleveland to begin arranging the event. This involved creating a list of organizations that might be interested, being on call with Positively Cleveland, attending in-person meetings, sending emails, aiding in organizing the event and helping to generate ideas.
My JMC classes were vital to my success that summer. Both of my projects involved extensive preliminary research, creating goals, structuring objectives, strategies, tactics and everything involved with implementation. Classes such as Principles of PR, Case Studies, Bateman, PR Tactics/Online Tactics and more played vital roles in such strategic thinking and execution. In addition, classes such as Multimedia Technologies played a major role in the design work needed throughout my internship.
My advice for fellow interns is to be as involved as is possible. At the beginning of the summer, especially during the first orientation meetings, the amount of work can seem staggering. Don’t worry about it. Once you begin to get a feel for the organization and its professionals you’ll find yourself staying late and taking work home. Not necessarily because you have to, but because you want to. It doesn’t take long for that passion for PR to kick in. Sign up for everything you can, ask your peers if you can aid in other projects and never be afraid to go that extra mile.
by Shannon Fox
I had the privilege of being one of the press interns for Jonathan Adler Enterprises at the Headquarters in New York, NY during the summer of 2013. Jonathan Adler is a home furnishings and accessories company with retail stores across the United States and London. I began working in the press department the first week of June and continued through late August.
I did not know what to expect when I started my first day, but the skills and techniques I learned in my JMC classes helped make my transition into this new position that much smoother. Working at Jonathan Adler, rather than at an agency having Jonathan Adler as a client, allowed me to see a whole new side of public relations. I got to experience everything that goes into the PR and marketing of a company.
As a press intern at Jonathan Adler I was involved in various tasks. Some of these tasks included creating powerpoint presentation of the editorial highlights collected during that week, keeping track of product donations for charity events, product loans to publications and store promotions. I also worked on the beginning steps of press releases and material for the website. I got to help redesign and reorganize the showroom for the different events that were to be taken place there, too.
I couldn’t have asked for a better place to intern. I learned so much from the people I worked with and from the industry I was in. I throughly enjoyed every second I was at Jonathan Adler. It was a fun atmosphere and an amazing place to work. All of JA’s employees seem to really love working there.
Some advice for future students is not to panic. Looking for an internship is tough, and it is never too early to start. I started around thanksgiving because I had to go on interviews when I was home for breaks but didn’t end up receiving an offer until May. It takes time, and everyone is looking just like you. If you be patient and keep an open mind you will find one that you want and that you enjoy being at.
by Trenton Chavez '13
My name is Trenton Chavez, and I’m an alumnus of Kent State University. During my final semester at Kent State, where I studied public relations and marketing, I interned at The Davey Tree Expert Company’s corporate communications and marketing department. Davey Tree provides a variety of tree care, grounds maintenance and consulting services for the residential, commercial, utility and government markets.
My experience at Davey Tree was hands-on and intensive—there were no stereotypical intern coffee runs or envelopes stuffed. As a valued team member of the “corp comm” team, I juggled everything from website and content management to writing and pitching press releases. My supervisor gave me meaningful, long-term projects in various disciplinaries that I was able to call my own, something that I’m thankful for. I also have many, many clips and work examples from my time at Davey Tree.
I obtained my internship position through networking alone—this position was not listed on any job or internship boards. Early on in my Kent PR career, I knew I was interested in corporate communications. Planning ahead, I started networking and developing relationships with employees at local corporations. I connected to the vice president of corporate communications and corporate strategy through PRSSA Kent. Since networking with her, I kept communication open by sending an email every now and then. When I was in the position to do so, I asked if there were any opportunities for internships, and there was. Without networking, I would have not had the opportunity to intern at Davey Tree.
For my internship credit at Kent State, I was required to intern for at least 300 hours. Because I’ve had such an amazing experience at Davey Tree, I’ve extended my internship far beyond the 300-hour mark.
Internships are invaluable experiences that you should never discount. Graduating with five internships under my belt, I am confident to tackle the entry-level world. Below are the most important pieces of advice I’ve learned over the years:
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at the below media. Go PR Kent!
Follow Trenton on Twitter @trentchavez, connect with him on LinkedIn and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.