PRSSA Kent State University
by Sydney Baltrusaitis
After spending more than three months at Sterling Jewelers Inc, I have learned valuable skills from hands-on experience. Part of my job as a market research intern is to monitor social media mentions made about Kay, Jared and competitors of the two. Prior to my internship, I was uncertain how brands create content for social media channels, and time and effort behind it.
A valuable learning experience for me was assisting in the content development for Jared. I was able to give suggestions and recommendations along with provide additional content. Before the content was scheduled for posting, the draft was seen by a variety of people and was revised multiple times. I was able to assist during this process and noted valuable feedback from our social media agency.
During my time spent interning at Sterling, a commercial that was later seen as controversial by some was being aired. Based on social media mentions that came through a monitoring tool, all sentiment was recorded. Following, all the decisions made were based on research, regardless of the negativity that may be surrounding a topic at the time. I found this experience important, because it shows that every decision should have validity.
I was able to develop a voice for Kay and Jared on social media channels. In addition, understanding the tone of a comment as positive, negative or neutral has been beneficial during research projects. The skills learned at Sterling will be able to help me in the future.
As my internship is coming to a close, I am able to identify that I want to go into corporate public relations. Prior to my internship, I was unsure what culture was the best fit for my personality.
by Helen Steward
My internship at The Davey Tree Expert Company this semester has been one of the most valuable experiences at Kent State thus far. I was extremely nervous on my first day at Davey, but I quickly came to realize that I had been well prepared through my academic courses and prior work experiences.
My responsibilities at Davey varied daily, and that was part of what made the experience so worthwhile and enjoyable. Some of the tasks that were solely my responsibility were keeping up the Davey.com newsroom, putting all clips into the Davey portal, drafting any and all press releases and finding where and who to send the releases to. Some of my other responsibilities included calling reporters, attending meetings for sponsorships, calling other Davey offices for information, writing stories for newsletters, writing for an internal PR update, contributing my ideas and skills to two different campaigns and researching various things.
One of my favorite things from my internship experience was having such a knowledgeable and caring boss, who was really a mentor to me as well. Jen was always open to any new ideas I could bring to the table and always gave me feedback on my work so that I always knew where I stood. The biggest lesson I learned from being at Davey is that communication is crucial. Whether it is with a boss or a reporter, if you are unsure of what someone is telling you, it is crucial that you get clarification in order to ensure everything is being done correctly.
The best advice I could give to future student interns is to be willing to try everything, and always ask your boss if there is anything you can help he or she with to lighten their load. This is your chance to learn and try anything and everything you can while you are still a student. Be the hardest working person in the office, and the most diverse and your internship will leave you with an invaluable experience.
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.
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.
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.