Senior obtains internship with Jackson National Life Insurance after working in student role

Posted on: March 10, 2017

After working for two and a half years at the Jackson Zone on Grand River Avenue in East Lansing, advertising senior Mitch Marier is now the corporate social responsibility intern at the Jackson National Life Insurance headquarters in Lansing.

“Shortly after I started working at thePicture1 Jackson Zone, I was assigned more responsibilities,” Marier said. “I started with entering data into their systems and the more comfortable I became, I started doing customer service calls. It was cool to get my hands on a variety of tasks and growing my skills in an area I never thought I would.”

Marier said while he worked at the Zone, he took advantage of their programs such as resume building and networking 101. They would often have leadership chats, where the executives from Jackson would come in and talk more about future career opportunities with their company.

“I definitely think Jackson’s career prep for students helped me tremendously in getting my first internship at the State of Michigan,” Marier said. “I gained experience at this first internship in writing and event planning, which I knew would translate well to the internship I have now with Jackson.”

“Jackson in Action” is Jackson’s internal volunteer team and it has its own email inbox. When people want to sign up for service projects, Marier is their point of contact. He also updates the internal website with content and writes recap stories, then shares them with the rest of the company to share all of the good work Jackson is doing.

Another part of the internship is promoting the volunteer events themselves. Marier’s last project was organizing Jackson volunteers for Impression 5 Science Center’s LEGOPalooza. Marier set up the schedule and was the main contact for Impression 5. Along with large events with local nonprofits, Marier also facilitates volunteering events such as cooking dinners at the Ronald McDonald House of Mid-Michigan or the Mother Theresa House in Lansing.

“I love going to these community events and seeing the people Jackson helps,” Marier said. “It’s amazing to actually see the tangible effects Jackson has on the Lansing community.”

Marier said seeing the financial impact that Jackson has on the community is one of his favorite parts of the internship.

“Seeing smiles on people's faces is so worth the work I do every day,” Marier said. “It’s great to be a part of a company that really cares about its community. Being from the area especially, it’s great to see how committed Jackson is to the Lansing region.”

Every two weeks Jackson also does a ‘jeans day.’ Everyone pays $5 each to wear jeans and each day it goes to a different charity. Marier always helps put together the promotional material for this and he also helps promote internal communications such as making posters of calendars with upcoming volunteer opportunities.

Currently, Marier is working on a story about the Jackson Zone. It’s about what the Zone does and how employees can work part-time and gain valuable business experience. The stories he writes go out to Jackson’s business partners, in the quarterly newsletter and Jackson’s website.

With a minor in public relations, Marier became heavily involved with the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) his junior year. He was also on the media relations team of MSU’s student-run PR firm, Hubbell Connections. Marier learned of the internship with Jackson through the PRSSA weekly email blast.

“I definitely wouldn’t have gotten either of my internships without PRSSA,” Marier said. “Hubbell Connections is what I talked about in my interviews. These groups at MSU introduce you to what potential employers want from you and the portfolio you should have. They have definitely prepared me for interviews, internships and given me valuable writing samples for the future.”

By Meg Dedyne

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Field Experience program gives students a glimpse at life in the Big City

Posted on: January 11, 2017

By Emmy Virkus, Senior AD+PR Major

Just a couple of days after Michigan State University released students for winter break, I had an amazing opportunity to travel to the Windy City with 38 other students and two faculty members. During this experience with ADV 402, a field experience course offered at ComArtSci, we visited several companies in the advertising and public relations field. We were able to make connections with MSU alumni and gain a firm grasp on how the communications industry thrives in Chicago.

c0n2nfoviaesj-k-jpg-largeMy study away trip was insightful, reassuring and most importantly, fun! Each student was assigned to their own itinerary for the week, which included a list of companies and times that we had to report to each one. While our faculty leaders John Besley and Andy Corner were there to make sure things ran smoothly, each student was primarily responsible for their own transportation to each site, living arrangements, food and free time, which we all made sure to take great advantage of.

Our group visited a total of 22 companies in a span of four days. Students were given the option to arrive in Chicago a day early to explore and prepare for a non-required visit Monday morning at the top public relations firm in the United States, Edelman. For me, this addition to the trip was extra exciting because I plan to build a career in Public Relations. As a bonus, Edelman has been on my radar as a potential place to work for quite some time. Some of my best friends came on the trip as well, so we took an early train in on Sunday morning and had a free day to walk around, eat some Lou Malnati’s pizza (yum) and soak in the city lights before our busy week.

A common message that a lot of these companies told us was that a company’s collaborative, fun culture is the key to success. Going by the “work hard, play hard” motto, employers stressed how important it is to consider your co-workers as family and friends, and maintaining close relationships with them outside of the office. One of my favorite takeaways from this trip was hearing the stories from MSU alumni about how they got to where they are today. As some students have already started to hit the panic button because they haven’t found a job yet, these employers made sure to emphasize how success will find its way if we stay persistent, confident and true to our values.

c0ssjfguuaaxuiq-jpg-largeOn Tuesday night, we had a student and alumni mixer set up for us at a restaurant called BlackFinn. Since going to each company consisted of group tours and soaking in a lot of information, it was difficult to stand out and talk to employers one-on-one. This was a great chance to be more personal with the alumni, exchange business cards and ask last-minute questions about their work. It was a great way to relieve stress while getting to know everybody on a personal and professional level and my favorite portion of our week.

This was my second field experience trip with ADV 402 (first being in Los Angeles), and I strongly encourage all students to take advantage of these special opportunities. To gain perspective from a wide range of professionals, while building connections at the same time, isn’t something you get in the classroom. My eyes have been opened on these trips because now I know what I want to do, what I don’t want to do, where I want to live and I have a great list of contacts to help me along the way.

Thank you to #ComArtSci, our alumni and our universal Spartan Network!

A full list of companies visited:

Edelman, Starcom, Burson-Marsteller, H+K, Leo Burnett, MSL Group, Zocalo Group, Ketchum, Zeno Group, Mosaic, Jascula Terman, Groupon, Intersport, Current Marketing, Finn Partners, Weber Shandwick, Ogilvy, Big Ten Network, Walker Sands, Fishman Public Relations, Time Inc. and Henson Consulting.

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Public speaking, confidence and media experience gained at Starcom internship

Posted on: January 6, 2017

Advertising senior Monica Fleming gained exposure to the media industry strengthened her public speaking and presentation skills, and gained personal and professional confidence all in one short summer at Starcom USA in Chicago.

picture1Starcom, USA is a media and advertising agency that specializes in technology and data. Fleming said throughout her internship with Starcom, she developed an unexpected interest in the technology sector.

As a digital media intern, Fleming would work on individual projects and reach out to partners such as Spotify, Pandora, Yahoo and Google in order to track impressions based on whether they were over or under expectations for that month. If impressions were under, she would negotiate another campaign to try to increase exposure.

One cool aspect of Fleming’s internship was that she exclusively worked on the Wrigley Company account, and the digital delivery team, giving her a lot of experience. Along with keeping up with competitor’s campaigns, like Starbucks and Skittles, she also got to practice her presentation skills.

“One of my goals was to work on my speaking skills,” Fleming said. “I started out with giving short presentations to my team on industry news, AP trends, actualizing budgets, media tools and sponsored post commercials. Each week I would add more and more and I started to notice how comfortable I was getting. I think what helped me is that in the beginning, I told myself that everyone was an intern and in college at some point and not everyone was always great at public speaking. It takes practice.”

Starcom helped Fleming grow both professionally and personally.

“At the beginning of my internship, I was definitely more timid,” Fleming said. “You don’t always know what the boundaries are when starting a new position. If you would have told me all of the things I accomplished and the experience I gained at the beginning of my internship, I wouldn’t have believed you.”

One of the things Fleming strived to do during her internship was always keep busy and always ask if there was anything more she could be doing to help her team.

Fleming also wrote biweekly newsletters for her team, keeping them up-to-date with Adweek tips, fun facts about people on the team, and other news and information she found during her research.

“I was surprised at how many moving parts there are when you are working in media,” Fleming said. “I once took a media planning course and it was kind of intimidating. I never really saw myself doing a lot of programming, but then I found that I really like the media landscape. This summer my focus was what’s happening now and the newest trends associated with that.”

Fleming said her biggest piece of advice would be to get comfortable with being interviewed. She suggests trying to do as many interviews as possible to practice and improve your skills.

“By now, I feel like I have it down, especially with phone interviews. I got more confident and in the end, those practice interviews prepared me for my interviews with Starcom,” Fleming said.

Fleming also recognized that her educational experiences helped her to get the most out of her internship.

“In the end, I think MSU definitely prepared me for Starcom,” Fleming said. “And ComArtSci prepared me well for different aspects in the media industry.”

By Meg Dedyne

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ComArtSci junior finds her fit in nonprofit and public relations industries

Posted on: December 8, 2016

When junior Erika Nichols chose advertising as her major, she added a minor in public relations as a backup plan without ever having taken a class on the subject. After exploring her new minor through the writing for public relations class in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences and her marketing and public relations internship with the Henry Ford Macomb Hospital in Clinton Township, Nichols quickly learned that the public relations industry was for her.

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“As a I got further into my internship, I really started liking PR and I’ve learned a lot so far from my mentors and by talking to people,” Nichols said.

Nichols was put in touch with the marketing director for the hospital last spring and said she got the courage to call the director and talk about the industry. After speaking with her and asking questions, Nichols was offered the internship.

As the only intern, Nichols was responsible for writing press releases and developing social media posts, even creating a few campaigns. She also wrote an article that was featured in their quarterly magazine.

One of her campaigns was called “Wellness Wednesday,” where the hospital partnered with the local mall. Nichols would go to free exercise events and hand out giveaways and pamphlets promoting health. She would then take photos for the hospital’s Instagram, Twitter and Facebook channels. The campaign reached a wide variety of people and created engagement on the page. Nichols said it was great to see these results.

Nichols said with tasks, such as the article she wrote for the quarterly newsletter, she had to do a lot of research in order to accomplish her goals.

“By doing research and collecting data, I found that I was able to complete the interview and article successfully,” Nichols said. “Learning how to complete this process was a great experience.”

She also learned important tools such as Google Analytics, Microsoft Excel and the importance of getting to know her co-workers and her office system.

“My supervisor asked me when I first started what I was interested in and at that point I was interested in learning everything,” Nichols said. “I really focused on social media and writing. I now understand how corporate social media works and little things, like which hashtag will be more effective. I didn’t realize how important writing was to the industry until my internship. I did everything from writing emails for people to press releases to refine my writing skills.”

Nichols stressed that an internship is what you make of it and that it’s important to figure out if you want to work for a nonprofit or for profit entity. She said she would like to explore more nonprofit experiences in her future because it’s important to her to feel like she is helping someone and making a difference. However, she also wants to find an internship elsewhere that’s a for profit company, just to view all options.

“I got to do great things during my internship and, most importantly, see results,” Nichols said. “I got one-on-one experiences with other professionals, sat down with PR people and I got to personalize my experience. I could see my work directly affecting people and inspiring them to want to change their health. It’s not about a number, it’s about a person and it’s nice to know your work is going to be viewed and affect other people.”

Nichols’ advice to other students is to talk to people you know about their experiences.

“That it the best way to learn something,” Nichols said. “Never discredit a connection; dive deeper into their field or any field you may be interested in. Have a set of questions to interview them; that is what sticks in my mind. Interviewing people in your field will open so many doors for you.”

By Meg Dedyne

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Advertising senior gets glimpse of fashion industry in New York City

Posted on: November 28, 2016

In one summer, advertising senior Kelsey McArdle learned how to channel her confidence into an editorial internship at Mood of Living Magazine under renowned fashion director, Kate Moodie.

As a student pursuing a minor in graphic design, McArdlepicture1 worked a lot with the graphic design team at the magazine. In addition, she reached out to public relations contacts, went to trade show events and worked on developing her social media and copywriting skills.

Photography is something McArdle first started testing out in middle school, which led her to an interest in graphic design and now she is involved and interested in the lifestyle industry.

Moodie assigned the interns each an area of the fashion industry to focus their efforts on during the internship. McArdle was placed in athletic wear.

“After a few weeks, Kate put us in an industry she could see us doing well in,” McArdle said. “Fashion is a lot of pressure, but I had a lot of fun working with athletic wear. I still had that fashion interest, but I also played a lot of sports in high school. It was a good balance.”

McArdle said she learned a lot working for a smaller startup, such as getting through some of the challenges that the magazine experienced like the magazine redoing their business plan and seeing the different responsibilities that were on their plates daily.

“You develop a certain confidence and grow a thicker skin working in this type of industry,” McArdle said. “People won’t really stop and wait for you to get on track, you just have to dive right in and really believe in yourself. Each situation will benefit you in the end and you will see growth and positive aspects.”

McArdle said she started looking for a summer internship early last fall since her friends told her to start looking right away. She found the Mood for Living editorial internship on a website she learned about through other advertising students.

“I didn’t really think I would end up in New York City, but I knew I wanted to end up in a big city, so I was thrilled,” McArdle said. “I didn’t know what to expect before going to New York and it was definitely overwhelming, but I would go back in a heartbeat.”

VIM Magazine at MSU is an organization McArdle is currently involved in. She said the skills she learned as a member helped her to prepare and make connections for internships and her future career.

“My interest in fashion has been a lot more recent, but I liked having a clear purpose to it,” McArdle said. “I think being a part of VIM has given me an image of who I want to be someday.”

To find opportunities, McArdle recommended that students simply have a conversation with their peers. Sometimes they can point you in exactly the right direction.

“Talk to people who are interested in what you want to pursue and ask them where they are applying,” McArdle said. “Talk to people in your circles and those who currently have the internships or jobs that you want.”

McArdle said she would love to continue a career in the lifestyle industry and that she would like to end up back in New York.

“Don’t be scared to go after something that you really want; you are going to regret not applying,” McArdle said. “I definitely want people to set their sights high. I never would have expected this.”

By Meg Dedyne

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Advertising senior learns the power of ‘thank you’ at her internship

Posted on: October 21, 2016

cassandrajonesIn one summer, advertising senior Cassandra Jones learned the importance of balance, working with a team in a professional setting, asking questions and the power of a simple thank you.

Jones interned with IPG Mediabrands in Birmingham, Michigan, as a diversified portfolio management intern.

So, what exactly does a diversified portfolio management intern do?

“I was the link between our clients and people that wanted us to advertise with them,” Jones said. “I also got to work on a campaign for Google from the ground up; everything from budget to creative ideas. We got to pitch it to Google at the end of the summer which was an amazing experience.”

Other aspects of her summer internship included helping clients and advertisers establish the creative avenues that were best for them and what they could afford.

“At my internship, I really learned how to balance a 40-hour work week and the rest of my life,” Jones said. “I learned to not be afraid of asking questions when I didn’t understand something.”

One thing Jones really liked about IPG is that everyone was very family-oriented, warm and willing to help, no matter what department they were in.

Jones stressed the importance of sending a personal thank you card and how she believes this made her stand out before she obtained the internship with IPG.

“Always say thank you!” Jones said. “I think that really stood out to them.”

Once obtaining an internship, Jones’ advice is to go above and beyond what your employer is asking of you. She also added that you shouldn’t be afraid of rejection. Sometimes it takes applying for several internships or jobs before you find the right fit for you.

“I worked really hard and ended up with a job offer at the end of the summer and other students who had graduated, were offered jobs too,” Jones said.

Beyond the internship

Jones really enjoyed her experience and likes the idea that public relations and advertising can mold people’s perceptions. However, she is also interested in event planning and doing public relations for a professional sports team.

“I was pretty much the event planner for all of my friends throughout high school,” Jones said. “And so I thought, what could I do for the rest of my life that I loved so much that I wouldn’t care if I got paid? Event planning came to mind.”

Her love of sports came from playing them growing up and being in the Spartan Marching Band for four years.

“Even if I am not playing sports, I still want to be around the atmosphere,” Jones said. “It’s great to be around that dedication and drive.”

ComArtSci connections

Jones recommends that other students attend the ComArtSci Connect Career Fair in the spring for internships, full time positions and also to network with companies and agencies. She added that she obtained her internship with IPG after speaking with them at the career fair.

She is currently working as the student communications assistant for culinary at MSU and attributes her success to the experience she has attained through the help of ComArtSci and the career services office.

By Meg Dedyne

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MSU advertising senior landed internship in BCBG’s LA showroom

Posted on: October 13, 2016

Katherine Barker’s mom knew since her daughter was a young girl, that she would go into advertising. She used to sit on the floor, looking at all of the different magazine ads and was fascinated by them. As she grew older and eventually came to MSU, she combined her love for advertising with a passion for fashion, sales and creativity.

picture1Barker graduated from MSU in August of 2016 in creative advertising. Before graduation, she moved out to Los Angeles and spent her summer as an LA showroom intern for BCBGMAXAZRIA, a women’s clothing chain ranging from evening gowns to workwear.

“I think I got my interest in fashion from always wanting to be put together and feeling confident in myself,” Barker said. “BCBG’s lines definitely promote confidence for women.”

During her internship, Barker experienced the inner workings of a showroom. She would check in samples from corporate, make tags for samples, steam samples and take care of other logistical components of getting the showroom ready.

Along with learning what goes into putting together a successful showroom, Barker also job shadowed in other departments, such as advertising and styling.

“It was so cool because looking at the website, I can pick out the models that I styled during my internship,” Barker said. “It was really neat because I got the whole view of the company.”

Barker also assisted with LA market week, which happens once every other month. She said the environment was creative and fun. It gave her the opportunity to connect with people from all over the world.

“I had so much fun with the people I worked with and our clients,” Barker said. “I think that’s what makes you want to work for a company – a good work environment and the people.”

Barker said she was surprised by how talented, down to earth and genuine people are in the fashion industry.

“Everyone has the idea that it is going to be like ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ or something like that,” Barker said. “But everyone in the industry has their own personalities and style, which is what makes an awesome company too.”

An internship with the corporate side of BCBG sparked Barker’s interest. She previously  worked for a BCBG store for three years prior to applying. However, she said obtaining the job was more about building her relationships through the BCBG brand.

“I knew I wanted to work for BCBG corporate, so I voiced this to my district manager,” Barker said. “I think I eventually got the internship because I networked, asked to do informational interviews and formed relationships with people all before submitting my application.”

BCBG emphasizes the importance of building customer relationships and because of that Barker discovered an interest she didn’t know she had – sales.

“I am starting to really like sales, but how BCBG does sales,” Barker said. “They want you to get to know each person and form a connection, so it didn’t really feel like sales to me, it felt like one of my friends was coming into the showroom.”

Barker said her creative advertising classes at MSU helped her come up with out-of-the-box and innovative ideas. When other people that she worked with thought of weird and quirky things, she got to contribute her creativity to their ideas as well.

“If you want to go into fashion, don’t be intimidated,” Barker said. “If you start networking early, branding yourself and talking to those around you, you will be surprised at how rewarding the industry can be.”

By Meg Dedyne

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Multicultural ad agency opens new doors through media internship

Posted on: October 7, 2016

maya-parnell

Advertising senior Maya Parnell not only learned how to strategize and generate new ideas during her media internship at UniWorld Group Inc., she also learned something she never expected. She learned about people.

When Parnell started at UniWorld Group Inc., a multicultural advertising agency headquartered in New York City, she said she learned so much about media planning, project management and how to effectively implement these tools while studying people.

Some of UniWorld Group Inc.’s clients are Ford, Colgate, Home Depot and Amtrak.

Part of what Parnell did at her internship was analyze how people shop and carry out everyday tasks, then she made comparisons between the two. She understands that culture is ingrained in so many things people do.

“I learned when you see differences in people, not to look at it as a place of criticism; there is an understanding, underlying reason for everything; you just have to look at it closer,” Parnell said.

Being in a place like New York City really opened new doors for Parnell. She expressed that being in a culturally rich place made her realize that there is something for everything and everybody.

“I learned to understand the culture of the city better,” Parnell said. “I learned to take on new experiences and embrace them. I ate alone, I learned to adapt and do things on my own. You have to be a fast-paced learner, attentive and above all, resourceful.”

Parnell credits her internship experience and career connections to MSU alumni, the ComArtSci Career Services and the Connect Career trip to New York City. She interned two years ago at UniWorld Group Inc.’s office in Michigan and loved the company’s culture and the work that they did. She stayed in contact with the human resources department and when she went on the New York Connect Career trip, she contacted their headquarters and obtained a summer internship through her connections.

“The career trip to New York opened up my mind to a lot more possibilities,” Parnell said. “There is a freedom in being fearless. If you go for it and work hard, you will get the outcome that you want.”

Parnell’s advice for other students is to be resourceful because there is MSU alumni everywhere. If people know that you are interested, there are people that will help you make connections.

“Just because you don’t have a blueprint, doesn’t mean it can’t happen,” Parnell said. “The worst thing you can do is try and it not work out. You never know what is waiting for you.”

By Meg Dedyne

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Career fair and advertising trip lead to internship in New York

Posted on: September 16, 2016

unnamedAdvertising senior, Alexis Dammar, took all the right steps during her junior year to acquire an internship position at New York City-based media buying agency Optimedia this past summer. Dammar said she couldn’t have secured her spot as a national media investment intern without the help of the ComArtSci Connect Career Fair and the advertising 402, spring trip to New York.

Her persistence started with a visit to the Optimedia booth at the career fair in February to tell them how much she was looking forward to visiting their company on the upcoming trip.

“I knew I wanted to intern in New York this past summer and I knew who we would be visiting on the trip,” Dammar said. “I just used those pieces to connect with Optimedia and create a good flow of conversation.”

After the initial conversation, Dammar was invited to do a phone interview, and soon after, an in-person interview during her class trip to New York. Dammar was prepared for her interview and headed home with the internship.

During her internship, Dammar got to talk to some big networks, such as A&E. She would keep in touch with the network representatives and track their advertisements. She would also create a weekly highlight schedule for the commercials of some of their clients.

Dammar said she got to know her peers on a personal level and made friends with her intern team. But she advises students to know when to be social and know when it’s time to work during your internship.

“I demonstrated that I was willing to do anything and had a positive attitude throughout my entire internship,” Dammar said. “I felt like I created a good balance for myself when it came to work and then fun events.”

Some of the events Dammar got to attend were hosted by popular names, such as Nick At Nite. She felt grateful to be invited to networking events and took full advantage of the opportunity to introduce herself to others.

“Always be willing to talk to others and learn new things,” Dammar said. “They can always help you. Connections are everywhere; never count yourself out.”

Dammar was thrilled with the alumni network that the students met in New York. After she graduates in December, Dammar hopes to become one of those New York Spartans with a fresh start in the city.

“Go to the career fairs and take full advantage of the opportunities in ComArtSci,” Dammar said. “The connections you make with companies and Spartan alumni really do make a difference.”

By Meg Dedyne

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Entertainment internship leads advertising senior into career in music

Posted on: September 2, 2016

Ben Grider

Senior Ben Grider always thought he wanted to start his advertising career after MSU in the film industry. It wasn’t until after his internship with Meridian Entertainment Group that he realized a career in music was much more his style.

He was thrilled when he landed a summer internship as a marketing intern at Meridian Entertainment Group, because he was able to put entertainment experience on his resume.

“I felt a very big sense of importance,” said Grider. “I didn’t expect to feel like I had such a large impact in preparation for concerts. When I went to shows, I looked around and felt proud that I was a part of these productions.”

Grider said he was excited to have large responsibilities, even as an intern. Meridian Entertainment Group facilitates large concerts and shows, such as Lansing’s Common Ground. There are around seven full time employees and Grider was one of a few interns for the summer.

“The coolest part of our team was that there are essentially a handful of people that put on these massive shows,” Grider said. “It’s an incredible feeling.”

As part of his internship, Grider would reach out to artists and their publicists, try to obtain merchandise that they could give to radio stations, coordinate interviews between artists and media outlets, and even indirectly tell Johnny Depp what to do.

Part of Grider’s role included trying to persuade artists to create shout out videos for the Meridian Entertainment Group shows. Hollywood Vampire, featuring Johnny Depp, shot a video mentioning their show at Soaring Eagle Casino.

“Watching something like that just again makes me feel like the work I am doing is impacting fans, artists and the music community,” Grider said. “I never thought I would have experiences like this in college.”

Talking on the phone with publicists and being in a constant professional environment made Grider comfortable speaking in front of others. He said he learned a lot about patience and dealing with all types of personalities.

During his undergraduate career Grider received the Sven Kins Scholarship Award, which helped him focus on gaining experience.

“There was never a day where I didn’t want to go to work,” Grider said. “The staff was incredible, the people were awesome and I was able to ask everyone the questions I had about the music industry.”

By Meg Dedyne

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