Closing Time

Posted on: June 27, 2017

This blog was originally published on the MSU Mass Media 2017 Blog.

Well, it’s really over. The best five weeks of my life have officially come to a close, and it’s hard for me not to tear up (or sob violently) as I sit at my airport gate writing this. This trip has taught me more about myself, more about others, more about media, more about culture than I thought I could learn in a mere five weeks. At first that seems like a long time, but I could have sworn that I was packing up nervously for my flight to Belfast just yesterday. Julia5

As it relates to mass media, I’ve learned that the atmosphere and environment in Scotland is quite different than in the United States. However, I found it to be most similar to Ireland out of all of the stops on our tour of the United Kingdom.

The Irish and Scottish people communicated in similar ways. First of all, both groups were blunt, fairly loud and looking for a good time. They swear freely, saying words that you wouldn’t dare say aloud in the United States. Just this morning on my cab ride to the airport, my driver was explaining to me his thoughts on the English people. The English are too quiet, according to the driver, and they hold their thoughts back.  He believed that anyone who wasn’t from England and who spoke on the tube would feel extremely out of place since all of the English people would just stare at you. The Scots, however, are blunt and will give it to you straight. You never have to guess what they are thinking. Though not as apparent as in Scotland, I did notice plenty of brutally honest remarks in Ireland.

In the United States, I think there is a fair mix of the two. Since our country is so diverse and has as many different types of people as it does, you will come across people who are passive aggressive and keep to themselves, those who will say every unfiltered thought that crosses their mind and every combination of traits in between.

Whereas London is more similar to the United States in regards to population diversity, Scotland and Ireland seemed to consist of mainly Scottish and mainly Irish people, respectively. The communities were not as diverse as other areas we have visited, or as diverse as it is back in the United States. The Scottish and Irish people seemed to be more driven by their heritage and families. This is evident especially when you stop to consider the importance of tartans and family names in Scotland, along with the naming of children based on religion in Northern Ireland.

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Another similarity between Ireland and Scotland is the use of language and dialects. In both countries, English is spoken most commonly, but Gaelic is spoken throughout as well. Aside from that, the Irish and Scottish accents were definitely the most challenging for me to understand in the time we spent there. I feel bad for the locals, actually, because even though I tried my best, sometimes my lack of understanding their thick, fast-paced accents just made both of our lives more difficult.

The use of specific words differed between Scotland and America as well. You wouldn’t think that two predominantly English-speaking countries could have that many differences in language. It was definitely a learning experience, but now I can direct anyone to the toilets, cash machines or lifts. Though at first I was confused at all of the differences and felt silly asking for the “toilets” rather than the bathroom, it started to make much more sense. All of the phrases they use are actually far more straightforward than what we you use. “The ATM? … No… where you get money from… ATM? A-T-M? Oh, sure, cash machine, yes!” I honestly couldn’t even tell you what ATM stands for without looking it up, but cash machine is so simple and tells you exactly what it does. A machine that dispenses cash. Where’s the confusion there, I ask you?

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As far as broadcast media goes, Scotland and America differ quite a bit as well. We visited BBC Scotland in Glasgow and learned all about the function of the British Broadcast Corporation. The BBC is a publicly funded news corporation that doesn’t air commercials and relies on payments from British citizens to survive. They are completely unbiased, and the goal of the company is to be the most accurate, not the fastest to release the news. Since they depend on the public to exist, the public depends on them to give out the most accurate information, not simply speculations that come in quickly during a breaking news event. In the United States, however, publicly funded news companies such as PBS and NPR are not nearly as popular as the biased, privately funded news stations such as CNN and Fox. These type of news stations in the United States seem to make it a priority to be the first to break a story. From the perspective of a viewer, they are more focused on winning the race than presenting full and accurate information. There is no “fake news” coming from the BBC, which is a refreshing change of events.

Similar or different from where I come from, I have truly loved every minute of this trip and every place I have been privileged enough to go to. Each country taught me something new about the world that I never dreamed of knowing. What always intrigued me on this trip was how no matter where we were, whether at a small advertising agency in Cardiff or a major broadcasting company in Glasgow, I looked around and thought, “I could definitely see myself living and working here.” I’ve always dreamed of going abroad, and I could not have asked for a more incredible, formative experience than what I was just given. I definitely am not ready to leave this life that I’ve been living for the past five weeks, but I know that I will take the friends I’ve made and the lessons I’ve learned back home with me and carry them with me for the rest of my life. If after five weeks you guys are still reading these blogs, thanks to all of my family for getting me here and for always supporting my crazy dreams.

“Closing time, every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

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By Julia Swoish

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Half Way There

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I felt in touch with the Italian importance of family as I stood outside of my apartment complex chatting with my sister for upwards of an hour - attempting to extend our short time together. She had been visiting for three days when an unfortunate bout of food poisoning interfered. After a trip to Freni e Frenzione for apertivo (still a great place...but maybe only for drinks now), me, my roommate and my sisters two friends were left with a situation. Though I've had run ins with unpleasant stomach flus and food poisoning before, this seemed especially traumatic. With only a limited time in Rome and with my sister, I was at a loss.

However, I was not going to let some uncontrollable event control my trip. Instead of whining and moping around, I tried to experience a different side of Rome. One where food or traveling distances to see the city was not the highlight of the day. I attempted to see Rome in the perspective of someone who had lived there for years.

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Before, I spent my days soaking in everything around Trastevere and surrounding areas. With food poisoning - that wasn't exactly doable. My days were instead spent appreciating my apartment. This may sound silly - but it's the truth. I now realize how much I enjoy the little kids yelling and giggling with each other after school in the middle of the apartment complex day after day. The balcony where I've seen some of my ultimate favorite sunsets holds more meaning to me than it originally did. The shower which isn't always a reliable source of warmth has charm. There isn't anything I can criticize in terms of my apartment; because even if I was stuck in my apartment - I was stuck in my apartment in an incredible city. The fact that I was even in Rome seemed to simply be enough.

And now - after hugging my sister for the final time until Christmas- the apartment complex door has new meaning. The little things can be enjoyable and truly culminate the real feeling of living in a foreign city for a period of time. An unfortunate experience like food poisoning taught me to stop constant exploration- if only for a little - in order to see life from a new perspective.

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As quick as events can turn sour though, they can also turn very sweet very quickly. I'm now returning from a weekend spent in Tuscany where I have again seen a new side of Italy. When I was young, I went to Florence and Cortona with my family. Returning to Florence and the Tuscan sun was an entirely new experience from when I was last here. In Florence, the Uffizi Gallery intrigued me rather than made me crave another helping of gelato (as it had when I was ten). Obviously, a vineyard was not in my top five places to be when I was in Tuscany last. But now, I can appreciate the art of wine tasting and the incredible food and views it has to offer. As strange as it may be, an inconvenience such as food poisoning aided in my further appreciation for Rome.

By Maura Bayagich

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Cucinando in Rome con Sparty

Posted on: June 26, 2017

Future MSU students studying abroad, Sparty is here to help you along on your Italian journey! Here are 10 tips that can help improve your experience: Kitchen Sparty

1. Homesickness will hit everyone at some point or another. Do not worry.

2. 6 weeks will go by faster than you think, so do everything you want to do, set dates for what you want to do and do it.

3. Wait to get a sim card in Italy, it's cheaper and safer.

4. Learn how to say “posso avere.” Italians will love you for it.

5. Go to every church you see - it’s a free museum. This means always be dressed for churches. Crop tops are not acceptable.

6. One of the best things you can do is get lost.

7. Bring comfortable clothing. You walk a lot and it’s hotter than you think.

8. Don't text during Laura's tours.

9. This is your chance to do everything you want, you shouldn't let anyone else define what your experience should be.

*Before the above photo was taken, the paper towel caught on fire and almost burned down the apartment* This takes us to our last tip...

10. Don’t put paper next to a gas stove. Disclaimer: no Sparty or study abroad students were harmed in the making of this blog post.

By Lexi Popovich

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“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”

Posted on: June 22, 2017

This post was originally published on the MSU Mass Media 2017 blog. 

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Sparty here! What a long, awesome day. When we woke up in Ballintoy, which is miniscule in comparison to Michigan State, we all packed up our bags and left our first hostel stay of the trip. We hopped back on the bus and head out for our first destination: Dunseverick Castle.

Dunseverick Castle was much different than the castle we went to on Wednesday. This castle is entirely in ruins, and the only parts of it left are two big, stone pillars. It wasn’t a long stop since there wasn’t a ton to look at, but it’s definitely interesting to see how time changes things. I mean, when you stop and think about it, back when that castle stood in all of its glory, I wouldn’t have been able to write a blog post about it.

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From there, we headed over to Derry, where we explored the wall surrounding the old city and learned its history. The wall was used to protect those in the old city from cannons being fired from enemies when the people of Derry were at war. Though they could fire over the wall, it was a smart tactic to build the wall so thick so that it was difficult to break through.

My favorite part of the day was hiking with all of the students up Slieve League, the tallest sea cliffs in Europe. It was hard to keep up since my legs are so much shorter than everyone else’s, and it was one of the warmest days Ireland has seen so far this year, but that four-mile hike was well worth it. The view was breathtaking, even for a doll who never breathed in the first place.

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If you’re interested, Shamrocker Tours posted a picture of us on their Instagram page, so go check it out! Staying at the hostel and being up in the mountains for so long these past few days have made me realize how much we rely on technology, and how we panic when we lose service or Wi-Fi. It has been an eye-opening experience to see how normal it is for people in other areas can do so easily without media and excessive technology.

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Sparty Takes on the Guinness Factory

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This post was originally published on the MSU Mass Media 2017 blog. 

Today I had the great honor of going to the Guinness Storehouse with my friend Trevor. I was really excited to learn and taste the best beer in Dublin. I have personally never tasted a Guinness, but Trevor assured me that I would like it. When we arrived to the factory I was shocked at the size of the property. I learned that Guinness was founded in 1759 by Arthur Guinness with a 45 pound loan for 9,000 years. The tour was very insightful, but I felt I would’ve learned more if we had a tour guide.

Trevor1Trevor and I were happy to learn that Guinness had a whole floor dedicated to advertising. They had ads dating back to the beginning of their company. The picture below is from the first time Guinness was featured in a national paper. It was really neat to see that they have preserved Guinness artifacts, and that they are still in great shape today.

Another thing that we learned was that Guinness is important to the economy and the community. They sponsor many local events and have a great reputation as a whole organization.Trevor2

At the end of the tour we were treated to a fresh cold pint in their gravity bar. This bar is a 360 degree bar with great views of Dublin. I will say the I am not a fan of the beer, but I did learn a lot today. I can’t wait to tell my other friends about this day! I would also like to thank   Trevor for being a great guide, and for being an even better friend!

By Trevor Goslin (aka "Sparty)

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Junior Gains Presentation Skills and Confidence Through Internship With The Big Ten Network

Posted on: April 27, 2017

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After a successful internship reporting on live TV for a local news station in Nantucket, advertising junior Kayla Wright set her sights on the Big Ten Network. She applied for MSU BTN, even though she knew there were an overwhelming number of applicants. She got the interview, was offered the internship and was thrilled to accept it.

Wright was the marketing intern for MSU BTN this past year and helped set up the Big Ten tailgate, assisted with advertising, set up home basketball games and, with the help of another intern, facilitated the Instagram contest at each home basketball game.

“It was all about getting the fans that were coming to the games interested in doing the Instagram contest,” Wright said. “We even got to present our ideas for the contest to the BTN marketing team in Chicago. This required knowing a lot about Big Ten, having confidence and being prepared. It was a great challenge.”

Some of Wright’s ideas included using props for the contest with the hashtag visible on them, so people would remember and use it. She also suggested that the interns go to the games after they run the contest to be more educated on what BTN was covering that day.

Interning for a large company like BTN taught Wright the importance of being professional, being on time and how to be a good employee.

“My presentation skills increased, as well as my social presence,” Wright said. “The internship really helped with my confidence, too, as I was always engaging with a really diverse range of people.”

Wright said the interns would have to be prepared to talk to fans, as well as Fox representatives that would come in. They would have to explain what they were working on. One of the representatives posted a photo of Wright and the other marketing intern doing the Instagram contest on LinkedIn, which was great publicity for the MSU Big Ten Network.

“The internship was a lot of talking to families, fans, alumni and just really trying to learn more about people,” Wright said. “I tried to make everything more personable.”

Wright is also getting a minor in entrepreneurship and innovation.

“I have always been interested in the media industry, but I have many interests,” Wright said. “I have even thought about starting my own business. If I have an idea, I just go for it. I love coming up with new ideas and being innovative, which will hopefully help me in all aspects of this industry.”

By Meg Dedyne

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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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