Internships in focus: Public relations/food marketing
RELEASED: March 16, 2006
DANVILLE, KYFor all Centre College students, the January CentreTerm means personal, in-depth, engaged learning beyond the norm. For those students who choose to complete internships, the CentreTerm experience takes them outside the classroom and into the working world.
Internships are an integral part of the Centre Commitment, which guarantees students an internship, study abroad, and graduation in four years.
The Centre Internship Plus program offers matching grants for selected internships, and offers students a chance to earn extra financial support.
This year, many Centre students had interesting and rewarding internships for CentreTerm. Here, in the first of a multi-part series, is the story of one student's internship.
What's your name, major and hometown.
Whitney Owen, English, Paducah, Ky.
Describe your internship. Where and what?
I worked as a public relations/marketing intern for Joanna’s Desserts in San Francisco. I was responsible for writing press releases, contacting various media representatives (food editors, critics, etc.) as well as prospective business associates (buyers, owners, etc.). I also drafted and created layouts for newsletters, brainstormed ideas for website improvements and prepared marketing and general materials for the Fancy Food Show.
What have you found most challenging about your internship?
I had to really work to overcome the apprehension I had about "selling" my product. I learned to "negotiate past the no," so to speak, to successfully procure as many contacts as possible. I also had to work with technology a bit more than I am used to, which was a challenge.
What have you found most rewarding?
I was able to meet, speak with, and work with a variety of people from many different parts of the country (primarily at the Fancy Food Show). I felt confident in my skills to speak intelligently about the product and the company, and I received a great deal of positive feedback about my style of working with others. Perhaps the most rewarding thing about the whole experience, though, was that I was able to do it. I moved to a city across the country, a place where I knew no one and was forced to rely only on myself. Since returning to Centre and reflecting on everything, it is rewarding to me that I was able to act so independently.
How has your Centre experience helped you to prepare for your internship?
The skills I used during my internship were ones that have been developed here as a result of my on-campus leadership opportunities (i.e. my sorority offices, my position as a Resident Assistant and as a Writing Center tutor). I relied heavily on my ability to talk to other people and to do so confidently and charismatically. Also, I did a lot of writing during my internship, which is certainly something that my classes here at Centre have emphasized.
What are your goals after graduation? Will your internship help you meet those goals?
I'm applying to Teach for America, because my goal as of now is to become an elementary school teacher. I think that the lessons I learned from my internship will help me, in that the ability to work and communicate with others in an effective manner is one that will be advantageous in any career.
Was there a certain person or office at Centre who helped you during theapplication process to get the internship?
All of the Career Service ladies were very nice and are always helpful, but I really found this position and went through the application process on my own.
Would you like to share any anecdotes about your internship?
As I've said, I did a lot of talking to other people. Often, I'd begin to describe the product and the company, only to be interrupted by something like, "You don't sound like you're from San Francisco." My southern accent (which I've never found to be a particularly strong one) received a lot of attention. Once people found out I was from Kentucky, they wanted to know what I was doing "all the way" out there, and they seemed impressed that I had been given such an opportunity as part of my education/school work.
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