I received the incredible opportunity to intern for University Communications (UC) at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) for five weeks this summer. I could not be more thankful to be able to work with such an insightful group of professionals. Most recently, the Southern Public Relations Federation awarded UC with several awards, including the federation’s top award The Lantern Award. UC was wrapping up their Choose Southern Miss campaign from the spring semester when I arrived. I was able to do hands-on research and analysis on the social media used in the ChooseUSM campaign. The work experience and knowledge I gained through my internship at USM is so valuable and something I will cherish into my professional career. What are some of those valuable things you ask?
- PR is NOT always glamorous.
- Surely, there are times when you get to work with fabulous clients and produce incredible events. However, there are behind the scenes work that go unspoken. Someone has to take inventory of the promo items, after all. While this may not be the most fun part of public relations, it is a necessary, and humbling, duty. Working from the ground up sums up the nuance of public relations, and makes you appreciate every aspect of the field.
- Know when to ask for help.
- Sometimes you can’t do it all on your own, even though we’d like to think that we can. I especially am guilty of this mindset. It is always okay to ask for help, especially if it is a task beyond your abilities. My internship allowed me to experience this important life lesson. I received a C-D with audio files that would not play. I am by no means a technological expert. Therefore, I turned to the Digital Media Coordinator, Jay Gunn, and asked if he could take a look at it. We were able to recover the files and get the job done. Working with a team is so beneficial and important, no matter what your major is.
- Love what you do.
- Everyone urges college students to major in something they love, or passionate about. After my summer internship, I further understand the importance of doing something you love. There is just an undeniable charisma and excitement of working with people who enjoy what they do. The work they produce reflects this pride and exudes excellence. Being in such a positive environment excites me for my own career in public relations.
Thank you again to the staff at UC at for the granting me knowledge and experience I will cherish forever. Thank you especially to Brittney Westbrook, Assistant Director for Marketing Communications, and Olivia Ann Hodges, Social Media Specialist, for taking me under their wing and showing me the ropes. As always Geaux Tigers, but let’s not forget Southern Miss To The Top!
Jennifer Tran is a mass communication sophomore. She is a member of PRSSA at LSU and the Communications Committee. She also enjoys reading and Pinterest.