Communications Student Overcomes Obstacles to Become Banner Carrier at Convocation

Posted on: May 17, 2017

Amidst the excitement of graduation, communication major Ciara Jackson, a third generation MSU graduate, proudly carried the banner of the College of Communications Arts and Sciences this May - an annual honor given to one outstanding graduating senior. Daune Rensing, her academic adviser, recommended her for the position after witnessing her determination to overcome every hardship and earn her degree.

ciarajackson“I have almost 20 years of experience working with undergraduates and Ciara has been through more adversity than anyone I have ever worked with,” said Rensing. “I am so proud of how she has persevered and made it to graduation.”

Jackson hasn’t always lived in the spotlight throughout her career at MSU. During her freshman year, Jackson’s family moved to Kissimmee, FL, an 18-hour drive away. She was left with only the support of her grandparents.

“Throughout the years I have been homeless during breaks and summers,” said Jackson. “I have slept in my car and bounced from house to house. My grandparents would have allowed me to stay with them, but I wanted to be an adult and didn’t want to impose.”

Jackson never let these obstacles keep her from earning her bachelor’s degree in communication. Through the support of the family she created at MSU, she was able to persist on her road to success and create what she described as a phenomenal experience with ComArtSci.

Along the way, Jackson found helpful resources through the college and MSU. Jackson noted that Daune Rensing was an especially helpful adviser, who would refer her to various people and resources on campus. In addition to her advisers, Jackson also received assistance from Fostering Academics, Mentoring Excellence (FAME). The resource center provided Jackson with dental and health insurance and helped her to find housing during academic breaks.

“I managed to keep pushing forward because I know where I could end up without an education. I refuse to become a statistic,” said Jackson. “I’ve met wonderful and caring advisers along with making lifelong friends.”

Following graduation, Jackson is looking forward to a career in law enforcement. She felt the fast-paced job would best suit her active lifestyle.

“I’ve wanted to be a police officer since I was 12 years old,” said Jackson. “I’ve already taken all necessary tests and interviewed twice with a local agency.”

Jackson advises other students struggling to get their degree to take the journey one step at a time.

“Never be afraid to fail because everything right now is temporary,” said Jackson. “If you fail, don’t be afraid to try again.”

By Kaitlin Dudlets

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ComArtSci student landed internship at Traverse City media company

Posted on: February 16, 2017

kathryn mcLavryCommunication senior Kathryn McLravy immersed herself in the Northern Michigan culture this past summer, as a marketing intern for MyNorth Media in Traverse City. MyNorth Media is a media company that shares stories and photos of life in Northern Michigan, including its publication of print issues such as Traverse Magazine, wedding issues and food issues.

McLravy helped facilitate relationships with other companies in the Traverse City area, planned events and the coordination of other daily and weekly tasks.

“A lot of what I worked on was marketing that MyNorth Media was a part of the local community in Traverse City,” McLravy said. “I would work on how to improve the local hotel advertising and tell them about events that were coming up. It was all about having a symbiotic relationship with others in the community.”

She liked how MyNorth Media wanted to give back to the Traverse City community, not only for tourists, but connecting the community together as a whole. McLravy also enjoyed being up north for the entire summer.

“I actually have a cottage in Northern Michigan, so I knew of MyNorth and the Traverse Magazine,” McLravy said. “It was really cool because whenever I mentioned to someone that I was interning at MyNorth, they would recognize the website and magazine as a good resource for restaurants and events going on in the area.”

MyNorth had posted about the position on their website last spring and McLravy reached out via email and by phone when it took some time to hear back.

“Being persistent and really wanting it definitely paid off in the end,” McLravy said. “I think showing that I was very interested in the position helped. I wasn’t calling everyday, but emailing once in awhile, saying I was looking forward to hearing from them and connecting their company to my experience in Northern Michigan.

The biggest thing she learned during her internship is that there is a strong sense of community surrounding the Traverse City area.

“I didn’t realize the extent of MyNorth’s community involvement,” McLravy said. “MyNorth really tries to connect local businesses with each other and I just learned how connected everything truly is. There is just so much to offer in this area that I didn’t realize.”

Working on email newsletters and learning how to reach out and communicate with others made McLravy interested in this research.

“I thought I would be more interested in event planning,” McLravy said. “But I found through my internship with MyNorth that I actually had more of an interest in the behind the scenes projects and research and how to create the best relationships with local companies.”

McLravy also learned the importance of being persistent when it comes to creating partnerships. It’s not as simple as just asking. It takes working out benefits between both companies and establishing an effective language.

Her advice? Visit the ComArtSci Career Center and ask for help.

“As someone who also works in the career center, there are so many resources people can take advantage of,” McLravy said. “Even just getting your resume looked at is a good step. There is always someone there to help you. If you need advice about something, don’t be afraid to ask. People are afraid of being too forward, but it’s okay to ask for help.”

By Meg Dedyne

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Communication senior blends two passions into one internship

Posted on: January 26, 2017

laurentamboerPassionate about the environment doesn’t even begin to describe communication senior Lauren Tamboer and the work she is doing as a communications intern at MSU Sustainability.

She is pursuing a minor in environmental and sustainability studies, a decision that she said was inspired by her father.

“My Dad has definitely had an influence on my interest in the environment,” Tamboer said. “He was always asking, ‘What tree is this?’ ‘What animal is that?’,” Tamboer said. “The environmental classes (at MSU) also keep my interest ... I hope to dedicate my career in some type of way to the study of sustainability.”

The internship with MSU Sustainability is a year-long position. Tamboer said she has already learned so much. She runs all of the “Be Spartan Green” social media accounts, developing content and monitoring channels. She also creates the content for the newsletter that goes out every month. She contributes a story of her own to the newsletter, which requires her to research and brainstorm as well as interview a subject matter expert.

Sometimes, she interviews professors or researchers for these stories. They are all based on environmental topics, community engagement and sustainability.

“I have a really strong personal connection to sustainability, which makes this job fun for me,” Tamboer said. “The environment is one of the issues I care most about and one of the most pressing issues in the world. Our generation is really receptive to these issues and there is a lot of research being done here at MSU. Seeing other people’s passion about it, gives me passion about it, too.”

Her passion led her to seek out more information and eventually to her internship.

“I followed ‘Be Spartan Green’ on social media and they always keep all of their channels updated with positions,” Tamboer said. “I wanted an internship that combined my passions for communication and the environment and when I heard about this job and the content I would be writing, this sounded exactly like what I was looking for.”

Tamboer found the job on MySpartanCareer, the career network website replaced by Handshake, and formally applied.

“When they offered me the job, I accepted right away,” Tamboer said. “I knew it would be a good fit.”

In addition to working on issues that matter so much to her, she said her favorite part of the job is the people.

“They really make it,” Tamboer said. “Everything is collaborative and they value my opinion. I know that it’s okay to try things out and make mistakes. When other people care about sustainability, it makes the collaboration so worthwhile.”

For those who don’t exactly know what sustainability means, Tamboer describes the term as living a lifestyle using resources in a way that allows future generations to use our future resources.

“We cover water, transportation and campus environment. Sustainability on campus is the ultimate goal,” Tamboer said. “We focus on the community message of sustainability and send the message out to university facilities. We also try to focus on including students in the sustainability conversation so they can share their own impact on campus.”

Tamboer said this internship has solidified that she wants to further pursue environmental communications. This field keeps her excited about a future career. Her advice for searching for that perfect job or internship is to be selective.

“It’s about paying close attention to where you would want to work and what content they are creating,” Tamboer said. “It’s challenging to find something that blends all of your passions together, but it definitely comes around if you just keep looking.”

By Meg Dedyne

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PRSSA, Hubbell Connections Help COMM Major Land Music Festival Internship

Posted on: April 15, 2016

margeaux-koepele-meridian-entertainment-2015When she was in high school, Margeaux Koepele started a Twitter account dedicated to her favorite band, One Direction. She had no idea how helpful one fan social media account would eventually turn out to be.

Soon after starting the account, Koepele gained enough popularity that three members of the band-- Louie Tomlinson, Niall Horan and Liam Payne--followed her.

Koepele, a communication and public relations junior, originally started out studying dietetics at MSU. But she didn't feel like it was the right fit. Her parents, however, knew her talents were geared toward another field. They had the Twitter account to prove it.

"My parents would always tell me that my Twitter account was the stupidest thing I'd ever done, but that I was really good at it," Koepele laughed. "So when I was reconsidering my major, I took a few COMM classes. I've since decided this is definitely where I was meant to be. And while you don't want to listen to your mom, she's usually right."

Koepele said she talks about running the account in every interview.

"It's different, and I realized whatever you can do to set yourself apart is amazing," she said.

Koepele still loves One Direction, but she no longer spends her time tweeting about pop stars. Instead, she's been an active member of PRSSA and has worked for Hubbell Connections, a student-run PR firm.

She's also had a number of work experiences. Last year, she won the Quinn Franks internship award as a result of her internship at the Common Ground Music Festival and Meridian Entertainment Group.

From January through July, Koepele worked as a marketing intern, directing social media efforts, designing promotional materials and writing press releases for the festival.

"There's all that back work that people don't think about like booking and trying to make people get excited about this opening act that maybe no one has ever heard of," she said.

Koepele's most memorable day on the job was also her most stressful. Headliner Meghan Trainor canceled her appearance the day before the concert because of a medical issue, leaving the Common Ground crew scrambling.

"To say I wasn't terrified would be a complete lie," she said. "But we learned from the best. We came up with someone to replace her and shifted the entire acts on the main stage back."

The crew managed to divert a catastrophe and the rest of the festival went off without a hitch.

"That experience set the tone for the rest of the week," Koepele said. " We thought 'like well, I got through that, I will make it through this week.' I learned so much."

Finding her direction

Koepele first found the job working with the Common Ground festival on MySpartanCareer. For some reason, the name of the company, Meridian Entertainment Group, rang a bell. It turned out that Koepele had a friend who worked for Meridian, so she reached out to her for basic information about the job.

Although that personal connection was helpful, Koepele said it was the solid foundation of skills she'd learned in class and through PRSSA that helped her get the job.

"(PRSSA and Hubbell) really changed everything for me. I realized these are students in my college on the executive board for a national organization," she said. "If you don't have experience, you should look for it in the college. That's why PRSSA, Hubble, any of these organizations exists. They're there not there only to give you something to add to your resume but to give you the peers and the professional contacts."

Koepele said her favorite thing to do when she's not in class on a Friday is to job shadow fellow communicators. She's made connections in a number of places - from the Detroit Red Wings to General Motors to Meijer and Gordon Foods.

"It's something I never would have had the guts to do or had the resources to do if I hadn't become an active member of the college," she said.

This summer, Koepele is heading off to an internship with Delta Airlines. Landing that summer internship wasn't easy, though. Koepele said she interviewed for several internships, only to get turned down.

"I was getting really discouraged and feeling really bad for myself because I didn't think it all would be worth anything to anybody," she said.

Then, she went out on a limb and applied to Delta Airlines. It was out of her comfort zone and far from home, but she thought it was worth a shot. Her hunch was right.

"I ended up getting something awesome and now I feel so good. My hard work paid off," she said. "Something good will come. It will all work itself out, which is what my dad was saying to me two weeks ago. I was like 'yeah whatever.' But everyone is good enough and you need to have passion for what you're doing. Just because they don't pick you doesn't mean you weren't an amazing candidate."

By Kelsey Block

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New York Internship Helps Communication Junior Explore Health Advocacy

Posted on: March 30, 2016

Tyler-KramerCommunication junior Tyler Kramer started working as a youth mentor for kids with diabetes when he was 14. He and his parents toured the country, hosting support groups for other kids living with the condition.

When Kramer turned 18, he started a diabetes support group program for adults all on his own. He made his own travel arrangements and booked his own appearances, which helped him to meet representatives from pharmaceutical companies.

His work at a young age sparked his interest in health advocacy—an interest Kramer has continued to explore in college.

During the summer of 2015, Kramer worked as a marketing and communications intern for JDRF International, a nonprofit organization and the leading funder of Type 1 Diabetes research.

Kramer did of bit of everything at JDRF; he managed the internal newsletter, worked with JDRF’s state chapters, wrote stories and assisted the public relations director.

He first heard of the internship through an organization called Students with Diabetes. The group runs a program which helps connect students with pharmaceutical companies, nonprofits like JDRF, and more.

Kramer got three calls back after sending in his application. He chose to go to New York City and intern with JDRF.

He packed his bags the day after his birthday in May and flew out to New York. His family was with him for the first week, but after that he was on his own.

“I’d never really been to summer camp or away from home for more than a week, other than being at school,” Kramer said.

As a part of his internship, Kramer kept a blog detailing his adventures.

He lived in midtown Manhattan at 23rd and Lexington. At first, Kramer found it challenging to adjust to city life. But he got the hang of it quickly as he and his fellow interns wandered out and explored the city.

“From the day I heard I got an offer, I made a list of 200 things to do, places to eat," he said. "I tried to mark off as many things as I could do in a day.”

Kramer was paid a stipend at JDRF, but it didn’t cover all of his expenses. The Sven Kins and the Joe Patrick Communication Arts & Sciences Internship Awards helped pick up the rest of the tab.

Kramer said his is internship with JDRF gave him a glimpse into how nonprofits work at the national level. It also provided him the chance to explore the health advocacy field, something he plans to keep pursuing.

This summer, Kramer is headed to Chicago for an internship with Livongo Health—a company that develops tools to help patients manage their diabetes.

“Having this internship and getting a feel for different cities will open the doors to even more things,” he said.

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Communication and psychology senior uses internships to explore diverse interests

Posted on: March 3, 2016

GiHong3newCommunication and psychology student Gi Hong has worked in a lot of different places doing many different things. While all her work experiences have been different, her dual fields of study at MSU have given her a foundation of skills she can apply in any position.

“I feel like having a background in communication and psychology is really helpful for any job in general,” Hong said.

In the past, the MSU senior spent time with the Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council and worked at the James B. Henry Center for Executive Development. Most recently, Hong worked as an outreach intern for Gateway Community Services, a division of Child and Family Charities. Gateway works in Ingham, Eaton and Clinton counties to prevent and end youth homelessness.

Through out the summer, Hong and her Gateway coworkers scoured local shopping malls and parks, looking to provide information to kids in the greater Lansing area. She also helped out in the office and put together presentations.

Her most memorable day on the job was when they were out in the community and ran into a kid who used to live at Gateway’s shelter. Hong said it was really wonderful to see the youth, because after they left the shelter, Gateway’s staff lost contact.

She found the internship with Gateway through a human services internship course through the Department of Psychology. In connection with the internship, Hong also received the MSUFCU Internship Award.

Hong’s career goals include working with nonprofit organizations. While she’s not sure if she wants to work with teenagers specifically, like she did at Gateway, Hong is glad to have had the opportunity to do that kind of work.

Hong says her work experience has given her a better idea of what she might like to study in graduate school. She also encourages her fellow students to use their time in college to find their passion.

“Try as many different things as possible if you don’t know exactly what you want to do," Hong said. "And if you do know what you want to do, try to get more involved and do as much as you can.”

By Kelsey Block

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PR internship and MSU Communication major helps student explore diverse interests

Posted on: February 26, 2016

Jackie McLane

Jackie McLane was first drawn to studying communication because of its fast-paced nature.

“I know that my career is always going to be evolving and that really appealed to me,” McLane said.

So far, the 21-year-old senior has been able to explore a number of industries through the lens of communications and public relations. She’s worked at The State News, Ripple Public Relations and VIM Magazine: MSU’s fashion publication.

Every day has been different, and McLane loves it.

Currently, she’s working as an assistant strategist at Piper & Gold Public Relations in Lansing. She started off as an intern last January, and has gradually gained more responsibility.

“They’ve really helped me to grow professionally and personally into the person I want to be,” she said.

McLane especially likes the feeling of working with a small, close-knit team.

“There are seven of us, so we’re really like a family," she said. "And I have that PR agency experience. That’s helped shape where I want to be.”mclane-jackie-1

At Piper & Gold, McLane helps out with everything from social media management to event planning to working with her own clients.

“I have so many interests it’s hard for me to nail down just one thing I want to do,” she said.

Being able to explore a variety of disciplines has also been one of her favorite things about the College of ComArtSci.

“I really like how open it is," she said. "Even though I’m a COM major, I can still be taking other classes and learning a variety of skills.”

Just last semester McLane learned about writing for television and film by taking CAS 396.

“That’s always been something that I really wanted to do, and even though I’m not in Media and Information Department like other students, it was really nice to have that opportunity" she said. "I don’t feel limited as to what I can learn.”

McLane also offered up some advice to her fellow ComArtSci students who are seeking to build their resumes.

“If you have an interest, follow that, see that through and see how you can combine that interest with work experience,” she said.

McLane said she wants students to realize that experience doesn’t always have to be a job, and that it can come through Media Sandbox courses or getting involved with student organizations.

“Find things you can do that are experience but aren’t jobs. You can volunteer, or help out with student organizations that can easily translate into any work environment,” she said. “When you follow your interests and it’s something you want to do, people notice that. It’ll stick out to people that you’re passionate about something.”

Story by Kelsey Block

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An Internship Where Dreams Come True

Posted on: January 28, 2016

Monica YukMonica Yuk has loved Disney for as long as she can remember. Last fall, she got to live a Disney lover’s dream – interning at the most magical place on earth, Walt Disney World.

Yuk, a Communication junior at MSU, wasn’t always sure what she wanted to do for her career, but was drawn to the Disney College Program flyers she saw posted around campus. The program, she learned, was designed to help interns develop transferrable skills such as problem solving, team work, customer service and communication. Interns also explore career and professional development through classroom learning opportunities. Yuk decided to apply to the program, and, after a number of interviews, was accepted in to the Fall 2015 intern class.

One of the highlights of the program for Yuk was a marketing seminar.

“Our marketing seminar sessions consisted of guest speakers from different departments in Disney Marketing,” she said. “We were responsible for a group project throughout the seminar and would incorporate what we learned from each guest into our project.”

In addition to learning from Disney professionals and creating a project based on a real marketing strategy, the seminar allowed students to network with the professionals and gain further insight and connections.

This was a great opportunity for someone like Yuk, who hopes to work for Disney after graduation.

“I got to meet the most diverse, funniest, creative, hardworking and genuine people on the program,” Yuk said. “I plan on going back to the company and keeping connected with those I've became friends with. If you let someone know that you want to stay within the company, there are many ways for you to get in contact with the people you want to.

“Networking isn’t just a one-time thing. You should do more than introduce yourself once. When you reconnect, remember to give a firm shake, try to dress nicer, bring a notebook and pen to write down the things and advice they tell you, bring questions to ask, and ask who else you could get in touch with. Networking is not impossible. You just have to start.”

Yuk has been involved with a number of organizations here on campus. She helped out with the Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Protection Program, was the Co-Publicity Chair for the Asian Pacific Student Association, and she also worked for Booklify. She’s currently serving as the Vice President of Programming for MSU’s chapter of the Undergraduate Communication Association.

She said her favorite thing about being a Communication major has been the classes, especially COM 225.

“It’s very engaging in itself, and it makes you want to go to class,” she said, adding that her mentors in the class were very supportive and encouraged her to consider graduate school. “I really appreciated how much faith they had in me as a Communication major.”

Yuk encouraged her fellow students to take advantage of all the opportunities ComArtSci has to offer.

“I definitely appreciate going through the Communication department and knowing there are opportunities out there,” she said. “And I’ve been at the ComArtSci Career Center a lot; they’ve always checked my resumes and cover letters.”

Her advice for those considering their own Disney College Experience: “The program isn't easy. It's life-changing.”

By ComArtSci Career Center Staff and Kelsey Block, Journalism and Arts and Humanities double major

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Helping Others Through Internships and Work Experiences

Posted on: November 19, 2015

Stephanie Smith main

Communication and Sociology senior Stephanie Smith has worked in a number of different organizations, including commercial retail, beauty salons and nonprofits. While seemingly unrelated at first, Smith says all her jobs have had one thing in common: helping others.

“I love the nonprofits; it makes me feel good, just like doing hair,” Smith said. “Helping people is the underlying thing.”

This past summer, Smith worked as an intern for Lansing’s Old Town Commercial Association and helped organize the Festival of the Moon and Sun in June.

“They gave me a lot of room for creativity and to be able to take control and learn things hands on,” she said.

As an intern, Smith did a little bit of everything – from choosing the bands and booking food vendors to working on social media campaigns and writing press releases. In all, about 4,000 people attended the event.

Smith received the Adrienne M. Johns Communication Arts and Sciences Internship Award in connection with her internship at the Old Town Commercial Association. She said the award helped a lot since her internship was unpaid.

Currently, Smith is working with Habitat for Humanity as an Event Coordinating Intern. She found both of her internships on MySpartanCareer.

Stephanie Smith 2But before she started working in the nonprofit sector, Smith took some time off from school and attended Douglas J Aveda Institute.

At one point, she was spending evenings at Douglas J while working part time at Younkers and taking classes.

“I felt a little overwhelmed, and eventually I had to streamline,” she said.

So she decided to finish up at Douglas J, and returned to MSU as a full-time student. Even though she’s taking a little longer to graduate than she originally planned, she feels having a nontraditional undergraduate experience will help her in the long run.

“I learned a whole new skill set and I could use parts of that in my new career,” Smith said. Ideally, she would like to morph her passions together as a beauty event coordinator.

Now, Smith is enjoying her last year at Michigan State. She recently joined the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) at Michigan State and loves many of her ComArtSci classes, especially CAS 492, An Insider’s Look: Attaining Success in Communication Careers, which she says has really helped build her network.

“It’s definitely worth it,” she said. “People should do the mentor program. It may bring you out of your comfort zone a little, but I think that it’s worth it.”

Smith also offered up some advice to younger students.

“Be open to doing things you didn’t necessarily think of originally. Do things you want to do right now. When you might not get paid, do the ones that really interest you because you might as well try it out and see if you like it,” she said. “But, find a happy place where you’re not burning yourself out. You want to do well, don’t overexert yourself. If you’re skimming the top of everything, you’re not making good connections. Pick and choose the most valuable and work on those.”

By Kelsey Block, Journalism and Arts and Humanities double major

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Senior Lands ‘Dream Internship’ at New York PR Agency

Posted on: October 15, 2015

Jordan SweatJordan Sweat’s goal has always been to live and work in New York City. The MSU senior got the chance to test out that dream this past summer with an internship at Weber Shandwick.

“It was my dream internship. If I could have picked any PR agency, I would have picked them,” said Sweat, who is majoring in Communication with a minor in Public Relations.

Sweat was an intern in the technology practice group at Weber Shandwick, where she worked on accounts for a number of clients, including Amazon.

“I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do consumer PR or corporate PR, and being in the technology practice group, I got experience in both,” Sweat said.

Even though she was far from her hometown of Lake Orion, Mich., Sweat felt right at home in New York.

“I met a lot of great people out there, and my mom and sister and really good family friends came and visited,” she said.

Now that she’s back at Michigan State for her senior year, Sweat is working as a student strategist for Piper and Gold, a Lansing-based public relations agency.

She originally applied for the position as a freshman, but didn’t have enough experience. So, she made sure to stay in touch with Piper and Gold and reapplied last year.

As a student strategist, Sweat dabbles in a little bit of everything at the company, including working with clients, writing and helping with one client’s rebranding campaign. She even got the opportunity to attend a conference with the Central Michigan Public Relations Society of America.

“It was cool being able to go with the team,” she said, adding that she was able to attend a seminar by Michael Smart, a public relations expert whose work she had studied in class. She said she feels studying communication and public relations has given her a balanced education.

“The Communication major is very research-based, where the PR minor is actually writing news releases and reading this case study,” she said. “And a lot of the professors I’ve had worked in the industry and they’re able to prepare students in a very realistic sense.”

Sweat’s numerous work experiences also helped to prepare her for her most recent internships. Before interning with Weber Shandwick, Sweat interned for local companies like Foster Swift Collins, Downtown Lansing Inc. and WSYM Fox 47.

“I’m really thankful for my first three internships. They weren’t in agencies, but they taught me a lot of the skills that I need,” she said. “I can literally see myself with each internship getting closer and closer to what I want to do.”

Another thing Sweat has appreciated about her time at MSU has been the opportunity for travel. She’s studied abroad in addition to participating in the Advertising + Public Relations trip to Chicago.

“I never really expected to get that out of being in college,” she said. “Those extra things have helped me out so much.”

By Kelsey Block, Journalism and Arts and Humanities double major

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