Blog posts tagged in communication internships

b2ap3_thumbnail_Farrell_Nick_2.JPGIn the spring of his junior year, Nick Farrell found himself sitting in a warm room, waiting to interview for an internship with his favorite sports station. Dozens of young men and women had entered and exited the room before him, all with the same nervous look and polished appearance. When Farrell’s turn came, he answered questions with confidence and experience, naming the many activities he led at Waynesburg University and referencing his famous Waynesburg professor and mentor, Lanny Frattare. After the interview, Farrell stood to shake the man’s hand who would soon become his summer internship supervisor. 

That day, Farrell earned a coveted position with KDKA, a CBS radio station in Pittsburgh, Pa., and soon began working 20 hours each week with the station. The communication (sports broadcasting/sports information) major’s responsibilities changed each day as he found himself reporting Pittsburgh Pirates and Riverhounds games for The Fan, a popular KDKA radio show, and covering the Senior Players Championship at Fox Chapel Golf Club. 

“When I was in the field covering one of those sporting events, my duties included going into the locker room before and after games and recording sound, then editing that sound for use on the air. In the studio, I normally screened calls, cut interviews and segments for reuse at a later date and I learned how to operate the sound board,” Farrell said. “A day at the ballpark/golf course included watching the events take place, taking notes and then asking intelligent questions to players and coaches.”

Though he felt incredibly prepared from his time in the Waynesburg University television studio, newspaper room, radio station and through his memberships with the University chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists and Lambda Pi Eta, Farrell said little could prepare him for the shock of interviewing some of the nation’s greatest names in sports. 

“I was pretty timid at first,” Farrell said. “Going into the Pirates clubhouse and seeing not just the players, but also the other members of the media at work, was intimidating. It took me a couple of days to work up the courage to ask questions during interviews with so many people around.”

He began preparing his post-game questions during the game and practiced “assertive asking” and “intelligent questions” on his friends and even in his mirror. By the end of the first week, Farrell felt more confident forcing himself into the “media scrum” to obtain the best sound bites for KDKA. 

“My top moment is my one-on-one interview with Pittsburgh Steelers President Art Rooney II,” Farrell said. “It was a brief interview; but it was so neat to talk to such an important sports figure and, on top of that, they played my sound on The Fan over and over that day.”

He even achieved a life goal that summer – albeit accidentally. Farrell recalled the day he was shown on SportsCenter for about 20 seconds every hour. ESPN came to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ organized team activities one day while Farrell was wrapping an interview with Brett Keisel. 

“There was a mob of media surrounding Emmanuel Sanders, a wide receiver for the Steelers. I finished my interview with Keisel, saw the media scrum, and tried to sneak my mic in,” Farrell said. “There were at least a dozen people circling Sanders and at least four other camera men, so I had to stand behind Sanders and wrap my arm around him to get my mic in the proper place.”

Midway through the interview, Farrell realized that ESPN had a camera pointed directly at Sanders with the young Waynesburg reporter’s arm around him. Sure enough, ESPN aired the interview all day with Farrell and Sanders looking like close friends. 

“That was pretty cool,” Farrell said. “Now that I’ve been on ESPN once, my goal is to get back there and stick around for more than just 20 seconds.”

As an aspiring sports broadcaster, that’s one dream that Farrell feels confident can come true, thanks in large part to his time at Waynesburg University. 

“There’s no question that I was prepared for the challenges of the internship because of my experience at Waynesburg,” he said. “My radio classes and experience as a DJ made me familiar with audio editing and engineering before I even set foot in one of the Fan’s studios. Even my print classes helped me because, in them, I learned so much about interviewing and creating an intriguing story line.”

Farrell, who’s been awarded substantial Waynesburg University scholarship money each year to total nearly half the cost of Waynesburg's tuition, says the University’s affordability was the deciding factor for his enrollment. 

“While Waynesburg is already one of the most affordable schools in the area, these scholarships made it by far the most affordable of the schools I considered, Farrell said. “The affordability, combined with Waynesburg's great staff and commitment to excellence, has made my college experience a fantastic one. I know that choosing Waynesburg for my college education is one of the best decisions I've ever made.”

That choice led him to an unbelievable internship, one that he’ll remember forever and one that will set him apart when applying for jobs. 

“I returned to Waynesburg in the fall with professional experience, a better understanding of how professional radio stations operate and new ideas for the campus radio station,” Farrell said. “I no longer have that fear of making a mistake in front of professional athletes or media. I’m a lot more confident in my skills as a writer and radio host because of my first-hand experience.”


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b2ap3_thumbnail_Kimber.jpgFor months, Kimber Blair consulted with two Waynesburg University mentors about the possibility of moving to Texas for the summer to pursue an internship at Mary Kay’s corporate headquarters. The mentors, vastly different in profession – one an adviser of service leadership and the other a journalism professor – gave her exactly what she needed.

“My Bonner Scholar adviser helped me process my options and which one would be best for me, and my professor helped by taking the extra time to review my resume and give advice on phone interviewing,” Blair said. “They were both such great listeners, especially when I lost confidence in myself and my fears and doubts took over. Their guidance and encouragement helped me get to Mary Kay, and I am so thankful for them.”

Blair, a senior public relations and interactive design major, has served as a Bonner Scholar since her freshman year. The Waynesburg University Bonner Scholar program, one of only 23 programs across the nation, selects approximately 15 students each year and encourages community service through a required 140 hours of service per student, per semester.
Blair said that her service opportunities have helped teach her about leadership, and she also named the chair of the Waynesburg University Department of Communication in helping to position her for such a successful internship.

“One thing I have learned from Professor Krause is to take advantage of and learn from the experiences of the professionals,” Blair said. “I have learned to ask for contact information or a business card, be professional in emails and phone calls and always edit my work before sending it. “

With those actions in mind, Blair began the long, laborious application process for a spot with Mary Kay’s eBusiness Department in Dallas, Texas. After a rigorous series of networking, phone interviews, resumes and writing samples, a position within the eBusiness department of the corporation presented itself. In May of 2013, she flew down to the Lone Star State to begin her internship, helping to launch new web applications to Mary Kay's global market.

“The characteristic that stood out the most about Kimber was her enthusiasm for any assignment given to her,” said Erika Butler, an Information Services Technology Global eBusiness project leader at Mary Kay and Blair’s direct supervisor. “A lot of what she did for Mary Kay was outside her comfort zone, but you wouldn’t have known that by talking to her or reviewing her work.”

In the office, she wrote and tested cases for the company’s information technology systems management and created an Excel sheet that included more than 1500 words and phrases to be translated into German. Depending on the day, she participated in departmental and company-wide meetings and gave feedback on Mary Kay webpages, advertisements and products.

As one of 30 total interns at Mary Kay Inc., Blair was given ample occasions to stand out, and she made a point to do so from the beginning.

“I was working  in a building full of people who had years of experience in marketing, writing, leadership, information technology, media and branding, and I decided to shape that opportunity and create iLunch,” Blair said.

Her launch of iLunch, a weekly luncheon for all company interns, placed her in the direct gaze of various directorial members of the company who liked what they saw.

The luncheon featured an internal senior-level professional who would inspire and network with the young men and women. 

“We had a couple of vice presidents, the chief legal officer and secretary, the IT regional business advisor and Mary Kay’s CEO David Holl speak with us,” Blair said. “Mr. Holl shared with us stories about his experiences as a leader of one of the top private corporations in Dallas. I hope to use his insights to guide me as a leader on campus and in the work place.”

Blair, who has served in leadership positions across campus since her freshman year, now leads the campus design club, campus worship sound production, a local after-school tutoring program for youth and more.

“Kimber has an amazing work ethic. She sets very lofty goals for herself and consistently meets and exceeds them,” said Dr. Chad Sherman, assistant professor of communication and a faculty adviser of the design club at Waynesburg University. “She's doing amazing things at Waynesburg University, and it should surprise no one that she did great things at Mary Kay.”

The driven young woman returned to campus with greater confidence in her leadership abilities and first-hand proof of what her mentors assured her – that she could venture out of her comfort zone and succeed.

“From my internship, I have gained more confidence in myself and my work,” said Blair. “I realized it’s a good feeling to have people rooting for me and believing in me, even when I don't believe in myself.”

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Frick-and-Charlie-Gerow.jpgHope Frick, a senior public relations major from Elizabethtown, Pa., met Quantum Communications’ CEO, Charlie Gerow, on Waynesburg University’s campus during her junior year. After making a positive impression, Frick was offered an internship with the company in Harrisburg, Pa., for the summer of 2012 and, eventually, 2013.

“Charlie is extremely well connected in almost every political circle throughout the nation, so I jumped at the opportunity to work with someone so influential,” said Frick.

Working in close proximity to the state Capitol had its perks. The environment not only helped Frick see the interworking’s of a highly populated, central location, it also enabled her to meet with Governor Tom Corbett at Quantum’s June Policy Briefing, which was Frick’s favorite moment of her internship.

On a typical day, Frick conducted online news searches for Quantum’s clients and managed the blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts for the Friends of Natural Gas Alliance. Additionally, Frick helped plan a few of Quantum’s monthly events which host several business leaders, politicians, reporters and other associates of the company to an open forum discussion.

According to Frick, her time spent with faculty, in departmental coursework and as secretary of Waynesburg University’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter at Waynesburg gave her the confidence she needed to excel within her tasks at Quantum.

“As a student, Hope took advantage of every opportunity presented to her and always went above and beyond course or department requirements,” said Pamela Cunningham, lecturer at Waynesburg University. “In doing so, Hope has become driven and even more passionate about the field that, in my humble opinion, will be fortunate to have her.”

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If you’re driving through Waynesburg or enjoying life on campus, you might switch on Waynesburg University’s campus radio station and hear a booming voice with a slight accent hosting a specialty show or broadcasting an event. That voice belongs to Alfonso Ferrari, a Tucson, Arizona, native and a junior communication (sports broadcasting/sports information) major at Waynesburg University.

In the summer of 2013, Ferrari returned to his home state – but not for a summer relaxing on his parents’ couch. He committed to a challenging internship with one of the best radio stations in Arizona, Arizona Sports 620 KTAR.

“There is no better place for radio in the state of Arizona, and the station is highly regarded at the national level as well,” Ferrari said. “My favorite part was interacting with the hosts; I grew up listening to them. I really enjoyed learning how things are done there.”

Ferrari’s responsibilities included editing sound used for promos and previews as well as highlights from Arizona Diamondback radio broadcasts, editing and uploading podcasts and interviews to the station website, documenting every show and finding newsworthy stories.

He felt challenged by having to multi-task his many roles at the station, but said that working for Waynesburg’s radio station helped him to learn more than just on-air duties.

“I learned how to edit and upload sound, and the programs we use at Waynesburg are similar, if not the same, as what is really being used in the profession,” Ferrari said. “Working for Waynesburg’s station as well as all of my communication courses, most notably radio station management, prepared me very well.”

Lanny Frattare, assistant professor of communication at Waynesburg University and past voice of the Pittsburgh Pirates for 33 years, has mentored Ferrari through his radio courses and has watched him progress into a “top notch” broadcaster. Frattare remembers when Ferrari visited campus as a high school junior for the University’s annual Sports Announcing Camp.

“From the moment Alfonso arrived on campus, I knew he was an individual with a promising future,” Frattare said. “The fact that he wanted to travel to Pennsylvania from Arizona to investigate sports announcing convinced me that he was dedicated.  I was elated when he told me that he would be enrolling at Waynesburg University.”

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