Indiana INTERNnet celebrated internship excellence on February 26, 2019 at the 13th Annual IMPACT Awards Luncheon. Though the event is over, and the winners have been announced, we are continuing to celebrate the nominees’ successes.
These are their stories.
Taylor Williams will graduate from Ball State University in the Spring of 2019 with a degree in Public Relations and a minor in Marketing. She completed an internship with WGU.
Indiana INTERNnet: You are a graduate of 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, correct? What made you interested in pursuing that?
Taylor Williams: I will be graduating in May of 2019 with my Bachelor of Science in Public Relations. I decided to pursue Public Relations because I love writing and the multitude of writing opportunities that come with the field. You can write blogs, news releases and even curate messages for social media. I like the challenge that comes with effectively getting messages across whether it’s through a news release or a quick 140-character Tweet. I also enjoy the variety of work you can do within this major. You can work in event planning, branding or crisis communication. There is no such thing as a typical day for someone pursuing a job in Public Relations
IIN: Describe your internship experience with WGU. What were your favorite aspects?
TW: My internship experience with WGU Indiana was insightful. Everyone in the office played a significant role in my experience being so valuable. They were so welcoming and played a big role in making my internship so valuable. From cracking jokes throughout the office to giving career advice, they were always there to lend a helping hand. One of my favorite parts about my internship was being able to attend scholarship presentations, nurse pinning’s and events that celebrated students. Being student-driven is a part of WGU’s mission and I was able to see that firsthand. It was an honor to be able meet and hear student stories and interact with the students face-to-face. When people think of online universities, they think that there is no interaction between students and faculty. The students I met have the some of the best relationships with their faculty, staff and mentor. Meeting these students was a prized moment because I was able to put a face to whom I was doing my work for. Posting about scholarships, job opportunities and networking events became more meaningful because I built personal relationships with these students and want to continue to see them succeed.
IIN: What was the most challenging project you were assigned?
TW: One of the most challenging projects that I was assigned as an intern was interviewing students while WGU Indiana was at the Indiana State Fair. WGU Indiana had a parklet at the fair and we were out there the entire 17 days of the fair. During that time, I kept social media updated and was asked to interview students about their experience to highlight them on social media. Before I started this internship, I had a fear of public speaking. So, initially I felt that I wouldn’t be able to perform this task well. Once I got out at the fair and was supported by coworkers and engaged with the students, all my fear disappeared. Although this project seemed challenging at first, I was constantly reassured that I had nothing to fear and to just be myself. It ended up being a great project to participate in because I was able to hear about so many student success stories and meet their family. There’s always good that comes from stepping out of your comfort zone!
IIN: How many internships have you completed? Could you describe the benefits you’ve gained from these experiences?
TW: I have completed two internships. My first internship was with Hope for Women Magazine. I was able to gain a lot of writing experience with this internship. It helped me practice AP Style, managing social media and working on strict deadlines. My first internship helped me immensely for my second internship with WGU Indiana as writing and managing social media was a bulk of my internship. Overall these experiences helped me develop as person. Whether it was stepping out of my comfort zone and interacting with hundreds of people at the Indiana State Fair or simply improving on my writing skills, I was constantly growing. I was able to make meaningful connections and participate in thought-provoking conversation.
IIN: Was this your first internship? Why did you choose to complete an internship?
TW: This was not my first internship. I choose to complete an internship because I wanted to use the knowledge and skills, I learned in the classroom to work. I wanted to get hands-on experience in my field and not limit it to one industry. Because Public Relations is needed in every industry, I wanted to get a taste on how they differentiate early on through internship experience.
IIN: What are your future plans and career goals?
TW: My future plans are to complete my master’s degree and become a professor in journalism. As of now, I plan to graduate and pursue my career in public relations to get more experience then further my education.
IIN: Has your nomination for IMPACT Awards impacted your life?
TW: It has been such a rewarding experience. To know that I made an impact on the organization that I interned with as much as they made an impact on my life means so much! I thoroughly enjoyed working with each and every one of them every day and am so thankful to have been presented this amazing opportunity.
IIN: Why are internships important?
TW: Internships are a vital part of your college career. They can either serve simply as the check in the box for college credit or as exciting, real-life work experience in a prospective career field. They give you a taste of what you are wanting to pursue and can help either solidify your career choice or let you know that it isn’t the right career path for you. Either way, it helps as a great learning opportunity to grow.