When junior member Lauren Vahldick isn’t searching for a new destination to explore, she’s busy tackling two internships, as well as being a full-time honor student at Illinois State University.
Tell us about yourself.
I am a junior public relations major with a creative writing minor from Naperville, Ill. In my free time, I love to read and keep up with my favorite TV shows, particularly “Scandal.” My favorite things in the world are eating, shopping and traveling. I was lucky enough to combine them all when I studied abroad in Florence, Italy last year. I met the greatest people, traveled to the most beautiful places, and ate a ton of pizza. I love new experiences and have a whole list of places I am dying to travel to.
What activities are you involved in outside of PRSSA?
In addition to PRSSA, I am a member of the honors program and participate in the honors book club. I love reading and have always wanted to be in a book club. As lame as that sounds, I absolutely love it! I also have two on-campus internships that take up a lot of my time. One is with Summer Session promoting summer school. The other is with the Office of Admissions helping potential incoming students to learn more about ISU.
Can you tell us about your internships and your role in each position?
I have been the intern for Summer Session since last August, and it has been a fantastic experience. It is my first internship, and I am very lucky to have an amazing supervisor to learn from who has really helped me get a feel for real world public relations. I manage all of the Summer Session social media pages and host information tables to promote the program across campus. Our campaign this year is “Get Your Ducks in a Row,” so I have been passing out rubber ducks and having duck-related contests. We are currently preparing for the Summer Session duck race in April, so that has been a big focus this semester.
At my viral marketing internship through the Office of Admissions, my job is to create content for its social media pages. We have different assignments each week, whether it is composing tweets, taking photos for Instagram, or creating blog posts. In addition, all interns each have their own category to write about, and mine is on the different departments within ISU. It is writing intensive, but it is great practice and I really do enjoy it.
What are the experiences you have had with your internships, and what will you take away from them?
I have learned so much through my internships. When I look back at where I was a year ago, I have come such a long way. I could not write a press release, I was terrified of cold calling and I generally had no idea what I was doing. Not only have I gained experience from my internships, but also confidence in my abilities in the public relations world. Now that I have seen how rewarding internships can be, I cannot get enough of them!
How has being a public relations major helped you in your internships?
My internships and classes have really complemented each other and have helped me apply what I learn in the classroom to real life. I have had to research, pitch and write press releases in my current internships, all of which I learned through communication courses. Currently, in my crisis communication class, I am working on an honors project that is a vulnerability assessment and crisis plan for Summer Session’s duck race. I think it is so cool that I am able to use what I am learning in class to create something beneficial and useful for an actual event.
Questions composed by Calysta Will
PRecisely PR is the blog of the Illinois State University Chapter of the PRSSA. We write about Chapter events, the public relations industry, member profiles, and more.