University of South Carolina

Leading the way: Student opens doors for internships

By Liz McCarthy, lizmccarthy@sc.edu, 803-777-2848

To Kim Barrett being a Gamecock is all about making connections and staying connected. After all, it was the strong alumni network that convinced her to attend Carolina so far away from her home in Philadelphia.

During the summer, the senior public relations major in the College of Mass Communications and Information Studies saw firsthand how important connections can be and she brought that back to campus where she is helping her fellow classmates make connections in New York City.

“I always dreamed of working in the media industry but had a difficult time obtaining an internship because I had no connections within the industry,” she said.

Barrett worked as an intern with NBCUniversal in the advertising sales department for the summer Olympics. She quickly realized the other interns could call on numerous alums from their colleges for advice, tips and professional networking.

“Within the first week I noticed that certain universities were well represented in their number of interns. Those students had used alumni connections and were guided by their mentors,” she said.

Barrett met one other Gamecock in the iconic 30 Rockefeller Plaza building.  But she’s hoping to change that.

“It took me until half way through the summer to find my fellow Gamecock. Other students found workers that went to their university,” she said. “I didn’t make that connection, but I want to be that person.

As a part of NBCUniversal’s ambassador program, Barrett returned to Carolina to get other students to apply for NBC internships. From the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management to the College of Mass Communications and Information Studies, Barrett has hosted information sessions, talked with classes and met with student groups across campus. She also took the opportunity to enhance one of her classes in the journalism school. 

"I am impressed with Kim's work as a campus ambassador. She has created opportunities for students across campus to learn more about the variety of internships available at NBCUniversal, and is diligently working to help them with their applications," said Lisa Sisk, senior instructor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. "It's clear she appreciates the benefits of her internship, and truly wants to help others get the same experience she had at NBC."

As an ambassador for the media company her job is to act as a liaison between the university’s Career Center and NBCUniversal’s Campus 2 Career department.

“As an ambassador on South Carolina’s campus, my goal is to introduce students to NBCUniversal and help them apply so they can land their dream internship,” she said.

On top of her involvement with her sorority and mentoring student athletes, Barrett has been consulting with interested students, reviewing resumes and offering tips for landing the coveted summer internship in the Big Apple.

“There are so many opportunities there but a lot of students were intimidated,” she said. “NBC wants to recruit students from our school. NBC knows that there are a lot of talented students at South Carolina, and it is my job to encourage these students to apply.”

Of course Barrett hopes her hard work will pay off, for USC and for her. When she graduates in May, she said she hopes her first job is at NBC.

“It would make me proud to get more USC students internships there,” she said. “Part of the reason I came to South Carolina was because I saw how dedicated alumni were in helping promote the University and serving as mentors for students. After spending four years at Carolina it has become a part of who I am and I want to help give back to a place that helped me.” 

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Posted: 01/25/13 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 03/06/13 @ 2:04 PM | Permalink