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Students get real-world exposure to their academic interests through summer internships

Posted Sept. 26, 2014
By Haley Hinze, first year M.M.C. student

The field of communications is a universe, continuously expanding and morphing. A degree in this field can land you almost anywhere doing almost anything. At the USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications, there are numerous classes that can help you find your niche. But how can you get real-world exposure and discover where your passion lies? One simple word: internships.

This summer, students in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications interned at companies nationwide, gaining out-of-classroom experiences crucial to their future success in the industry. Career Services Director Beverly Dominick firmly believes that students who complete internships "have a much easier time finding that first job because they've already built those skills."

Here are but a few of the students' experiences: 

People's Revolution - Alana Fuscardo

Public relations major Alana Fuscardo interned with fashion PR firm People's Revolution in New York City. Fuscardo worked for her idol, Kelly Cutrone, from America's Next Top Model and The Hills.

"Kelly was in the office almost every day and she was very kind, funny and helpful," said Fuscardo. "She really wanted us to learn and was hands on during the process."

Fuscardo's typical workday lasted anywhere from nine to 14 hours, during which she transferred clothing samples in and out of a showroom for celebrities. She would then research their clients (including Pharrell, Sarah Jessica Parker and Wiz Khalifa) to see if they wore clothing from the samples and report the positive press to the designer.

In addition to generating press for celebrities and big-name fashion designers, Fuscardo helped in the preparations for one of the biggest events of the year in the style world: New York Fashion Week. She plans to return in September to help People's Revolution's clients in their shows.

Looking back on her summer experiences, Fuscardo "cannot believe her luck" to be able to learn alongside one of her fashion PR heroes. And her advice for those looking to do the same? "The fashion industry is very demanding, but if you are willing to put in the work it can be very rewarding."

6ABC WPVI-TV - Charles Ringwalt

Charles Ringwalt, a broadcast journalism student, spent his summer working at the television station he and his family grew up watching in the Philadelphia area. "It is safe to say that I idolized anyone who ever told me that they had any connection to "Channel 6"," he said. 

"I cannot think of another time when I was more excited than when I received the call from my then soon-to-be supervisor, letting me know that the internship was mine."

WPVI has been an award-winning station for 40 years, and according to Ringwalt, their internship program is no exception. "They take you under their wings and guide you, pushing you to your limits and forcing you to realize your potential," he said. He even got to work with 2004 J-school alumni Kenneth Moton and Eva Pilgrim who are reporting and anchoring at the station.

Of all the things he learned about his internship, three key elements stick with him:

  • A good writer makes a good journalist. A great writer makes a great journalist.
  • Journalists have stories to tell, and becoming a good storyteller will get you far in the business.
  • Never stop being a student of the industry. There is always something to learn from it.

The opportunities Ringwalt had and his determination to make the most of his internship not only gave him skills for his future career, but also showed him how to succeed in every aspect of his professional career.

DXL Group - Michael Brandewie

Advertising student Michael Brandewie completed a 10-week brand management internship in Canton, Mass. with DXL Group, operators of men's specialty clothing stores such as Rochester Clothing and Casual Male XL.

One of the projects Brandewie worked on involved revamping the company's social media presence. After presenting his ideas to the human resources department, he was given administrative control over their LinkedIn profile. Through this, he was able to monitor the interaction between the brand and its consumers.

His second project was a competitive landscape report in which he analyzed data from specific DXL stores and compared them to their local competition. His report, "complete with bar graphs and charts was discussed at a board room meeting with the CEO and will be used by the real estate team to plan future store locations," he said.

Through his summer experience, Brandewie says he " was truly integrated into the marketing department at DXL and was trusted by his supervisors with projects that would in turn increase brand awareness, conversion rates, revenue and, ultimately, the value of stock."

These students represent just a few of the many school's undergraduates that utilize internships to find where they want to go post-graduation. Dominick says that whether or not you know where your career path is headed, college internships are the best way to find out where you fit in this immense industry.

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Haley Hinze

Haley Hinze is a first-year Master of Mass Communication student from Greenville, S.C. With interests in both written and visual communications, she aspires to enter the magazine publishing industry. When she's not in school, you can find her traveling almost anywhere in the country.



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