To combat the competitiveness of the field, I decided to gain experience early as well as broaden my perspective on different career routes for public relations.
U.S. Congressman Gary Palmer
The summer after my freshman year, I interned with U.S. Congressman Gary Palmer in his District Office in Birmingham, Alabama. Since he had been recently sworn in a couple of months before I started, we were all learning the ropes together. I sat at the front desk, took phone calls as needed and welcomed incoming visitors. Each morning, I scanned several news sources looking for articles related to federal issues or about Congressman Palmer, and I emailed those to the district director to send to Congressman Palmer. The rest of the time, I worked with the constituent representative and helped her collect data and federal resources.
I was assigned two main projects over the summer. First, I was assigned to create a resource book with federal and state contact information for the constituent representative. As the summer went on, the office created a project that we nicknamed “The Refrigerator Project.” Through this, Congressman Palmer recognized constituents who went above and beyond to give back to their community with a certificate and invited them to a dinner at the end of the year. I was assigned to find articles of extraordinary citizens around the district, and each week I presented my findings.
Jonathan McConnell U.S. Senate Campaign
During my sophomore year, another group of interns and I from across the state worked on Jonathan McConnell’s U.S. Senate Campaign over winter break. For three days, we worked throughout the day and night to organize how we would campaign for him on our campuses and surrounding areas. We contacted businesses across the state asking them to support McConnell by placing a campaign flyer in their restaurant or business.
The campaign was mainly focused on having a heavy social media presence, so our intern group continued to post articles and status updates regarding the campaign until the primary election. In the end, we did not win against the incumbent, but it was a great experience for all of us.
Pike County Chamber of Commerce
This past summer, I went home and interned with the Pike County Chamber of Commerce. When I started, the president was still searching for a vice president, so I had the opportunity to take on tasks that the vice president would have been responsible for. I helped market the chamber to businesses that were not members and continued to help satisfy the needs of current members. Each week, we sent out an online magazine that explained the events coming up across Pike County, and members were given the chance to advertise as well. At the beginning of the week, I would gather everything that would be put in the magazine at the end of each week.
For this internship, I was also assigned two main projects. At the beginning, I started planning a community browse session during each Troy University orientation for incoming freshmen. These browse sessions were for the students’ parents to browse local businesses and resources around Pike County that would potentially benefit their student. These services included financial, medical, vehicle and apartment rental resources.
The second project we tackled as an office was creating our annual Pike County tourism magazine, Visions. We partnered with the local newspaper, The Messenger, to help us write stories and sell advertisements. My job was to update the members’ contact information and present the information in the best format for the magazine.
This summer, I have the great privilege to intern with a public relations and marketing firm called Wilbron, Inc. in downtown Birmingham, Alabama. Check back at the end of the summer to see what I learned through this incredible opportunity.
The photos are used with the courtesy of U.S. Congressman Gary Palmer, Jonathan McConnell, the Pike County Chamber of Commerce and Wilbron, Inc.