By Jessica Jensen
Year In School: Senior
Major: Public Relations
Internship: Marketing and Public Relations Intern, The Iowa 4-H Foundation
As a student in the Iowa State Greenlee School, the importance of the internship course has been ingrained into my head since Day One. The reality is an internship is much more than just a requirement to graduate. It tests your skills and utilizes your knowledge from the classroom in a real-world setting. In my opinion, in order to succeed you must have passion along with a strong desire to learn. This summer, I am fortunate to be an intern at the Iowa 4-H Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises funds to support 4-H programming utilized by over 100,000 Iowa youth. The opportunities presented through 4-H are endless.
I am an ardent 4-H fan, which stems from my own involvement. Growing up, I loved being a member of my local 4-H club. I participated in numerous project areas, with communication projects always being one of my favorites. Giving presentations to large groups, organizing workshops, working with younger 4-H members and serving as club president are just a few examples of my 4-H experiences. In fact, I credit my choice to attend Iowa State University along with the decision to major in public relations to my high involvement in the 4-H Communication project area.
As the marketing and public relations intern, I am able to work on a wide range of projects that are helping grow my professional skills. So far, I have completed numerous promotional materials for both digital and print use, such as posters, invitations and event programs. I have written over 70 press releases and created articles for monthly newsletters. I have also learned how to create a social media calendar, taking it upon myself to learn the ins and outs of Hootsuite, a social media scheduling program. I have also played a large role in the planning and execution of three large events, the Legacy Awards, the 4-H Scholarship Reception and the Northwest Iowa Golf Outing. I am now working on the next event, the Iowa State Fair.
Coming into this internship, I had little to no experience with event planning. Learning the amount of time and effort it takes to put on a successful fundraiser has been eye opening. My supervisor has shown me that attention to detail is what can take an event to the next level and optimize your guests’ overall experience. When the purpose of the event is to raise money for a cause, it is vital to foster an atmosphere that promotes and encourages the attendees to donate to the cause. Aside from event planning, I have also expanded my skills with the Adobe software, primarily InDesign. At the beginning, I was nervous that my Adobe skills would not be up to par, however, my supervisor made me feel comfortable enough to ask for help, even giving me a one-on-one InDesign crash course during my first week on the job.
Describing all I have learned from this internship is hard to do, as I have already gained so much knowledge about not only the professional world, but also myself. My advice to those planning for their internships would be to find an organization you are passionate about, and use that spirit in your work. In addition, have confidence in yourself and know that your supervisor wants you to succeed. Ask questions, absorb all the information you can and most importantly, enjoy the ride!