My summer working for the Iowa Secretary of State

Sarah Collison, junior, advertising

This summer, I had the opportunity to intern with the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office. I served as a communications intern for Secretary Paul Pate. In this role, I was responsible for managing social media pages, creating daily content and assisting with daily projects.

This internship was very beneficial to my educational experience as I continue to work toward attaining my bachelor’s in advertising with a minor in psychology at Iowa State University. I was able to partake in this internship in part due to my Greenlee scholarship. Because this internship was in Des Moines, I had to pay for gas money along with the steep cost of summer tuition. Thanks to the scholarship, I was able to pursue this opportunity and pursue my interests in communications.

This internship meant a lot to me as I closely worked on one of Secretary Pate’s projects, Honor a Veteran. The Honor a Veteran program works to recognize veterans and the sacrifices they’ve made to protect American citizen’s freedoms and right to vote. Through this program, veterans receive an honorary lapel pin and a personalized post on the Honor a Veteran Facebook page. As a military child, I know firsthand the sacrifices that veterans make to protect these freedoms. This program is ensuring that no veteran’s service goes unappreciated. You can follow the Honor a Veteran Facebook page at

During this experience, I gained valuable skills that I can apply to my future at Iowa State and in my future career field of advertising. These include communication skills, project management skills and visual communication skills.

I had not expected to grow as much as I did through this internship. My communication skills are a hundred times better than they were, and it’s all from speaking to hundreds of people that walked through the office this summer. Tourists and Iowans are allowed into the Secretary of State’s Office, and it was part of my job to give them a little tour and make everyone feel welcomed.

The project management skills came from the never-ending projects that seemed to be going on at all times. From planning the State Fair booth to the National Secretaries of State Conference, there was never a dull moment. I was lucky to have taken many Greenlee classes that enhanced my education before my internship—one being Visual Principles. This class helped me dramatically to figure out the right style and direction that I wanted the social media posts to go. By already having this knowledge, I was ready to apply it to real social media posts and grow my skill set as I move towards graduation.

Editor’s note: Edited for length and clarity. Greenlee 499A internship scholarships support students who have a primary major in advertising, journalism and mass communication or public relations and are completing their required 400-hour internships. The application is available each spring.