By: Rachel Gantt, senior, public relations
For my 499A internship, I had the privilege of working with the Ames Convention and Visitors Bureau, also known as Discover Ames. My experience with this nonprofit organization has been nothing short of remarkable, providing me with valuable insights, connections and opportunities to grow both personally and professionally. In this blog, I’ll provide insight into the work I did, the connections I made, the role of my classes in preparing me for this internship, how it has influenced my goals and whether it met my expectations.
Discover Ames serves as the tourism bureau for the city of Ames, but it does much more than just promoting tourism. It’s a nonprofit organization with a mission to enhance and promote all-things Ames. They work tirelessly to highlight the unique qualities of Ames and support local businesses, demonstrating that Ames has something for everyone. Additionally, they collaborate with various groups and organizations, enticing them to host their events in Ames.
My role and skills developed
I joined Discover Ames as a marketing and communications intern, a role that provided me with the opportunity to work on various exciting projects. Together with another intern, I managed the organization’s social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. We also created content for the website, such as blogs and itineraries, and had the responsibility of producing and sending out newsletters. It was an incredibly fulfilling experience to be in charge of the Ames Insider and Discover Ames newsletters. We also played a crucial role in planning and promoting Ames RAGBRAI, which gave me firsthand insight into organizing large-scale events. During my internship, I gained a range of skills, including content creation, social media management, email marketing using tools like Constant Contact and data analysis through Google Analytics. I also worked on social media advertising campaigns, witnessing firsthand how they influenced our online presence and engagement.
Helping plan, organize and promote Ames RAGBRAI was a super unique and exciting experience. RAGBRAI brought around 50,000 riders to Ames. This was a lot to handle, but it was also a lot of fun! The preparation was extensive but all worth it in the end. It was one of the biggest, if not the biggest, event Ames has ever hosted. The day RAGBRAI came to Ames, we all knew we had to get to work. We had a 17-hour day full of fun and excitement (and caffeine)!
Learning to love tourism and small towns
This internship has been a revelation for me, as it unveiled the close connection between public relations and the tourism industry. I’m now intrigued by the idea of pursuing a career in tourism, an area I hadn’t previously considered. My time at Discover Ames allowed me to develop a deep appreciation for my local community, its businesses and the importance of promoting it to the world. I’m genuinely excited about the possibilities this type of work offers.
Working at a nonprofit organization was a fulfilling experience. It’s more than just a focus on profits; it’s about making a positive impact on the community. Discover Ames has a culture that is supportive and purpose-driven, which I deeply appreciated.
Without a doubt, I wholeheartedly recommend this internship to other Iowa State students. The experience was not only educational but also a lot of fun. The culture at Discover Ames is one of growth and support, and the opportunity to work in Ames allowed me to truly appreciate the charm of our small town. This internship exceeded my expectations in many ways. I learned, I grew and I had the autonomy to own my projects. The connections I made, the experiences I gained and the skills I developed have left an indelible mark on my journey. My internship with Discover Ames has been an incredible journey of discovery. It has helped me develop a wide range of skills, from invaluable connections and gaining a deeper appreciation for my local community. This experience has reaffirmed my passion for PR and opened up new career possibilities in the tourism industry. I feel more confident and excited about my future than ever before, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have worked with such a dynamic and supportive organization.
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.