A taste of real-world experience

By: Shae Bernhardt, senior, public relations

In the fall 2023 semester, I spent weeks working with a real client in PR 321, “Public Relations Writing.” This experience opened my eyes to career possibilities in content creation and social media planning.

Meeting with talent acquisition

Our class collaborated with Collins Aerospace on two separate projects. For the first project, we worked with Collins talent acquisition recruiters and helped them develop ideas for their careers page, @collinsaerojobs, on Instagram. Our class met virtually with the recruiters where we developed goals and gained insight into their current efforts. Next, we had a panel of five Iowa State aerospace engineering students who helped us understand their social media usage.

For this project, I developed an Instagram analysis, a user persona, a social media content calendar, a sample Instagram reel and four sample Instagram posts. We then presented our ideas to the Collins Aerospace recruiters via a Zoom meeting.

At home in Ames

For our second project, our class was tasked with finding ways to increase attendance at the Collins Aerospace Ames site located on Lincoln Way. The specific audience that my group focused on was current Iowa State interns and co-op participants.

After composing a strategy statement, we created an event flyer and newsletter that could be sent to interns through internal communication. Each group gave a final presentation to Taren Reker and other Collins employees at the Ames site. This opportunity allowed me to view the Ames site in person as well as observe their flight simulator.

What I learned

Working with Collins Aerospace was educational and exciting. I was put outside of my comfort zone in more ways one. Through these projects, I gained real-world experience, items for my portfolio, experience working in teams and critical thinking and strategy-building skills.

End results

Looking at the Collins career page after our collaboration, I’ve seen an improvement in their posts, bios, tagged photos and highlight reels. Knowing our class has made a positive impact on this company is extremely rewarding.

Thank you to Erin Wilgenbusch for securing a partnership with Collins Aerospace for this semester, and thank you to Collins Aerospace for dedicating your time to benefit students’ learning.

Editor’s Note: Edited for length and clarity. This blog was written for an assignment with the Greenlee School’s course PR 321, Public Relations Writing.