Interns gaining experience

Posted 12-2-2011 by Barrie Hill

Department of Communication students with at least 60 hours of credit or more are encouraged to complete an internship in their major to gain valuable work experience prior to graduation.

Communication students intern with a wide variety of businesses, organizations, and non-profits. The internships not only provide an opportunity for students to apply what they have learned, but many lead to job offers following graduation, reminds Department Chair Dr. Charla Markham Shaw.

"We are proud of the relationships we foster through our internship program, and we encourage students to take advantage of the numerous internship opportunies available through our department," Dr. Markham Shaw said. "The experience and knowledge gained through an internship are invaluable and often set students apart from other applicants when it's time to apply for that first professional position."

This semester, Department of Communication students are interning all over the Dallas-Fort Worth area, with several studnets packing their bags for out of state  positions.

Journalism major J. C. Derrick  is spending the semester in Washington, D.C. as an Archer Fellow where he is interning with The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. His article, “What Joe Paterno taught me: It’s time to stop keeping secrets,” was published in The Washington Post Nov. 11.

"My internship has been extremely valuable to me. It has definitely met and exceeded my expectations," Derrick said. " Due to my background in journalism and my interest in law, I chose The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press to merge those two fields."

"I've been challenged as I covered and learned a lot about media law issues," Derrick added. "The internship has been very useful for teaching me new journalism skills, while also imparting a plethora of knowledge about the legal system. I can now make a much more informed decision about law school."

Like Derrick, many Communication students are finding internship positions equally beneficial.

Ahsan “Ali” Kahn, who will graduate this month with a Public Relations degree, was hired for an internship with Fleishman-Hillard, a leading international communication agency with 80 offices around the world. Kahn will be training in Washington D.C. before working on the firm’s Best Buy account in preparation for a new store opening in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Public Relations students are landing internships with a variety of companies. Public Relations major Kaitlin Hennessy is now Community Relations and Giving Intern at Southwest Airlines, while Ashley Montgomery is serving as a PR intern for MD3 Holdings in Garland. Katy Kiger has accepted a spring Public Relations internship position with Richards Partners, affiliated with The Richards Group.

Breanna Standifer, Spring 2009 PR grad, and Rebecca Strong, Spring 2010 PR grad, served as interns for Open Channels Group, one of the largest minority-owned public relations firms in Texas.

Journalism students often intern with local media outlets. Journalism major Megan Falconer spent the fall semester interning at D Magazine in Dallas. 

Organizational Communication major Sandy Kurtzman is an intern for ARC of Greater Tarrant Country in Fort Worth.

The department's broadcast students are also gaining hands-on experience through internships. Broadcast major Aubree McFadden works with Irving-based Salem Communications as a producer for the Nightlife show. Alanna Quillen and Christine Nicholson, broadcast journalism majors, worked in the newsroom of KXAS NBC 5 this semester, shadowing reporters and assisting producers.

Candace Brown and Jared Mayers landed internships with FSN-SW (Fox Sports Southwest) for the Fall 2011 semester.

In addition to the experience and exposure an internship provides, completing an approved internship through the Department of Communication also earns the student three hours of credit. A student must have a departmental GPA of 3.0 to apply and must have completed appropriate coursework related to the internship.

Internship forms are available in the Department of Communication office in Room 118.

"I would absolutely encourage people to find an internship - even if it's not paid," Derrick advised. "The experience gained will at least make you a better graduate and more attractive to potential employers, but it also might end up changing your life."