Grady InternViews: Kendall Kelly

Kendall Kelly interviews a Cadet after completing their Battle March and Shoot training on Fort Knox, Ky., June 28, 2024.

Grady InternViews: Kendall Kelly

July 09, 2024

This is part of a series where we ask Grady College students to describe their internship experience.  

Kendall Kelly is a fourth-year journalism student working with U.S. Army Cadet Command as a Public Affairs Intern. Read on as she provides insight into what this internship looks like.

Briefly describe your internship and its associated responsibilities.

I am a Public Affairs Intern for the U.S. Army Cadet Command at Fort Knox, Kentucky. I work with a team of 20 interns to create content for Army ROTC pages during Cadet Summer Training. I currently work as a photojournalist. Each day, I go to training sites with my video journalism partner to gather content and conduct interviews. By the end of the day, I post both an article and a photo gallery of that training event. The main goal is to tell the stories of the Cadets and figure out, ‘Why Army?’ In the second half of the summer, I will work as a video journalist and create broadcast packages.

What opportunities did you have during your internship?

I cover all training events at Cadet Summer Training ranging from the rappel tower, live fire ranges, hand grenade assault course, field training exercises and more. I have learned so much about the experience that Army ROTC Cadets receive to develop themselves as future leaders of America. To better understand the training, the intern team has gotten to do some of the training ourselves. I have gone down the 64-foot rappel tower and attempted the obstacle course and the Field Leader Reaction Course.  Most recently, I went up in the Black Hawk Medical Evacuation Helicopter to see how they prepare for medical emergencies.

What skills and knowledge have you gained from your internship?

Working on a strict deadline has been a skill I have had the chance to develop here on Fort Knox. Each day is different, but I usually spend the morning covering a training event which takes anywhere from two to five hours. At Grady, I typically have more time to hash out ideas and edit my work, but the time crunch has gotten easier over time. Prior to this internship, I had never done any photography. Now, I feel confident with a digital camera and using photos as a storytelling element. It is a very collaborative environment so I lean on my other interns for help and guidance as well as the leadership at the Public Affairs Office for the U.S. Army Cadet Command. 

What is one work you are proud of creating in this role?

Kendall Kelly (left) with Audrey Shaw at Florida State University before boarding a medical evacuation helicopter on Fort Knox.
(Photo: Submitted)

I love interviewing Cadets and learning about their journey in the U.S. Army. Each assignment is an opportunity for a new story. I wrote an article featuring Cadet Madalena Roberts from the University of Pittsburgh. I was covering her regiment at their first aid training, which is not the most exciting event at CST. In a short interview, I learned about her time studying Cyrillic through Project Global Officer and her aspirations of being an Army Foreign Area Officer. This feature won the article of the week title among my intern team. It happened to be the day when the Commanding General of U.S. Army Cadet Command was visiting the office, so I was recognized by a two-star general for my work which was an awesome feeling. It reaffirmed my storytelling abilities and encouraged me to keep seeking out unique individuals in the Army ROTC program. 

What challenges have you overcome in this role?

Each day brings a new challenge! When I first arrived, deciphering U.S. Army jargon was a big challenge as I do not come from a military background. Understanding the training that Cadets are going through is crucial to being able to communicate that to a wider audience. Also, with 10 Regiments of Advanced Camp coming through Fort Knox this summer, it is easy for the training events to get repetitive. However, for events I have already covered, I use that time to try to improve my photo gallery from previously or interview more Cadets to find a more compelling story.

How has the Grady curriculum you’ve taken prepared you for this internship?

My Grady courses have heavily emphasized the importance of strong interviews since my first semester. Being able to talk to a wide variety of people and think on my feet has served me well in this internship. My public affairs communication courses with Professor Watson taught me how to write to a specific audience and how to tailor messaging to that audience.

Who is one Grady Professor who has inspired you? 

This past spring, I took Feature Writing with Professor Chiles. He taught us how almost anything can be turned into a story if you ask the right questions. He also encouraged us to write creatively. Most importantly, he fostered an incredibly collaborative classroom environment and I loved the opportunity to get to know more of my classmates. Also, Reporting 3 with Professor Burns was instrumental in learning how different multimedia elements combine to tell the whole story.

What advice would you give to someone looking to apply to similar internships?

Kendall Kelly takes photos of U.S. Army Cadets at Advanced Camp completing their Six Mile Battle March on Fort Knox. (Photo: Submitted)

Do not be afraid to get out of your comfort zone! A year ago, I never would’ve pictured my internship experience would have taken place on a military base. Now, I work with college students from across the country who have similar interests. I was so worried because I felt so behind compared to my peers, but everything happens for a reason.

How has this internship influenced your future career?

This internship has shown me how to take my passion for journalistic storytelling and apply that to a career in public affairs. I didn’t know a job like this existed and I feel so lucky to have stumbled upon it. I don’t know exactly what the future holds, but this job has opened me up to a whole new world of possibility. 

How did you find out about this internship?

Sarah Windmueller, who works for U.S. Army Cadet Command Headquarters in public affairs came to my Advanced Public Affairs Communications course with Professor Watson to tell us about it. It seemed like a unique and hands-on opportunity, so I applied.

Editor: Shannon Lorusso;