This is part of a series where we ask Grady College students to describe their summer internship experience.
Briefly describe your internship and responsibilities.
I am an intern at Lockheed Martin. I am based out of the headquarters in Bethesda, M.D. but work remotely from Delta Hall in Washington, D.C.
I log on early because we work on a 10-hours-a-day schedule Monday-Thursday with each Friday off. I can see meetings and tasks come through in my inbox. I have worked on presentations, communications drafts and quality checks for other projects. I check in with my supervisor once a week to track my progress and discuss other projects I may be interested in.
How is your internship affecting the ideas you have about your future?
I have loved my experience so far, and it has confirmed that communications is the right field for me. Every day is different!
What has been your favorite part about living and working in DC?
The energy! There is always something to do and places to see. This is a great place for young professionals who want to be at the heart of public affairs.
When you look back on your internship 10 years from now, what part of your summer internship do you think you’ll remember most?
I know that my supervisors value my ideas and that I’m viewed as an important member of the team. My co-workers are kind and take the time to send projects my way when they know I’ll be interested. I’ll always be grateful my hiring manager gave me the chance to join the team.
What is the most valuable lesson or skill you have learned during your internship?
Communicate! It sounds kind of silly from a communications intern, but talk to your supervisors and your co-workers. Tell them how you’re doing, what you can do for the team and what you need from them.
What do you think made you stand out while applying for the job and what qualities do you have that are helping you succeed?
I think the Public Affairs Communications program catches the eye. It is different and specialized and people always want to hear more about it. In addition, I am personable and love to learn, which drives me as a self-motivated person. It is also critical to have strong communication and time management skills, especially as a remote worker.
How do you feel that the PAC certificate has prepared you for tackling the job?
The writing and strategic thinking skills I have learned through the PAC program made it much easier to start my position and anticipate what my supervisors were expecting of me.
What is your advice for other students looking to take on a similar role, and what advice would you give them if they’re considering a PAC certificate?
Apply anyway. Not sure if you’ll get it? Apply anyway. Take the risk because the education you are receiving will support your goals. To students considering the PAC program: this program is one of a kind and will provide you with the kind of skills that employers in the public affairs realm need. Professor Watson brings his real world experience and knowledge to the classroom to prepare you for your future.
Stephanie Dixon (AB ’18), an inaugural cohort member of the Public Affairs Communications program, experienced the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing last year in a very special manner through her job with Lockheed Martin. In the weeks before the anniversary, Dixon worked behind the scenes on Lockheed’s unveiling of the Orion capsule at the Kennedy Space Center. Decades after the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing, the Orion capsule will carry astronauts to the moon for the upcoming Artemis mission.
Dixon is now permanently based in Denver, Colorado, where she is a content specialist and editor at Lockheed Martin Space.
Before this, Dixon was part of Lockheed Martin’s Communications Leadership Development Program. This two-year, rotational program allowed Dixon to gain experience in external communications with Lockheed’s Rotary and Mission Systems sector before spending her second-year at Lockheed Martin Space. After graduating from CLDP, Dixon was promoted to her current position.
During her time at Lockheed Martin Space, Dixon has worked on internal communications for the company’s contributions to the movie Ad Astra, the Apollo 11 anniversary, multiple satellite launches and the retirement of NASA’s Spitzer Space telescope, which was built by Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin is one of the only companies to have had a role in every mission to space since NASA was founded.
“Whether it is working on program milestone announcements, developing our employee intranet or rolling out new strategic tools to engage our workforce, writing is a core tenet of what I do every day,” said Dixon. “CLDP and Grady played a huge role in allowing me to develop these communications skills, and I look forward to further honing my business acumen with an MBA starting this fall – because communicators should always have a seat at the decision-making table in any business.”
Dixon plans to pursue her master’s in business administration starting this fall at the University of Colorado in Denver. Leading up to her graduation from UGA with a public relations degree in 2018, she held leadership positions in the Public Relations Student Society of America, worked on statewide and congressional political campaigns and interned with a PR agency. Networking and hard work got Dixon to where she is today, and she recommends that all current and future PAC students say ‘yes’ to every volunteer opportunity, guest speaker engagement and informational interview possible to build valuable connections.
Ananda Costa, a December 2016 graduate with a degree in public relations and a New Media certificate, is one of the top students selected for Lockheed Martin’s two-year rotational Communication Leadership Development Program. Throughout her time in Grady College, Ananda gained valuable experience in her leadership roles, including the co-director of AdPR Connection and director of outreach for TEDxUGA.
“We are proud to see Ananda, and many Grady PR graduates before her, selected for this exclusive program,” said Tom Reichert, head of the Department of Advertising and Public Relations. “Only the best students in the nation have this opportunity.”
Lockheed Martin’s Communication Leadership Development Program is an intensive two-year rotational program that introduces participants to corporate communications. The CLDP gives young professionals experience in four facets of communication: media relations, marketing, employee communications and community relations. Participants spend one year focused on employee communications and community relations, followed by a move to a different business area in another part of the country to focus on marketing and media relations.
“I am so honored to have been selected for Lockheed Martin’s Communications Leadership Development Program,” said Costa. “Grady has a proud history of having several students participate in this prestigious initiative. In fact, I couldn’t have gone through the rigorous interview process without the encouragement of exceptional Grady professors, alumni and PRSSA. Having a strong support system of people who helped proof my application materials and provide me with program insights gave me an edge throughout the application process. I am so grateful to Grady and can’t wait to begin my Lockheed journey working with the Space team in Denver soon.”
Costa is one of more than 10 UGA students selected to participate in the highly-competitive program in the past 17 years.