Grady InternViews: Caroline Kurzawa

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

Briefly describe your internship and responsibilities.A graphic explaining Kurzawa is a journalism major working as an intern in the integrated communications department for Enterprise Operations at Lockheed Martin in Washington, D.C.

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.

Kurzawa in the doorway of Delta Hall
Kurzawa is a rising senior journalism major. (Photo: submitted)
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.

 

Grady InternViews: Megan Mittelhammer

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

Briefly describe your internship and responsibilities.

A graphic explaining Mittelhammer is a journalism major working as a communications intern at the Georgia Governor's Office in Atlanta, GAA typical day will always start with coffee! I drive to the Capitol, where I compile news clips to send out to the office. We have a morning meeting and discuss what everyone is working on and what’s on tap for that week. I mostly work on proclamations and commendations (when the governor wants to proclaim a certain day or month, or recognize an individual for their contributions to the state). I also update the website, draft social media posts and work on press releases. Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to draft remarks and video scripts for the governor, which is exciting. I’m lucky that I have another intern in the communications office who’s a UGA student. We have a ton of mutual connections, so we’ve become great friends.

How is it structured? Is it remote or in-person and what has that been like?

I’m fortunate to have found an in-person internship, and despite having to wake up early this summer, I’ve loved getting to be in the office and meet new people or just hang out at someone’s desk and chat. You can’t really do that over Zoom.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

I think writing remarks is the biggest challenge so far because I’m still learning the governor’s voice and how to write from his point of view. 

What has been the biggest growth you’ve experienced so far?
Mittelhammer in an orange shirt outside the capitol
Megan works in-person every day at the Gold Dome in downtown Atlanta. (Photo: submitted)

I feel like my confidence in my abilities has grown, especially over the past year. When I was offered the internship, that boosted my confidence tremendously. Most of my experience has come from writing for The Red & Black, but getting to put skills from my Public Affairs Communications classes into action has been rewarding.  

How do you feel that Grady has prepared you for tackling the job?

My classes and professors at Grady have done a great job preparing me for this internship. In my PAC class, we practice writing a variety of releases, briefs, etc. — a lot of things that I’m working on right now! And when I have to fact check information or craft social posts, I know I’m using skills from my journalism classes.

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?

It’s all about connections! I knew some friends who did this same internship and encouraged me to apply, and my mentor was a huge help in so many aspects of the internship search process and acted as a knowledgeable resource. For new Grady students, start out networking among your cohort and professors, and definitely get involved with the UGA Mentor Program. Your list of connections will only grow from there.

If you’re thinking about any combination of writing and politics, definitely connect with a PAC student and apply to the PAC program!

What lessons will you take back with you to Athens in the fall?

The lessons I’ll take with me are to trust in my abilities as a writer and communicator, and to not be afraid to try new things. I take the initiative to ask for certain projects that I’ve never really done before, and it has paid off. I like serving and informing Georgians through this internship, and I’ll keep that in mind when I begin Newsource in the fall. I’ve been given a lot of responsibility and opportunities that I know are preparing me for my classes in the fall as well as life after college.

Grady InternViews: Chandler Rebel

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

Briefly describe your internship and responsibilities.

The company I am working for is the Institute for Energy Research, my title is Communications Intern and I am working in Washington D.C. It is your typical 9-5. I metro in with some coffee and immediately get to work on writing press releases and opinion-editorials (Op-Eds). In addition to this, I assist in the development of the company’s website as well as assist in research. I also closely monitor our blog and Twitter for trending hashtags and subjects to tweet about. I participate in calls with major contributors to the organization and assist with their podcasts releasing’s. In an environment such as this, I am always jumping task to task, writing for publishers, researching for material and keeping a streamline communications department on track.

How is your internship affecting the ideas you have about your future? 

It is more than confirming my future aspirations. Being able to work in a journalistic capacity covering a political issue is very rewarding and I like to think I am already making a difference.

What has been your favorite part about living and working in DC?

My favorite part about living and working in DC would have to be the friends I have had the chance of making along the way. And also an occasional Washington Nationals game.

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 think I will remember my fantastic organization taking a chance on me and pouring so much knowledge into my work ethic.

What is the most valuable lesson or skill you have learned during your internship?

Always edit, and after you edit, edit again and again. 

How do you feel that the Public Affairs Professional certificate in Public Affairs Communications has prepared you for tackling the job?

I feel that the PAC certificate has more than prepared me. I have a long way to go before writing flawlessly, but I have learned to do so adequately through the program. It has also contributed to being able to adapt with an ever-changing political environment

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?

By all means, do it! You have to have an attitude that desires personal growth and an invaluable opportunity. These internships, along with the PAC certificate, are the perfect way to continue this growth.

What has been the most memorable experience you have had during your internship so far? 

So far, it was walking out to grab something and seeing former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sitting at the conference table.

Editor’s Note: The Public Affairs Communications Program is a certificate program within Grady College that provides students with practical training in the strategy and practice of public affairs communications focused on public policy and politics.