Grady InternViews: Ciara Pysczynski

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

Briefly describe your internship and responsibilities. Graphic explains Pysczynski is a public relations and theatre major working as a Film PR Intern and Communications Intern at both PR Collaborative and NP Agency both remotely and in-person in Washington, D.C.

With both of my internships, my primary duty is basically filling in the gaps — helping out with big tasks and taking on smaller ones. There isn’t too much consistency to my day beyond showing up! At NP Agency, I get to write a lot of social copy, and I’ve also compiled clips, transcribed press calls and pitched journalists. At PR Collaborative, I’ve tracked media hits for a major film festival, identified images to share with the press and conducted research on journalists and other organizations.

I have one position that’s fully remote with only one regular staff meeting each week, and then one fully in-person, where I see my co-workers/bosses every day. With NP, I’m on the clock from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, but unless a press call or other time-sensitive task comes up, I get to decide how I structure my day. My internship with PRC has a bit more structure to it. On Thursday and Friday, my day starts with our meetings at 10, and then I’m given my assignment(s) for the day. My first-ever internship was in the middle of the pandemic last semester, so I’ve been so grateful to experience in-person work. 

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

Pysczynski posing outside Delta Hall
Pysczynski poses outside Delta Hall in Washington, D.C. where she is working in-person for PR Collaborative. (Photo: submitted)

In all honesty, the biggest challenge I’ve faced has been myself. Through my work this summer, I’ve discovered I like work that is a) creative or b) made up of very clear, discrete steps. So, things like writing tweets or filling in a spreadsheet. Tasks that are neither of those things – that are really open-ended and don’t allow me to be creative, like a research assignment – are much more difficult. Especially while working from home, where something much more engaging is only a tap away and I don’t have my boss in the next room, I’ve found it at times incredibly challenging to stay on task. That said, I’m learning strategies to deal with that and keep myself focused, because I know this won’t be the last time in my career that I have to complete less engaging duties.

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

My coursework at Grady has given me a lot of confidence in my writing and approach to PR. I have to give a special shoutout to Tom Cullen and his PR Communications class, because I learned so much in that course that I refer back to, from press release guidelines to AP Style rules. If I don’t think my social copy would get me an ‘A’ in that class, I know it needs more work!

What is your advice for other students looking to take on a similar role?

Don’t underestimate yourself. When I first started writing social copy for NP, I thought it was so terrible. Like I thought they were going to send it back to me absolutely torn to shreds. But everyone seemed to be pretty happy with it! Make no mistake, my work still gets a lot of edits, but that’s the nature of the business. You might have used the wrong dash or not known a client-specific style rule, but you probably have the right idea with the concept, which, in my opinion, is the most important thing. And even if you do write some absolutely abysmal copy, it is NOT the end of the world, and your boss will NOT think you are stupid. Everyone does that sometimes.

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

Pyscznski sitting in front of a laptop at her desk
Pysczynski works remotely for her role with NP Agency. (Photo: submitted)

I have a lot more confidence in my ability to do this work now, and a much better idea of how I fit into the world of PR. As I finish out my Grady coursework, I’ll be able to think about how the work I’m doing would fit in the context of what I did at NP and PRC and be able to understand and apply the lessons more fully. I’ve also learned a lot about myself and what I’m interested in, which I think is the most important part of any internship experience. I know I want to focus more on my copywriting beyond social, and on longer-form writing in general. I’ve learned I like working for a smaller agency/team, and that I am (as I suspected), most engaged and inspired when I’m applying that second major and working in the entertainment industry.

#GradyGrit: Meet Lottie Smalley

Editor’s Note: #GradyGrit is a new series of profiles of Grady College students who show determination, leadership and outreach to the community. Search “#GradyGrit” on the Grady College website for additional profiles. 

Hometown: Chattanooga, Tennessee

Year: Junior

Degree: Public Relations major, Design & Media Minor

Activities and Involvement: Director of Communications for the Student Government Association, member of PRSSA, member of Ad Club, member of Women in Media, member of DiGamma Kappa Broadcast Society, member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and  member of the Order of Omega Greek Honor Society, content creator on YouTube

How has Grady influenced your time at UGA?

Grady College has influenced my time at UGA in more ways than I can count. From the incredible professors to the amazing student organizations, I am so proud to be a Grady Dawg. Everyone in Grady wants to see each other succeed. It’s such a supportive community of creatives who understand the value of collaboration and don’t equate that to competition.

“[Grady is] such a supportive community of creatives who understand the value of collaboration and don’t equate that to competition. – Lottie Smalley

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

My most memorable Grady experience was definitely studying abroad with Global Grady. Last May I lived in Munich for a month and studied travel journalism with some pretty incredible people. The most unexpected but best part about my trip to Germany was the connection I made with my professor, Dodie Cantrell. Her expertise and insight was invaluable and her friendship is something I will cherish forever.

What has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?

Meeting viewers here on-campus that recognize me from YouTube has had a big impact on me. I started my YouTube channel six years ago as a creative outlet and never imagined it would grow to the following I have now. My videos started out as middle school makeup looks and must-haves, but as I grew, my channel grew alongside me. College can be overwhelming, and I’ve been told that my latest videos with topics ranging from college essentials to freshman advice can be vehicles to self confidence. It really is the most rewarding job and is so encouraging when I meet girls on campus who watch my videos and tell me I made them feel comfortable. Even at my Grady orientation, I met a viewer from Colorado who struggled to know if UGA was right for her as she was unable to visit for a tour. She told me that my videos were so helpful in her decision to transfer to UGA, and she couldn’t thank me enough for being that resource for her. Those are the people who impact me and inspire me to keep doing what I love.

What motivates you?

I’m constantly motivated by the fear of being average. I don’t want to feel like I had all this potential and didn’t use it.

Favorite smartphone app?

I have an app called “Grateful” that reminds me to log something I’m thankful for each day. I love it because it keeps me mindful and thankful for the abundance in my life.

Who is your professional hero and why?

Lucie Fink is just a few years older than me but is a huge inspiration. She turned her passion for digital media and video production into a full-time custom position at Refinery 29 in just over a year. Forbes has a great article on her if you want to learn more.

What is your proudest moment in the past year?

One of my proudest moments in the past year was completing my travel journalism video package in Germany during my study abroad trip. As a PR major, it gave me a lot of confidence to know if I can do this in Munich where most people speak German, doing this at home will be a piece of cake.

Lottie Smalley travelled to Munich, Germany, where she studied travel journalism.

What is your favorite creative outlet?

My favorite creative outlet has always been YouTube. I feel like I can be most authentically myself in my YouTube videos whereas Instagram and other social media can tend to portray a sense of false perfection.

Favorite quote?

Quotations are one of my favorite sources of inspiration, and I typically have a new favorite every week. One that I’ll always love is, “What you think about and thank about, you bring about.”

What would people be surprised to know about you?

Something that might surprise people is that I don’t drink coffee. I’ll have an iced latte on rare occasions, but if I do, it’s a treat. I try to stick to drinking a ton of water every morning instead.

Create your own question: What’s your dream job in public relations?

I like to say that I don’t necessarily have a “dream job.” With the ever-changing social and digital media landscape we have today, for all I know my “dream job” may not even exist yet. With that being said, I have two jobs that I’m eyeing right now. First, I would love to create social media video content for a women’s outlet like Allure or Bustle. But I also would love to work as a creative director for an agency specializing in beauty and consumer lifestyle products.

PR major is an inaugural Chambliss Fellow

Eleanor Traynham, a double major in political science and public relations, is one of three University of Georgia students selected as the first Chambliss Fellows.

The fellowship program is part of the Chambliss Leadership Forum, which honors the commitment of public service that has defined the lives of former Sen. Saxby Chambliss and his wife, Julianne, and provides a platform to share his insights and expertise with the next generation of leaders.

Traynham is spending the Spring semester at UGA’s Delta Hall Washington, D.C.  working in Sen. Johnny Isakson’s office.  She hopes the internship is the start of a career in Washington, D.C.

“It’s my dream to work on the Hill,” she said, “so interning is a pretty essential first step.”

Traynham knows she wants to work in politics and plans to take this opportunity to decide on the exact role she’d like to play and where she sees herself in the future.

“It’s very fast paced, and every day is different. So far I really enjoy working in that environment,” she said. “I have learned to never be afraid to ask questions.”

Read the full story in UGA Columns.