Bryant Students Take Public Relations

The Amica Career Center interviewed three Bryant communication majors about their summer internships in public relations.  Sophomore Veronica Watkins interned at Shadow PR in New York, NY, junior Shannon Foglia interned at CCA Global Partners & Carpet One in Manchester, NH, and senior Haley Jones interned at Nike Communications in New York, NY.

 

How did you get this internship?
VW: One of my dad’s employees recommended me for the position, I sent in my resume and then interviewed during winter break and got the job.
SF: Amy Weinstein showed me how to effectively use Indeed.com which was where I found this job listing.  I applied for the PR & Social Media Internship for CCA Global Partners and Carpet One Floor & Home, went through a couple interviews, and was offered the position!
HJ: I found the company website and applied online.

What were your daily responsibilities at your internship?
VW: My responsibilities consisted of putting together a pitch memo for their Buca di Beppo account. Buca di Beppo is an Italian restaurant chain.  This was basically a list of food bloggers, local newspapers and magazines that would possibly feature the client in a specific area. I also would do daily clips of clients when they were featured in magazines, newspapers or online sites.
SF: Two of my primary responsibilities included writing content for Carpet One’s social media accounts and interior design blog Beautiful Design Made Simple.  Other responsibilities included writing consumer facing press releases, digital magazine articles, and supporting the company’s cause-related programs.  Every day, I was able to attend and contribute to marketing meetings, communication meetings, and brainstorming sessions!  One of my favorite daily responsibilities was working closely with three other interns on a project to design a new initiative for the company.  We worked with Southern New Hampshire University to create a hands-on business class program sponsored by CCA Global Partners that is actually being used!
HJ: My daily responsibilities included helping the Account Executives in any way possible – creating media clips for our clients, making media lists, going to client breakfasts, inventory sample stock, deliver products to clients throughout NYC, and sitting in on client meetings.

What was your favorite memory at your internship?
VW: My favorite memory was when we held a photo shoot for babies dressed as celebrities in the office and I was able to help put together some of their outfits.  Other memories I had were being able to put together one of the biggest mailers in PR History. We put together 200 gift bags to celebrities to go to the opening of the Senor Frog’s in NYC – the first ever in New York and the states! It was such a big project but such an amazing learning experience. Putting together a mailer is a huge part of public relations and I could say I did at least one a week. I got to write notes to celebrities all the time which was so cool!
SF: I had so many great memories at my internship!  Many of them have to do with the many friends I made at CCA.  From spending time getting to know the CEO of the company to participating in Thursday yoga classes to enjoying the fact that every Friday is “Bring your Dog to Work Day,” it’s hard to pick just one favorite.  My favorite experience was when Frank Siller, the CEO of the Stephen Siller Foundation, came to speak to the interns.  Carpet One Floor & Home supports this organization.  He runs Building for America’s Bravest, an organization that builds smart homes for severely injured soldiers.  He was so inspiring, and I was honored to be able to design a digital magazine telling the stories of the soldiers who received smart homes.
HJ: My favorite part of my internship was actually going to client events. One of the clients that I was put on was Montblanc – I was able to attend their press preview for the new collection. There, I was able to see key media outlet representatives ‘walk through’ the showroom, sample the new pieces, talk to Montblanc personnel and our PR team. It was cool to see how the press goes about picking pieces that they want to feature in their magazines / newspapers.

What was the most challenging part about your internship?
VW: The most challenging part was trying to figure out my tasks without asking too many questions. I never wanted to keep asking people what to do because everyone was super busy. Interpreting exactly what someone wanted was a difficult challenge.  I also had to overcome navigating Manhattan. I was sent all over the city and sometimes I really didn’t know where I was going but I had to figure it out to get the task done. Working with others was also a huge part of my job. Some of the other interns did not take everything seriously or really care about learning and building their career. Working with them was a learning experience because I had to be patient and sometimes do more of the work when we were given a project.
SF: The most challenging part of my internship was learning so much about the company.  CCA Global Partners is a cooperative – an uncommon business structure.  There are fourteen cooperatives within it, and it took me and the other interns a few weeks to fully understand the scope of CCA’s businesses and activities.
HJ: The most challenging part of the internship was working a full day (I really like to nap). Ha, but work wise, everyone that I worked for preferred their media clips a specific way. I spent a lot of time in the beginning of the internship re-clipping articles because I couldn’t keep track of who wanted what.

How will this further your career?
VW: This internship will help me further my career because I learned so much about the PR world. I now know the major websites firms use to find information about their clients as well as how to write a pitch. I also learned how to work in an office.
SF: This internship taught me so much about public relations, communications, and working in the “real world.”  It taught me the importance of company culture and loving who you work with!  After having participated in this internship, I have the experience to apply for more positions and the confidence to get them!
HJ: This internship solidified that I DO want to continue a career in Public Relations. It is a known PR agency with a reputable Internship program, so I am confident that it will help me have a leg up when it comes time to look for jobs.

What is your best piece of advice for underclassmen?
VW: I would tell underclassmen to 100% find some sort of internship. You learn so much and it helps you decide if you think that career path is right for you. Also working in a office is similar in a lot of places so it’s something most people are going to need to learn. It is a great experience and really helps you prepare for the real world.
SF: Pay attention to company culture and environment!  I enjoyed every single day I spent at CCA Global Partners.  Being happy and enjoying your workplace is a reasonable and important goal!
HJ: The best advice I have for underclassman is to get to know a few people really well (when working). Bryant stresses the need to network, which IS great, but I think that you will get further if you know a few people really well – people that can vouch for you and actually talk about your work ethic. Knowing a lot of people in an industry is good, but usually it’s surface level connections. Knowing a few people really well could further your career a lot more!


Kurt Deion and Hands-On History

At only seven years old, Bryant senior Kurt Deion knew what his passion was – American presidential history.  Since then, Kurt has spent the last 13 years turning his passion into his pursuit of learning with what he calls “Hands-on History.”

“It’s one thing to learn about things and places in books,” said Kurt.  “But actually experiencing it is a totally different way of learning.”

Breaking a Record

Kurt found his love for presidential history in the second grade while reading a book about the presidents.  As his interest grew, he learned about Brian Lamb, the founder of C-SPAN, who had visited the grave sites of every U.S. president.  Inspired by Lamb and presidential historian Richard Norton Smith, Kurt asked his father, “could we do that too?”  His answer was yes.

Fast forward to 2012, and Kurt paid his respects to President Lyndon B. Johnson, his last grave site, to achieve his goal.  Only two years later, he accomplished the same, but for vice presidents.  As far as anyone knows, Kurt is the only person to have visited all of the grave sites of every U.S. president and vice president.

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Kurt with President George Washington’s grave in 2015

“I really like to focus on the presidents’ personal lives,” said Kurt.  “I like to find things out about why they got elected to office.  How were they different from us?  How were they similar to us? Who was down to earth?  Who didn’t let the presidency change them?”

Not only does Kurt visit commanders-in-chief, but he’s also visited many other notables.  From Louisa May Alcott to Chris Farley, Kurt’s had his hands on a fair share of American history.  Some of the most interesting grave sites he’s visited include:

  • F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Al Capone
  • Edgar Allan Poe
  • Louis Armstrong
  • Clara Barton
  • John Wilkes Booth
  • Henry Ford
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Katharine Hepburn
  • Curly Howard of the Three Stooges
  • Elvis Presley
  • Paul Revere
  • Babe Ruth
  • The Boston Massacre Victims
  • And many more.

“I view this as a lifelong journey,” said Kurt. “If anybody notable is nearby, I’ll go to them.”

Kurt has credited the support of his parents as a reason for his success at accomplishing his goal.  Now, he works on getting the signers of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence as well as the Supreme Court Justices.

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Kurt with Nelson Rockefeller’s grave

With almost 400 grave sites under his belt, Kurt is most proud of accessing Nelson Rockefeller’s.  Nicknamed the “Holy Grail” to grave sites, Kurt and his father were able to find the former vice president’s grave site by pure chance.  A tree had fallen, crushing a fence that hid his grave.  This is what differentiates Kurt as the only person to have been to every single presidential and vice presidential grave site.  In fact, his inspiration Brian Lamb is missing only this site.  Kurt’s father also skipped out on Vice President Henry Wilson’s grave, again making Kurt the only one to see them all.

Meeting the Press…and the Presidents

After trying to contact C-SPAN a few times in the past five years, Kurt was finally able to get in touch with Brian Lamb, the host of Q&A on C-SPAN and his inspiration, this summer.  He set up a meeting with Lamb and within minutes, Lamb decided he had to interview Kurt on the show.  Not only was Kurt able to meet his inspiration, but he was also able to be interviewed on television by him.  Lamb has also interviews people like George W. Bush and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

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Kurt on the set of C-SPAN with Brian Lamb

Lamb had read Kurt’s stories and been on his website.  He was fascinated by how Kurt managed to get to Nelson Rockefeller’s grave.

“Being interviewed by him kind of brought everything full circle,” said Kurt.  “He was my inspiration.”

After his first television interview, Kurt said it was nerve wracking, but viewers noticed only his confidence and passion for what he does.  The set was small, the cameras were on, and there weren’t any re-dos.

C-SPAN was not the first to cover Kurt’s stories.  He has also been featured on ABC 6, WPRI, the Cranston Herald, the Brown Daily Herald, the Brown Alumni Magazine, and the Providence Journal.  Not only has Kurt had the opportunity to meet some press, but he’s also had the opportunity to meet some presidents.

In 2005, Kurt was able to meet Bill Clinton at Brown University.  Years later, he met Hillary Clinton at a book signing and made sure to hand over two business cards – one for her and one for Bill.  In 2013, Kurt traveled to Georgia to meet President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn.  He attended a Sunday School class taught by the former president himself and was able to smile for some photos.  Over the years, Kurt has met other famous government officials including the House Ways and Means Committee Chair Paul Ryan over the summer and former senator Chris Dodd at the Machtley’s.

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Kurt with President Bill Clinton in 2005

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Kurt and his father with President Carter and his wife in 2013

While meeting these people is always exciting for Kurt, his favorite person to meet was James Leavelle, a homicide detective from Texas who was escorting Lee Harvey Oswald, JFK’s killer, when he was killed by Jack Ruby.  He is known for being in one of history’s most infamous photos.  Fascinated by Leavelle, Kurt asked to meet up with him and the 91-year-old Texan agreed.  They spent hours together talking, and Kurt got him to agree to recreate the photo together.

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The photo pokes fun at a Florida law that banned super soakers from being carried.  Kurt and his father are hoping to pursue a television series called Scofflaws in which they will satirize different laws, rules, and regulations that are ridiculous.

Passion to Career

Kurt’s love and knowledge of presidents and history got him an internship with the U.S. Capitol Historical Society through the Amica Career Center’s connections with the Washington Center.  He worked as an intern whose main duty was to research content ideas for the 2018 Fact-a-Day calendar.

Kurt made sure he didn’t waste a minute of his time in D.C. He spent a lot of time working in the library of congress, read through letters written by Thomas Jefferson, attended a dinner to honor the House Ways and Means Committee, went back to sites like Mount Vernon, and watched fireworks over the Washington monument on the Fourth of July.

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Looking into the future, Kurt hopes to be the director or curator at a notable historic site, presidential museum, or library.  For now, he wants to continue with his historical research and attend graduate school.

For more information on Kurt and his pursuits, visit his website: http://kurtshistoricsites.com/


Written by Shannon Foglia

Shannon Bio


Intern Casey’s Experience at Barstool Sports

Name: Casey Baker

casey

Year: 2016

Major: Marketing

Internship: Marketing Intern at Barstool Sports

How did you get this internship?

One day, during the spring when the New England Patriots were going through Deflategate, the owner of Barstool, Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) tweeted that they were looking for a t-shirt design for Deflategate. They wanted  to play off the TV show Game of Thrones and to say “Defend the Wall”. Since I have a lot of graphic design skills, I quickly created two designs. The next day, I was about to email it to Barstool when I saw Dave tweeted once again. This time he was talking about how they are looking for interns of the summer. I quickly decided to not only email them my t-shirt designs, but also my resume and cover letter with a message about how I would love to apply for an internship with Barstool. I received an email back stating how they loved my designs and they would like to have me come in for an interview. In the days before my interview, Barstool was documenting their internship process like it was the auditions of American Idol. They videotaped all their interviews. While most companies might videotape interviews to look back at someone’s performance, Barstool did this to create a performance. They wanted to make sure if something funny or weird happened, they had it on camera and could post it on the website. Sorry to disappoint, but I did not do anything that was “blog worthy”. However, later that week, I got an email that they wanted me to board the pirate ship and intern for them this summer.

What were your daily responsibilities at your internship?

My responsibilities mostly had to do with using social media and graphic design. My task was to manage Barstool’s social media accounts. This included their main account (@barstoolsports) which has over 200,000 followers. Before I started working at Barstool, the only thing that was tweeted on their main account was links to their articles. When Dave brought me in, he said he wanted the account to have a voice and tweet more content. I did this by watching sport games and making sure if anything major or funny happened, I would record it and post it on the twitter account.

This also included much more than just sports. It included anything that I thought could go viral and I would then post it – like this video of LeBron James or this clip of “Donald Trump.”

In the last month of my internship with Barstool Sports, Adweek.com said that Barstool Sports saw the highest growth of any social media publisher in August at 125 percent. Since my job was to grow their social media accounts, I take a lot of pride in that.

I also helped Barstool with anything they needed graphically using Photoshop and more. When the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup championship this summer, I was asked to create a couple t-shirt designs. I created a couple and they ended up using one of my designs.

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I was asked to create an RV wrap design to present to Draft Kings, who is sponsoring the Barstool Dixie tour. The design was shown to Draft Kings as a way to demonstrate to them how they will be represented on the tour.

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During my time at Barstool, I also wrote a couple blogs. Because I was an intern, I could not just post whatever I wanted. I would write an article and post it as a draft. It would then be reviewed and if it was deemed worthy, it would be posted.  These included “Gronk Does a Promo for the Gronk Family Party Ship and it’s Fire,” “Jamie Collins Reminds us why we’re not Pro Football Players,” “Deion Sanders Dressed in Drag in Lip Sync Battle VS Justin Bieber,” and “ESPN Makes Deflategate Joke in Ad.”

What was your favorite memory/experience at your internship?

My favorite memory would probably be my first day. Heading into my first day at the Barstool Sports Boston office, I was really nervous. During my interview with Dave, I was not really aware of exactly what my role was going to be working for them. During the interview, it was more of me selling myself to them. They asked me what my skills were and how I could help them this summer. So coming into the office on day 1, I was anxious to figure out exactly what my role was. When I walked into the office, I was greeted by three other interns, Mike, Adam, and Dana. I also noticed that down the hall was Dave and Paul, who was my manager. They were talking to another intern, Tyler. Mike, Adam and Dana were all sitting down at a desk and there were no available chairs left. So, I stood there waiting for someone to tell me what to do. Someone finally did, Dave. He came up to me and said, “Oh hey, you do not have a chair? Hank, take Casey and go to the store and pick up some chairs.”. I left with Hank, who was a former intern, who now works full-time. I went with him to Staples.

We got there and Hank handed me the company credit card and said, “Hey, I have to go run into Best Buy real quick. Grab some chairs and I’ll meet you outside with the chairs.”. I got nervous because I had no idea what chairs to buy. There was a large variety of office chairs to pick from and I didn’t want to mess up my first task. Luckily, there was a sale going on for a pretty nice chair and they had the exact number we needed. So, I bought them and we took them back to the office.

We brought them back to the office and it was our jobs, the interns, to build these chairs. When we finally figured how to put them together, we all sat at our new desks. I still have yet to be told exactly what my job was. I looked over at Mike, who sat right next to me, and asked him what he was working on. He said, “Oh nothing, I’m just on Twitter, I have no idea what to do.”. I looked around and the other interns seemed to be in the same boat.

I decided to walk into Paul’s office and ask him what I should be working on. He told me that Dave said he had something for me to work on and to go up to his office in five minutes. I waited five minutes and when I walked up the steps to Dave’s office, he gave me a confused look. “You’re up here?” He says to me. I respond, “Hey yeah, I was just wondering what you wanted me to do today.” He then went on to tell me that he thought he made it clear in the interview (which he didn’t) that he hired us to come up with our own tasks, and that he was not going to babysit us all summer and tell us what to do every day. I was told that I needed to find my own way to contribute to the company just like everyone else. I was so embarrassed and said, “Oh sorry, Paul told me you had something for me to do today and to come up here to see you”. He then called for Paul and asked him if he sent me upstairs. When he found out that in fact he did, he told him that he made it perfectly clear that he did not want the interns in his office.

As I was about to walk downstairs, Dave told me he had an idea for me to work on. The NBA Playoffs were going on and Lebron James had recently said a bunch of quotes about how hurt he was, but he was still playing through the pain. Dave told me to collect a bunch of the recent quotes, as well as old quotes, to be used in a blog. I told Mike and we started researching. We found a bunch of quotes, but then I came up with an idea. Instead of putting these quotes in text form, why don’t I make a highlight video of Lebron acting hurt and being a big baby. I pitched the idea to Dave and he loved it. My first day at Barstool quickly turned from being a bad one to a great one.

What was the biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge was to understand my role as an intern and to do it to the best of my abilities. Finding a role was challenging at first, but once I found mine, I felt like I made a contribution to the company.

How will this further your career?

When looking into the future, I believe that everything I learned during my time at Barstool can be used and can help me in my professional career. Working this summer, in a position that I know I want to work in in the future, makes me believe that this experience was a great first step. In my internship, I was able to use my skills and display them on a huge platform. The experience I received at Barstool will show future employers that I have the experience and I can handle running social media accounts for large companies. Also, this experience will show companies that I am an asset. I have the creativity to come up with the idea and I also have the technical skills to design the idea. I feel like all the graphic work and video editing I did over the summer for Barstool is a must have skill today. Graphic art work is so important. I am happy that over the summer I have been able to not only improve my skills, but to also understand how to apply them in a business setting.

What is your best advice for underclassmen?

My advice to underclassmen is to find out what you love to do and do it. Figure out what you enjoy doing and figure out how you can use your passion to make yourself successful. I loved my internship because I was doing what I love to do and  I worked for a company that I loved working for. Don’t just follow what everyone else is doing , you should figure out what makes you happy. This is your life, your career, make sure you’re going to enjoy it!