Communication Students’ Find Their Best Career Fit

Posted: Thursday, September 3rd 2015 at 6:36 PM

By MacKenzie Chase, FCB Writer and recent graduate from NAU

As a student from the School of Communication who completed a summer internship before senior year and was then hired at the company upon graduation, I understand the importance of internships. They give students a chance to experience the workplace culture and hit the ground running in their field of study. It’s not about filing paperwork and fetching coffee anymore; current interns are given real projects with high expectations from their supervisors.”

Senior journalism major Nikki Charnstrom contacted a number of local Flagstaff publications looking for an internship before eventually getting a response from the Noise, a non-profit monthly arts and news publication.

“The editor, Clair Anna Rose, said she would be happy to have an intern for the arts section so I sent her my resume, some past writing samples and within days, I was given the position,” she said.

Charnstrom had previously written for the Puma Press, Paradise Valley Community College’s newspaper, and then took a break from writing after she moved to Flagstaff in August of 2014. She wasn’t sure if her skills were still up to par, but Rose reassured her that her writing was strong.

“Not only did her work come in on time, but it also came in ready to go to print,” Rose recalled. “She was responsible, reliable, and a pleasure to work with.”

“This is something that I will carry with me all throughout my career because that little belief in me goes a long way,” said Charnstrom.

She was given a good amount of freedom within her assignments. After receiving contact information for her main subject, it was a self-disciplined job, requiring her to use her time wisely and allowing her to put together articles in whichever way she saw fit. Then, shortly after sending the completed stories to Rose for review, she was able to see the result of her work on newsstands all over town.

Although her internship is over, she plans to continue writing for the Noise during her last year at NAU.

“They make you feel like you are a part of their team from day one and that is something I have appreciated greatly,” she concluded. “It’s been an empowering environment where I have truly felt most at home in Flagstaff when it comes to journalism.”

Gabriella Verdugo, junior advertising and public relations major, landed her dream internship this summer at Full Picture, an entertainment and fashion-focused PR company in New York City.

Working in one of the biggest fashion hubs in the world, Verdugo was privy to a number of campaigns through the company, such as an interview with Ryan Reynolds for AOL and a charity event featuring the new Victoria’s Secret Angels.

“I definitely couldn’t contain my excitement [for those events],” she said. “It was absolutely incredible.”

Other than working on events, she would create contact lists for the media, sit in on executive meetings, provide relevant press clippings for clients, and facilitate product send-out along with four other interns.

“It was really interesting to see how what I learned in school actually helped me performing in a job,” she said. “I’ve had some really amazing teachers who have helped inspire me to set out on a journey like this.”

She got the chance to test out her knowledge for the first time in the workplace and experience a unique internship. The work dynamic allowed her to make strong connections with the other interns and to get involved in occasional executive decisions.

Since completing the internship, Verdugo has made it a point to keep in touch with everyone and even sent a postcard to the company while on vacation.

“Everyone who worked there made me feel like family and that I truly had a job there as opposed to just being an intern,” she said. 

With a goal of understanding your field of study’s opportunities, feeling like you belong is the best possible outcome for internship experiences like these.

Verdugo added, “I changed my major and wasn’t 100 percent sure of what I wanted to do when I grew up, so having the chance to work somewhere I thought I would like and ending up loving it was more than I could have ever asked for.”

Categories: fbn nbn flagstaff business news nau business news fall 2015 september 2015 2015 nikki charnstrom communication students’ find their best career fit he noise clair anna rose gabriella verdugo full picture what i did on my summer vacation