By Jessica Bedore (@JessiMarie09)
During the fall semester of my junior year at UWO, I attended the PRSSA National Conference in Washington D.C. with five other members from our chapter. While the entire trip was a blast, one of my favorite moments was attending Lauren Berger, the “Intern Queen’s” session on finding and securing internships.
For those of you who don’t know, Lauren Berger graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2006, where she completed 15 internships in only four years of college. From there, she landed a job (of course!) at Creative Artists Agency, and soon after, she started her own business, Intern Queen, Inc., as a service to college students across the country.
When I heard her speak, I was very drawn to her spunk and passion for the industry. At the time, I was searching for an internship and I was starting to get frustrated after being turned down from a few companies. Her session was just the inspiration that I needed to land my first internship.
After I listened to her session, I went up and introduced myself to her. Even though I was SO nervous, I knew that I had to put myself out there. I handed her my business card and told her that I believed in everything she said. We talked briefly, but I never expected anything else to come out of our short encounter.
A few months later, I saw a posting by Lauren on her website, internqueen.com, about a new initiative to hire campus ambassadors across the country. Her goal was to have student interns working for her at every university in the United States. That’s not an easy task! When I saw that, I reached out to her right away to express my interest, and I hoped that she remembered me.
To my surprise—she did! (Hence the importance of networking) Almost a year and a half later, I am in my last month of working for Lauren and her amazing company. My main duties as a virtual intern varied. All of us were required to blog at least twice a month, which was always my favorite part because students across the country read our postings.
My favorite project as a virtual intern for Lauren was definitely being a part of the publicity committee for her book’s launch in January. I got the chance to work with Random House Publishing, Good Morning America and several other national media organizations to promote and market the release of her book. It amazed me how much we could accomplish as a team even though we were doing everything over conference calls and Skype.
Perhaps the best part of being involved with Intern Queen is the connections that I was able to make and the “extra perks” of the job. Lauren is connected to thousands of people in the PR world, and she is always more than happy to share her connections with us. A few months ago, her site listed an internship at People’s Revolution (think Kelly Cutrone from Kell On Earth and America’s Next Top Model), and one of her virtual interns got the chance to work there thanks to her recommendation. As an intern for Lauren, I also get to attend any networking conferences that I think would benefit the Intern Queen brand and myself for free.
Sadly, this month is my last month of working for Lauren. I will dearly miss all of the friends that I have made (although never met) from schools near and far and the opportunities that have come my way thanks to the brand’s network. However, UW Oshkosh will continue to be represented at Intern Queen. Two students from PRSSA, Mia Johnson and Taylor Cook will be the new UWO virtual interns for Lauren next school year.
All that I can say is: take advantage of internships that may seem “unconventional”. You never know what could come of them!