My Virtual Internship: Working for one of the Biggest Names in PR

26 04 2012

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,, 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!


WNAF Helps Fund New Newspaper Internship Program

24 04 2012

By Barb Benish

If you have wanted to intern at a newspaper, you’ve had limited opportunities in recent years. But the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation is changing that.

During a teleconference earlier this month with the WNA, newspaper editors and college internship coordinators like myself, the WNAF ironed out particulars of the program that is matching smaller circulation newspapers with some of the state’s finest aspiring journalists. To make this happen, the Foundation is funding half of each intern’s salary. They unveiled the initiative this week.

The WNA Foundation is seeking five journalism majors to participate in the paid internships — reporting, editing, advertising, marketing or other newspaper-related careers — during the summer of 2012. Each intern will receive approximately $3,200 for the eight-work program, or $10 an hour for a 40-hour workweek.

Newspapers are located geographically throughout the state, and students can apply for the area that is closest to home or school. Participating newspapers include:

To apply, students must submit a short essay on their personal philosophy of journalism’s role in society and supporting documents or published work samples.

The deadline for applications is May 11, 2012.  To apply, visit for details and a link to the online application.

From Classroom to Billboard: Strategic Ad Campaign Class Creates New Ads for Leach Amphitheater

17 04 2012

By Sheng Lee (@shengdanger)

Every year the Oshkosh Leach Amphitheater holds a Summer Concert Series where different bands play live every Tuesday night from June to July. Gates and concessions open at 6 p.m. with live music from 6:30-8:30 p.m., and the cost is less than $5 with a student ID. What could be better than spending a summer Tuesday night listening to live music near the river? Surprisingly, research showed that the Summer Concert Series didn’t attract the local college crowd, which happens to make up a large portion of the city. This is where Dr. Jin Kyun Lee‘s Strategic Ad Campaign class stepped in to save the day.

In efforts to attract UW Oshkosh students, increase revenue and spread awareness of Leach Amphitheater events, J-students collaborated last year to create an ad campaign appealing enough to do the job. Using the slogan “Streaming Live,” a reinvented campaign was born: “Streaming [Live] at the Leach – Tuesday Night Concert Series.” The new logo created by J-students in Lee’s class will be used on all advertisements and billboards for the concert series.

That is pretty neat considering how the campaign began as a class project and evolved into an actual campaign adopted by the Leach Amphitheater! This just goes to show how in the Journalism department students are involved in hands-on projects and gain real-world experience. As summer approaches, be sure to be on the lookout for the new Leach Amphitheater ads created by our very own J-students!

Organs, Students, Zombies, Oh My! Saving Lives: Dead or Alive Campaign Works to Raise Awareness About Organ Donation

12 04 2012

By Lindsey Noack (@LinzCnoack)

If you see zombies around campus, don’t be scared. They are trying to save lives, not take them. The UW Oshkosh chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) decided to use a unique theme this year for its annual National Organ Donor Awareness Competition (NODAC) campaign. The Saving Lives: Dead or Alive campaign focuses on educating the UW Oshkosh community on the importance of organ donation.

“The purpose of Saving Lives: Dead or Alive is simple –we want to let people know they can save lives,” said Derek Schroeder, vice president of UW Oshkosh PRSSA. “Every registered organ donor can save up to eight lives when he or she passes on. Our event also emphasizes the organ’s one can give while still living including a kidney, a liver segment, a lung lobe, a portion of intestines and a part of one’s pancreas.”

So why use zombies to promote organ donation?

“We decided on this theme because zombies are an interesting way to show the dead without them being dead, hence ‘the living dead,’ plus they’re quite popular right now in TV shows and movies, so we thought it would grab people’s attention,” said Schroeder.

The Saving Lives: Dead or Alive free event, which is being held today, Thursday, April 12 from 5-8 p.m. in the Titan Underground, is a campus wide “hunt for organs” that will consist of teams of four or five people competing for either the LIVING or DEAD side. Teams will be given a map that will serve as a guide for teams to race to different stations around UW Oshkosh campus, which are named after different organs. Each station “organ name” will be determined by the organs someone is able to give while LIVING and which organs a person gives after they are DEAD.

There will be a team task or trivia question at each organ station that must be completed in order to earn a “donor dot” and move on to the next station. The first LIVING and DEAD team to complete all six stations on its route and return to the Titan Underground will compete in a final competition against each other in order to win a Kindle Fire.

More information on the event as well as team registration forms can be found on the Saving Lives: Dead or Alive Facebook and Twitter sites. Forms can be returned to the Journalism Department office, Sage 3003, or emailed to

Happy Organ Hunting!

Journalism Mock Interviews Recap

11 04 2012

By Barb Benish

I didn’t do it intentionally. In fact, I didn’t even know I had done it. But last week, when I looked at all the employers who had given of their time to participate in the Department of Journalism’s Spring 2012 mock interviews, I noticed an interesting trend. Seven of the nine employees were UW Oshkosh graduates, and six of those were journalism alumni:

Ross Mollet, associate creative director and copywriter at Arketype Inc.

Adam Sturm, UW Oshkosh campus coordinator for WISPIRG’s Energy Service Corps

Pam Seidl, director of marketing and community relations for the Fox Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau

Kate Unger, marketing manager for Reeve Memorial Union

Frank Isca, marketing programs manager and inbound marketing specialist for Weidert Group

Jon Huser, marketing manager at Bekins A-1 Movers

The seventh employer, Barb Kretsch, marketing communications manager at Secura Insurance Companies, had graduated with a degree in music.

It reminded me of another blog that I had recently read from our very own Tom Hanaway, who graduated in Summer 2011 and who is now working as a marketing and outreach specialist in Madison. His article, printed in USA Today College, gives five suggestions how to be an awesome alum. Tip No. 3 — be a mentor.

That’s just what the employers were who participated in the April 4 interviews  — mentors. The employers shared with the students what they did right and wrong in the interview. But the employers also met with journalism faculty members afterward, and we learned a few things that I’ll be passing on to the participants:

  • Dress more professional. Nice is OK, but for an interview, get a suit or at least a jacket.
  • Don’t be afraid to tell the employers who you are. All students told about their skills. But many didn’t give the employers a good feeling of what they were like. Employers want to know if you’d be a “good fit” for their company. They want to know about your personality and interests outside of work.
  • Let your passion shine. Too many students wanted to be “generalists.” That’s OK, but if you excel in writing, for instance, make that clear in your interview, your resume, and your portfolio.

Some of the employers, however, were so impressed with our students, that two were called in for real interviews. (Translate that into real jobs.) How cool is that?

The date for the Fall 2012 mock interviews isn’t yet set. When it is, I’ll post that on the journalism website. You don’t have to be in a class to participate in the mocks. Anyone can. In fact, every one should. So make the time in your schedule. It will help hone your interview skills. And it just might land you a job. And that is really, really cool.