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Students land major internships

May 24, 2012

From Des Moines to Israel, Drake University School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC) students are embarking on a wide range of summer internships. They’ll be working for some of the biggest publications and communications firms in the country. And the list of internships is as impressive as it is long.

Erika Owen, a junior magazines and international studies double major, will work for GQ magazine in New York City. The opportunity first presented itself thanks to a Drake connection. A Drake alumnus had worked as an intern for GQ in the past, so Owen reached out to him. He gave her some tips on how to present herself and who to contact.

And while her connection got her foot in the door, she also credits her education for helping her get the internship.

“Drake has given me a degree of knowledge about magazines and the publishing industry that is just not offered anywhere else,” she says. “My experience and connections through Drake set me up with a job at Meredith Corporation my first year at school. That job has given me hands-on experience.”

Katherine Dewitt, a junior magazines and marketing double major, will also be in New York City, working at ELLE magazine. She found the internship through ed2010.com, a website for students hoping to enter the magazine industry. While on a trip to New York with the Drake magazines program, she set up an in-person interview and got the job a week later. Her Drake roots are giving her a leg up when she heads to the Big Apple.

“There are so many great alumni in NYC who are willing to help Drake students and just talking to them has helped me get acquainted with the fast-paced industry,” Dewitt says. “And being involved in different activities and classes at Drake has helped me learn how to manage my time.”

Those skills will come in handy as she juggles multiple jobs working in the fashion closet for the powerhouse magazine. She will also get to work on the all-important September issue.

A common thread running through these stories is connections. A Drake alumnus or alumna can be found at many major media outlets and firms. Many alumni will look for Drake students first to fill internships.

Carlyn Crowe, adjunct instructor of journalism, also serves as the school’s internship coordinator. She helps connect students with employers and alumni, while providing insight on job-seeking skills like networking, resume and portfolio building, and cover letter writing.

“Companies really come to us now,” Crowe says. “We often have more internship requests than we have students to fill them.”

And those internship offers come from around the world. Laura Sigal, a junior public relations major, will intern nearly half a world away this summer in Tel Aviv, Israel. She will work as a marketing and web intern at Fight Hatred, a nonprofit that works to combat anti-Semitism.

“I am excited to work with Fight Hatred; their office houses Arabic, Hebrew, and English speakers, so I’m excited to work on my language skills,” Sigal says. “I can’t wait to become a part of the office and to be in Israel learning and exploring the country.”