By Molly Loughman
There were no idle hands for some Emerson School of Communication (SOC) students this summer as they became influential in major industry internships, both across the country and abroad.
From second-semester first-years to last-semester seniors, SOC students dove into an array of communication internships — formative experiences spent in global magazine editorial and event spaces, national TV/radio broadcast newsrooms and studios, world-renowned hospitals, and nationally acclaimed social services.
See how some students put their Emerson education into practice:
Fei Li ‘22
Business of Creative Enterprises
A Chinese saying goes, “The love for beauty is a nature of all human beings.” That is how Business of Creative Enterprises major Fei Li feels toward her passion for fashion. The Beijing native has come a long way since customizing her own traditional Chinese dance and ballet costumes for dance competitions growing up.
“As a dancer, I know what story my piece is telling and I am familiar with my body, so I always discuss [the costume] with my designer in order for my piece to burst with feeling. For me, dance and fashion are connected,” said Fei, who watched her mom thumb through Vogue and Harper’s BAZAAR as a child.
This summer, Fei is interning at Vogue China Fashion Group headquarters in her hometown of Beijing. Her duties in the editorial department include contacting different brands’ public relations departments to request clothes and samples; aiding fashion editors to crosscheck, fit, and prepare clothes and props for photo shoots; and assisting with the production process by recording credits and writing shot lists. Fei also visits stores to help editors to select clothes, writes articles for the VogueMini app, and translates articles from English to Chinese or from Chinese to English.
“I have the opportunity to get in touch with some excellent editors, stylists, stars, models, make-up artists, and photographers. Everyone is experienced and so passionate about their work and this industry. And they are willing to teach you everything!” Fei said.
“Doing this internship allows you to collaborate with different kinds of people. It exercises my interpersonal skill[s] very well. I’ve only been at this internship for over two months, but I have 55 new contacts in my address book. Efficient communication is necessary and so important in this industry, whether it’s communicating via texts, emails, phones, or face-to-face.”
Fei credits Emerson for giving her a leg-up at Vogue China, thanks to classes that covered speech communication, the creative economy, and creative collaboration.
“Doing an internship also imparts an important real-world knowledge to my academic aspirations,” Fei said. “I figured out that I am not just a creative person, but I also have a business side. Just like the BCE’s philosophy — ‘A Mind for Business. A Passion for Arts & Communication’ — I have an interest in branding management, marketing analytics, and retail strategy.”
Fei is considering pursuing a master’s degree in business after Emerson.
Her advice to fellow students: “Be detail-orientated. Be passionate about your work. Try your best at every task, no matter if it’s a big deal or just the most basic thing.”
Katelyn Shappy ‘19
No Kid Hungry
Katelyn Shappy ‘19 of Waterbury, Connecticut, interned this summer with the national nonprofit organization No Kid Hungry, because it gave her an opportunity to connect her two greatest career passions: communications and community.
“Being so close to my hometown and right in my home state is very important to me. Being right in the thick of things, like grassroots movements typically are, is one of the most fulfilling parts of my job,” said the Communication Studies major and Nonprofit Communication minor, who worked as a Youth Ambassador intern for No Kid Hungry stationed in the center of Hartford, Connecticut, on the site of a social service organization called End Hunger Connecticut!
This summer, Shappy worked closely with the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), which provides free, nutritious meals to low-income children during school vacations. This service is essential for children who lose access to school breakfast and lunch during the summer when classes end, said Shappy.
Because End Hunger Connecticut! is a small organization, Shappy wore a lot of hats. Her tasks included daily social media management, event planning, volunteer recruitment, and communications and development support.
Aside from traveling to outreach events across the state and meal site visits, Shappy also went to Washington, D.C., with No Kid Hungry to lobby on Capitol Hill for Children’s Advocacy Day in June. She encountered some members of the public who adamantly disagreed with SFSP and governmental assistance to address poverty.
“You have to learn how to be professional and respectful of all people in the field, despite differences in opinion,” said Shappy, adding that her Emerson education has given her the tools she needed to not only succeed, but to excel, in her position.
“While speaking to political officials, I was able to tap into my skills of persuasion, empathy, and negotiation to advocate for my community. While in the field at meal sites, I was able to answer questions from the press and conducted interviews with community members after having the experience from my classes. When my personal skills and the skills Emerson has taught me came together this summer, I was able to shine in my position.”
Before graduating from Emerson in December, Shappy is looking forward to using her internship experience in Boston, as both an Emerson Resident Assistant and as a Volunteer Management Assistant at Jewish Vocational Services.
Shappy’s advice to fellow students: “Don’t get discouraged and don’t settle. You will get rejected! But you have to believe in your own capabilities enough that the right position will come around. With that being said, DON’T just take any internship. This is a time to grow personally and professional don’t waste it on a ‘resume filler.’”
George Havanidis ’18
Pawtucket Red Sox
Revere, Massachusetts, resident George Havanidis ‘19 came to Emerson in 2017 as a transfer student and now he is wrapping up his undergraduate degree in Sports Communication through an internship working operations for the Pawtucket Red Sox Baseball Club Inc. before graduating later this August.
“I want to gain experience leading up to my dream job, hopefully working for the Red Sox,” said Havanidis, who’s been commuting from Revere to Pawtucket, Rhode Island, all summer to work as a community relations intern for the professional minor league baseball team. “I didn’t even know Sports Communication was a major until I got to Emerson.”
Helping to inspire his ambitions at Emerson was his professor last year: longtime Boston Red Sox executive Dr. Charles Steinberg, president of the Pawtucket Red Sox and now director of Emerson’s new Sports Communication program since 2017. Havanidis has taken several of Steinburg’s classes and others in the program where he gained a thorough appreciation for sports as a soft power and a civic power.
“The littlest things [with fans], honestly, really go a long way — that’s what I’ve learned from [Steinberg],” Havanidis said. “It’s not even just sports, it’s soft power, politics. There’s a lot of different things going on in sports. It’s a platform for civil rights and freedom of speech and whatnot.”
Havanidis spent a large part of his summer in and around McCoy Stadium, a minor league baseball stadium that seats more than 10,000 in the heart of the city. He could be found either working the front office, out on the field doing in-game promotion, or out on the street promoting the Paw Sox — a member of the International League and the Triple-A affiliate of the Red Sox. Havanidis said his in-game promo work involved picking young children to come on the baseball field and deliver the pregame balls to the pitcher’s mound to choosing someone to do a contest during game promotion.
In 2021, the Pawtucket Red Sox will relocate to Worcester, Massachusetts, where they will become the Worcester Red Sox.
Havanidis’s advice for other students: “Take advantage of who you know and who you’re around. Do something you like. Make the connections. Make sure you use them for good and don’t waste them away.”