By Molly Loughman
Amid a global pandemic, School of Communication students took on a range of communication summer internships — formative experiences spent working with political nonprofits, video production companies, major league sport teams and more.
See how some SOC students put their Emerson education into practice this summer:
Ariane Ivanier ’23
This summer, Political Communication major Ariane Ivanier is working to protect American democracy through her remote internship with the nonprofit Public Citizen, a progressive consumer rights advocacy group and think tank based in Washington, D.C.
In response to the current public health crisis, Ivanier began her internship coordinating with citizens, organizations, and elected officials to secure funding for the largest stimulus bill in history: the $3 trillion Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, passed by the US House Of Representatives on May 15, 2020.
“The Georgia primary [earlier this summer] was absolutely abysmal,” said Ivanier, citing the long lines, malfunctioning voting machines, and lack of ballots during Georgia’s June 9 primary election. “[E]ssentially what we’re working on is making sure that that doesn’t happen — that people don’t have to choose between their health and their right to vote in November.”
Ivanier is a team member of Public Citizen’s Democracy for People campaign, which seeks to overturn Citizens United, Super PACs, dark money in politics, and unjust power for the wealthy. The campaign combats political corruption made worse since the Supreme Court ruling a decade ago in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which reversed century-old campaign finance restrictions allowing corporations and outside groups to spend unlimited funds on elections.
In her role, Ivanier is learning how to organize and affect change, even from her home. “This is my first experience working campaigns and seeing all the nitty-gritty work that may lead to nothing — all this work and the Senate could still not vote for the $3.6 billion for elections. We still chip away at it despite odds stacked against us. We just figure out next moves. We don’t give up. If we can’t get it on a national level, then we’ll try at a state level, and if not, we’ll go local.”
Earlier this summer, Ivanier and other interns coordinated with citizens in target states to plan “day of action” events in their area. One group of citizens gathered in a parking lot to spell out “protect our vote” with their vehicles. Some conducted Zoom calls to explain funding needs with elected officials and other special guests. Others rode in a car parade in front of the state capitol building displaying “protect our vote” signs Interns also wrote press releases to local outlets to garner media attention.
In recent weeks, interns have been calling elected officials in the regions where they live. As a resident of Atlanta, Ivanier is charged with researching and reaching out to elected officials in Florida, South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, and Georgia to gauge their stance on COVID-19 funding.
“This internship definitely does not feel like I’m just getting coffee. It’s not like I’m just filing paperwork. It actually feels like I’m part of something that is working towards the right thing, and toward good in this current time, so that’s really nice and I love it.”
Ivanier came to Emerson undeclared in Fall 2019, but that changed after she was immediately drawn to Emerson leadership group, the Student Government Association (SGA). Last year, Ivanier was the first-year class president. Her interests in politics and nonprofits have caused her to consider careers in consulting, advocacy, and political campaign management.
Ivanier’s advice to other students: “Be proactive. Look ahead of time. Don’t be afraid to show who you really are in your cover letters, in your resumé, in your interviews, because if they see you and don’t like you, then you don’t want to work for them anyways. Showing yourself, your personality, real passion, energy and comfort in yourself will serve you more than if you just make the entire handbook of the whole organization.”
Olivia Strauss ’22
Olivia Strauss, took the opportunity this summer to get her foot in the door as the only marketing intern at Viewpoint Creative, a Boston-based video production company. .
Strauss came to Emerson from Wayland, Massachusetts, for its Marketing Communication program, which underscores brand building, storytelling, and consumer engagement. Her understanding of marketing concepts gave her the confidence to pursue the internship, she explains.
“I wanted to have that experience outside the classroom. [Amid the pandemic] I’m really lucky I got an internship,” says Strauss,. “I’ve learned a lot just sitting in on [virtual] meetings. They just released a project they did for CBS and I saw it on TV, and it was really cool to say, ‘I know how they worked on it, and I did social media for that.’”
Producing short-form video content to help build brands, Viewpoint Creative has served clients such as Biogen, Discover Networks, HBO, Hershey’s, Leary Firefighters Foundation, PayPal, and Reebok. “Viewpoint Creative understands what their clients want, but still gives their own vision,” Strauss says. “They show that you can be one thing, but still connect with so many people.”
As the marketing intern, Strauss produces content for the company’s social media accounts, tracks and presents analytics weekly, and writes and designs copy for email campaigns. Her goals are to learn more about paid content and analytics. “Every time I do something, I learn more. I’m doing actual work that I can see and track on my own. I’m trying to take advantage of the experience for sure. Making connections in the industry is the best part.”
This coming school year, Straus plans to minor in Emerson Entrepreneurship Experience (E3), a yearlong experiential program in new business venture development. “The skills I took from this internship I think I’ll clearly see once school starts in the fall, being more open-minded and able to offer conflict resolution,” says Strauss.
Strauss’s advice to other students: “It’s important to try and do an internship because you can get so much out of it if you take the time and actually try, talk to people, and ask questions. Ask to be on projects; don’t wait for them to offer. Advocate for yourself. Doing it remotely can be hard, but you’re still able to do it.”
Jenna Kase ’22
Major League Lacrosse
Jenna Kase can’t decide if she prefers Emerson’s Piano Row view of Boston Common or her summertime office view overlooking Baltimore’s Oriole Park at Camden Yards, where she is conducting an internship with Major League Lacrosse (MLL).
Kase, a Sports Communication major and Journalism minor from Gaithersburg, Maryland, has been a communications intern for the professional lacrosse league since the end of May. She explains that MLL not only provides professional competition for college graduates, but is also committed to growing the game nationwide. Commuting into the office twice a week, Kase is tasked with creating pitch portfolios unique to each MLL player and then pitching those individual stories to the media. She also writes and edits weekly articles. One of her projects included a long-form feature on Andrew Kew, an attackman for the Chesapeake Bayhawks.
“The media pitches are more of an ongoing project. It’s something that I am responsible for every day because we want our league and players to get as much media exposure as they possibly can,” says Kase. Her internship goals are to improve her writing style, understand the media’s role in the sports world, and learn the nature of working for a professional sports league. “My long-term goals are keeping in touch with the connections I’ve made at this internship and continuing to expand my knowledge surrounding the business side of the league.”
Kase initially arrived at Emerson in August 2018 for her first preseason with Emerson’s women’s soccer team. As a first-year student, she started calling games on Emerson Channel Sports (ECS). In her sophomore year, she joined ECS and WEBN, and worked as talent on Emerson Independent Video’s [EIV]’s The Box Score. “These experiences have given me chances to expand my knowledge of the industry outside of the classroom, as well as figure out what direction I want to take my career in,” says Kase, who plans to study at Emerson Los Angeles in Spring 2021 to pursue more career opportunities. Passionate about getting to know athletes and sharing their stories, Kase has career plans to become a multimedia sports journalist.
Kase’s advice to students considering internships: “Apply, apply, apply — and do it early! Internship opportunities aren’t going to come out and find you, you have to search for them. Stay organized. It’s also important to not get discouraged when you don’t get the position you want; Someone is going to give you a break, but you have to keep working for the opportunities. It’s on you as an individual to make your resume and application stand out, so take responsibility and dedicate a decent amount of time to the application process.”