Before making applied communication a college student’s major, one might wonder what can be done with an applied communication degree? According to TopUniversities.com, communication majors often seek out careers in business, human resources, marketing, mass media, law, and education. How does a student find out which field is best for them if they’re not already drawn to one in particular? Get an internship.
An internship has innumerable benefits such as gaining hands-on real-world experience to add to a resume as well as building relationships with potential future employers. It also counts as 3 hours of class credit. “Take a dip out of your comfort zone, and apply your skills to a unique opportunity you may have never given a thought to,” says Christian DeSalvo, a junior in the UA Little Rock Applied Communication department who interned at the Arkansas Foodbank. “It will open your communicative mind.”
The 2017 Internship class led by Professor Melissa Johnston did just that and proved the versatility of an applied communication degree that’s not limited to a career in business or marketing.
Melissa Savary, a student in the class, completed her internship with City Ministries, an organization in Nigeria that helps orphans in the country. Savary created over 300 sponsor cards for the eight City Ministries’ orphanages. These cards illustrate the cost to take care of a child as well as sponsor information to get involved. “The theories and concepts I learned in class helped me to know how to best communicate with my coworkers, especially the cross-cultural ones,” Savary explains. “I was able to focus my energy on positive communication practices instead of letting the frustrations of the position get the better of me. I was even able to share concepts with coworkers to help them communicate better with each other.” Savary has plans to move to Nigeria in 2018 after graduation.
Shae Hughes had another unlikely internship where she was able to intern where she works, Bath & Body Works. Shae went above and beyond her supervisor duties at Bath & Body Works taking on additional talent development responsibilities which include recruiting, hiring, and training of seasonal workers for her store. At the company, she had to recruit seasonal employees, which is part of the process of becoming a store manager.
Emily “Addie” McClenny did a phenomenal job at UAMS Center for Health Literacy where she helped out with their social media creating a campaign for their health literacy month. Part of that included promoting the 4th Annual Plain Pledge Challenge, a social media campaign designed to secure pledges from healthcare professionals and students to use words that are easy to understand the first time someone hears or reads them. In addition to creating graphics to post across all social media platforms, Addie created a plain pledge video that went viral.
At Family Promise of Pulaski County, Alexis Parker Williams, served a liaison between churches and the local Family Promise organization. Family Promise is an organization that helps homeless families “achieve independence and provide area congregations with local mission activities,” according to their website. Alexis coordinated communication between Family Promise and the churches that serve as shelters for the families. She also worked with their board to plan events and develop a newsletter to educate the public on Family Promise. Alexis tied together the UA Little Rock Applied Communication department’s mission of fostering the co-construction of better social worlds through positive communication to her internship.
Cassidy Eley is a double major in applied communication and speech pathology. She completed her internship with a Speech-Language Pathologist and owner of Pro-Kids Therapy, Curtis Chatham. Cassidy shadowed Curtis during all screenings, evaluations, and speech therapy provided to preschool and elementary age children. “The Department of Applied Communication has allowed me to analyze my daily interactions through the lens of communication theory,” says Cassidy. Through her internship, she employed the Uncertainty Reduction Theory when visiting daycares with new employees to help reduce uncertainty in the new relationships being built.
Christian DeSalvo helped the hungry at Arkansas Foodbank. “After discussing a multitude of options with Mrs. Johnston, I was able to contact the Arkansas Foodbank’s Development office to understand tasks that needed to be implemented if I was to be selected for the fall internship,” he says. “These tasks included brand auditing, working with volunteers, service site visits, special events coordinating, and understanding food insecurity needs of the community. It was an easy process of choosing the Foodbank, because I had already volunteered there, where I learned how our state is drastically affected by food insecurity. I sought to establish common footing with the community, and it paid off tremendously.”
Candace Carpenter entered the news world working at KATV Channel 7. She says she chose to work in the journalism field because when she had a chance to choose an internship she “knew this would be a good opportunity for me to gain experience as an aspiring news journalist and anchor.” Candace also believes the concepts she learned in class helped prepare her for the internship. “Having this education helped me look through the lens of positive communication and I applied this knowledge with the internship. I believe studying applied communication gave me a unique skill set that was applied during my internship.”
The Fall 2017 internship class of UA Little Rock’s Applied Communication department accomplished a lot and will have better career options as a result, in careers such as sales, management, non-profit advocacy, journalism, teaching, social media development, and international work. These students helped proved the versatility that comes with an applied communication degree. On helping out a student trying to find a future internship, Candace adds, “look at your previous experiences, volunteering, and aspiring career field. The internship can help prepare you for your future.”
The Spring 2018 class is currently placing internships for the upcoming semester. For more information contact Professor Melissa Johnston at firstname.lastname@example.org