of Heather Long, Intern, KEYGroup, 4/05
By Amanda Harber
PPW/Writing Center Publicity Intern
Long is a Communications/Rhetoric major, and she decided to supplement
her major with a PPW certificate because she felt it would make
it more marketable. She plans to pursue a career in television journalism.
She has some experience in the field, but has heard that it can
be difficult to break into. PPW offered her the opportunity to get
both writing experience in the field as well as networking contacts.
Her current internship with KEYGroup is a perfect example.
This is Heather’s first internship, and she says that she
got her internship through “trial and error.” It was
challenging to find an internship that would meet the PPW program's
requirement that she write at least half of her time at the site.
She says, “All of the places I interviewed with up until that
point said that they probably would not be able to meet the writing
component. I was getting frustrated, because I was running out of
time. While looking through some old papers I had from school, I
found a flier that had been posted in the Communications department
well over a year ago from KEYGroup for interns. I originally had
planned on applying for this internship when I grabbed that flier,
but ended up taking on an internship at UPTV as a reporter. I decided
to call them up and see if they were still taking interns, and went
in for my interview the next day.”
Heather chose to intern at KEYGroup, a consulting company that offers
corporations customized training in assessment and leadership development.
KEYGroup was willing to meet the PPW program's requirement that
she write as a significant portion of her internship. Heather felt
comfortable at the office. And the organization was interested in
Heather’s part-time promotional work; this made her eager
to work there, as she felt that KEYGroup would allow her to further
develop her writing and promotional skills.
At KEYGroup, Heather’s tasks cover a broad range of areas.
She has assisted in publishing the newest presentation at KEYGroup,
written articles for their newsletter, conducted research for presentations
and prospective clients, and even drafted nominations. She developed
and honed all of these skills in the PPW program. For instance,
Heather has applied the formats for business correspondence, research
skills, and professional writing strategies that she has learned
through her PPW assignments. This internship has allowed her to
collect a portfolio of writing samples that she can use as she looks
for a full-time job after graduation.
Heather recalls one of her most memorable experiences at the site
as the time that she first met the CEO of KEYGroup. She had decided
to consult the employee manual and noticed the policy on dress codes.
Heather recalls, “As I was reading this, a woman walked in,
looking fairly raggedy and wearing a sweat suit. I laughed to myself
because I had just gotten done reading about how strict the dress
code was. I figured she must be the cleaning lady, although I thought
it was strange that she would be there during operating hours. This
woman proceeded to make coffee, another clue to me that she was
not anybody important. After she was done, she stopped as she walked
past me, turned to me, and said, ‘Hi, I don't think we've
met, I'm Joanne Sujansky, the CEO.’ I must've looked puzzled,
because she laughed and said, ‘You'll have to excuse me, I'm
not dressed properly, my flight got in late last night, and so I'm
taking it easy today.’ This was memorable to me because I
was nervous about meeting Joanne. I figured she would be intimidating
because she is so sucessful, and she is a communications and speaking
expert. I had been thinking to myself that when I met her, I would
need to make sure I'm extremely articulate and proper with my language
so that I would impress her. Instead, she caught me off guard, and
I was totally comfortable. I felt more at ease with her as a result
of our ‘chance’ meeting.”
Heather would recommend the PPW program to any major, as she believes
that writing is a necessary component to any career, whether “PR,
engineering, or medicine.” She believes that effective written
communication is a highly marketable skill.
As for the PPW program, Heather thinks that it is excellent. In
particular, she praises the faculty. “They are always there
and willing to help, and it is obvious that they genuinely care
(particularly Jean and Pam, who most of my contact has been with).
Their compassion makes me feel as if I am included and recognized,
a tough feeling to achieve in a large, urban University.”