Indiana INTERNnet celebrated internship excellence on Feb. 3, 2016, at the 10th Annual IMPACT Awards luncheon. Though the event is over and the winners have been announced, we are continuing to celebrate the nominees’ successes.
These are their stories.
Ashley Shuler is a sophomore at Franklin College majoring in multimedia journalism & public relations and minoring in leadership. She completed an internship with The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (TCM) last summer.
Indiana INTERNnet: You were the youngest person to take on the Public Relations Internship with TCM. Why were you looking for that challenge?
Ashley Shuler: When I got my public relations internship at the museum, I had only taken one public relations course in school. When I came back last fall, I realized my experience at the museum pushed me to be a step ahead from my classmates as a writer and as a professional. Because Franklin College has a built-in “winter term” during the month of January, I’m challenging myself to intern every winter and summer until I graduate to get multiple, diverse internship experiences.
You don’t have to meet a certain age requirement or take a certain amount of
credits to produce great, valuable work — you just have to be hardworking
and passionate about what you’re doing.
IIN: I understand you’ve taken a leadership role with The Franklin and TheFranklinNews.com. How has that experience helped you grow professionally?
AS: As the news editor for The Franklin student newspaper at Franklin College, I’ve learned how to push myself to do my best work and how to coach others to do the same. In this setting, I constantly communicate with a group of news writers in addition to writing content on a weekly basis.
Even though it’s a student publication, The Franklin functions as a real newsroom with hard deadlines, tough decision making and more—which gives me practical skills to help me understand how publications in the real world function. It also gives me published clips to use in my portfolio and allows me to be creative in my assignments and how I execute them.
Above all, though, it helps me understand what editors and other people in management positions look for in a strong intern or employee because I look for those same attributes in my writers.
IIN: You were hired to do a project on a freelance basis for TCM following your internship. What did you do, and how did it feel to be given that opportunity?
AS: A week or so after my internship ended, I was hired as a freelancer to work on a regional media contact list for the museum’s public relations department. The contact list compiled religious organizations and key contacts at those organizations, with the ultimate goal of promoting a new exhibit, National Geographic Sacred Journeys, and its surrounding events. At the end of 2015, I was given a second freelance opportunity with the museum. This time, I was hired to write biographies of important people at the museum. This is a rolling project I’m still working on.
Being called back as a freelancer after being an intern is an amazing feeling. To me, it meant I went above-and-beyond my duties as an intern and that my mentors trusted me enough to do professional-level work on deadline—and get paid for it.
IIN: What are your future career plans and goals?
AS: Upon graduation, I hope to work at an Indianapolis-area newspaper or magazine with a focus on travel or lifestyle writing. Because I’m double majoring in multimedia journalism and public relations, though, I’m also interested in working in public relations at an agency or non-profit organization. Wherever I end up, I know I’ll draw from my internship experiences to better myself as a professional.