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Laura Backus

Intern Name: Laura Backus '15
Major: Communication
Intern Title/Name of Organization: Marketing and Public Relations Intern, SeaWorld Orlando 

How did you find out about the internship and what was the application process?

Instead of graduating one year early, I decided to take a year off of school to intern and volunteer abroad. My theme for that year was "go big or go home," leading me to only apply to the biggest-named companies I could think of. I randomly applied for a job I found on SeaWorld's website, and after a couple of rounds of phone and Skype interviews, I beat out over 300 other applicants for the position. 

What were some of the highlights?

My favorite part was getting to go on animal rescues and returns and take photos, interview the scientists and veterinarians, and develop press releases. All of this had to be done within a matter of hours. Later that day or the next morning, I would turn on the news and see my press release broadcasted on air. Some of the more impressive stories (like the time SeaWorld returned over 50 baby turtles back to their natural habitat) appeared on news stations across the nation. 


What was a "typical day" like? What were some of your major responsibilities?

Obviously there wasn't ever a typical day because animal rescues happened at random times and I would have to drop everything to cover the story. However, most days I wrote blog posts, press releases, and web content. I also helped write, monitor, and maintain the official social media sites for SeaWorld Orlando. I helped host news stations in our parks as well as international celebrities. 


What were some of the challenges of your internship?

Any work in PR or journalism comes with lots of stressors. Bad publicity or good publicity can happen at any time, and as a PR professional, you always have to respond to it regardless. This means you always have to be on your A-game and the job really doesn't stop when you clock out.

 

What did you learn?

I definitely became a better writer, especially related to journalism.  I learned a ton about the public relations field and just how stressful it can be. I also learned how to work within an interdisciplinary team to achieve common goals. 

 

What advice would you give other students interested in internships?

If you see an internship that sounds interesting, apply for it! Don't be intimidated by an internship just because it is a huge company or in another state. Never in a million years did I expect to be moving to Florida and interning for SeaWorld. It just sounded like a cool opportunity and I believed in myself. 

(April 2015)