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Publicis Health
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Christine Kavanagh

Major: Communication Arts & Sciences, Telecommunications
Hometown: Garnet Valley, PA
Chapel Executive Intern

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I have been a part of Liberal Arts Envoys throughout my time at Penn State, so I was always informed and aware of various enrichment activity funding and internship opportunities. The Chapel Executive Internship Program was always one that was heavily promoted, so when I finally had the chance to take advantage of the opportunity, I knew what to do and who to talk to. From my application, I was awarded $5,000 to complete my summer internship.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

As an Account Management intern at Publicis Health, I was at first responsible for taking on small tasks from members on my team in order to make their work load more efficient. However, as I learned more I became responsible for larger assignments, such as using specific editing programs like ProofHQ to transfer client comments onto our agency's work so that the appropriate changes could be made. I also compiled brand competitor reports for internal use and assisted with client reports with supervision from a senior member on my team. On top of all this, Publicis Health interns participated in a team competition concluding with a pitch to judges who were actual clients of the agency. Interns were assigned to create a campaign for the Skin Cancer Foundation promoting safe sun behavior to college students. This project was four weeks long and involved interns from different offices and locations, which made it all the more challenging. In the end, my team made it to the final round of campaign pitches, but did not end up winning. Overall, I think this project was the most valuable part of this internship experience because I was able to use the skills and knowledge I gained from observing the team I was shadowing in the agency to a project I could actually take the lead on.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I had never worked in the advertising industry before and because advertising is not part of my major I felt that there was somewhat of a learning curve when I first started my job. I never felt overwhelmed with things I didn't know, but there were just minor industry things such as the process and terminology that I was unfamiliar with. My manager was really helpful when I voiced these concerns because his major also was not related to advertising and he had to learn on the job as well. He advised me to keep asking questions and stay up-to-date on advertising publications and news such as AdAge in order to educate myself. I think that through this real world experience working for a huge advertising agency I gained a lot of insight into the industry just as I would have taking advertising classes, if not more so.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I have always been interested in working in an agency setting, but I always thought I would be in the entertainment industry or something similar. I never considered the healthcare communications field and this internship really exposed me to a huge industry with a lot of career potential. In addition, I enjoyed my position on the account team working with clients and assisting in the leading of projects. I think the skills I learned are definitely transferable to any industry whether I decide to go into entertainment or not. I think healthcare advertising is an excellent industry to break into, especially in the position I'm interested in, and I would seriously consider a job if the company offered me one.

I think the skills I learned are definitely transferable to any industry whether I decide to go into entertainment or not.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend this experience to other students. I thought the internship program overall was very well done. There were regular check ins with the HR people that ran the program and it was a great mix of real work with your team and also learning opportunities and workshops. Publicis really prides itself on its internship program and they reinforced how much they want to make it even better, which shows.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

I think the Paterno Fellows Program impacted my internship in terms of adjusting to the fast paced work environment. After taking demanding honors courses I was used to the speed at which the company operated, and I think that showed in my work performance. My manager told me he was impressed with how fast I learned and was able to keep up, which was a skill that I had not even really thought about because it is just how I work now, but I am certain that being a Paterno Fellow was a huge reason for that.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
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