Communication students learn to apply classroom skills during internship program

Laura Trickett (left) and Victoria Cisneros (right) headshots

Photo: Laura Trickett (left) and Victoria Cisneros (right)

Laura Trickett is still a student at Fresno State, but she has already started building her career. It began in May when she applied for an internship position at West African Vocational Schools (WAVS) through the Communication Department’s internship program. 

“In my interview, I ended up agreeing to stay on as both their summer and fall semester intern,” said Trickett.

Over the summer, Trickett got to know the team and contributed to several media projects. Impressed with her work, WAVS decided they wanted to keep her on even longer.

“Around August, WAVS offered me a part-time position.”

Since then, she has been working part-time on top of her internship role. 

“With the growth of our organization, there is also potential for a full-time position to open up potentially around the time I graduate,” Trickett said. “I see myself staying with WAVS for quite some time, even after graduating.”

Students in the Communication Department are continually learning new skills in the classroom. However, it can sometimes be difficult for them to apply those skills. This is where internship programs can be valuable. Internships allow students to gain real-world experience before they hit the job market.

That experience is what recent alumna Victoria Cisneros found in the program with her internship with the Fresno State Alumni Association in the fall of 2018 and spring 2019. She was responsible for creating and curating content for the monthly alumni newsletter and the Victor E. Bulldog Blog. She also assisted with large events such as Top Dog, Alumni Awards, and Homecoming.

“This internship helped me realize and connect with possible career paths that prioritize communications, marketing, and outreach experience. It helped me develop my creative storytelling skills and ultimately grow as both a writer and a professional,” Cisneros said.

Victoria Cisneros in front of the Smittcamp Alumni House
Victoria Cisneros in front of the Smittcamp Alumni House

After working another year with the Alumni Association as a communication assistant following her graduation, she landed a job as a marketing writer with University Brand Strategy and Marketing at Fresno State in May.

“My internship experience has tremendously informed my current position as a Marketing Writer for University Brand Strategy and Marketing. My experience writing alumni success stories gave me a solid foundation for the creative writing and storytelling work I currently do with University Brand Strategies and Marketing,” Cisneros said. “Furthermore, without my internship with the Fresno State Alumni Association, I would not have established the cross-campus relationships and connections that have proved to be vital in my current position.”

The “Comm 179” course is designed for Communication students who have completed most of their coursework. It is specifically designed for communication majors who plan to pursue professional careers in social services, government, business, industry and other institutions. Business partners looking for student interns work with the Department of Communication internship coordinator to define the internship position. The department has established several strategic partnerships such as Tenaya Middle School, Smittcamp Alumni House, and the Mountain West Conference. 

Students then apply for the internship in the same way they would apply for a job — with a cover letter, resume and an interview. Once the student obtains the internship, they work 8 to 12 hours per week for the semester. Meanwhile, in class, students complete assignments designed to reflect on their internship experience and their communication skills in the workplace.

Students in the Comm 179 course have been placed in banks, churches, political headquarters, social service agencies, nonprofit agencies, national and regional companies, and civic agencies, to name a few.

Posted by

Fresno State College of Arts and Humanities Communication Specialist

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