Every year, Pearce Interns compile the Pearce Center’s Annual Report to give donors, faculty and students a glimpse into what the Center has been working on during an academic year. Included in those reports are reflections by current Pearce Interns that tell in their own words what they have gained from the internship experience. Take a look at some of those reflections below to hear what they have to say.
My name is Eileen Flood, and I will be graduating in May as an economics major, with a communications minor. Throughout my time as a college student, the Pearce Center for Professional Communication and the Class of 1941 Studio have become my home. I first learned of the Pearce Center my first semester at Clemson through my COMM 1500 professor, who had made an announcement to our class. After interviewing at the Studio and receiving an offer to become an intern the following semester, I have continued to return every semester since. Although I am an economics major, I have always felt that the Pearce Center has been the best place for me to prepare for my future career. I have discovered that the Pearce Center is about what you are willing to learn and apply, rather than what major you are or what skills you have before starting.
Before I started, I saw the Pearce Internship as an opportunity to find out more about the realm of communication and how it could tie to what I was learning within economics, while also exercising my love for graphic design. After beginning my first few projects as an intern, I realized there was so much more to learn. The first project I was actively involved in focused on redesigning the presentation that the Knights of Columbus used when they visited potential investors so they could get funding for the Special Olympics event in the area. Through this project, I was able to learn how to effectively create a design that communicates emotion and encouraged the audience of the presentation to take action. I also learned how to incorporate other forms of media as well, such as creating a promotional video about the event. I discovered there was more to the process when communicating with a client than just creating whatever they needed. Each step required confirmation. The first meeting is more than a client explaining what their goals are. The client needs confirmation that I correctly understood their goals, and that I was going the direction that they visualized taking. It was this first semester that I felt like I made leaps and bounds in developing as a designer, as a professional, and as a communicator.
Since then I have worked on a variety of projects that each were unique in what I could learn from the project. For the International Conference on Romanticism 2018 project, I was able to understand what goes into planning a large academic conference, website creation through WordPress and how to coordinate a large group of people to accomplish a task. With the CU Navigate project, I’ve learned what goes into app creation especially in terms of deciding how specific information should be communicated to students, how to develop promotional campaigns for that app and even how to utilize parts of Adobe programs I had never previously used.
Last fall, during the process of conducting interviews for potential employment after graduation, what allowed me to succeed was my experience at the Pearce Center. Many of my interviews focused on proposing potential scenarios within the professional realm and how I would approach the issue at hand. For each response, I was able to reference a time I had experienced something similar at the Pearce Center and come up with a solution. After completing all the stages of interviews for the company, I was fortunate enough to receive an employment offer from the Ford Motor Credit Company in Nashville, Tenn. this past November. I am excited to start there this summer after I graduate and use the skills I have developed at the Pearce Center at the company and for the rest of my career.
I feel lucky that throughout my tenure at the Pearce Center, I have had the opportunity to be a part of the same project. CU Navigate, which has transformed significantly, serves primarily as a student success collaborative app that provides students with information about many different parts of student life. I served as this project’s lead this past semester, where I had the opportunity to learn about the specific components of what goes into the creation and development of a new app.
Through working with a variety of client-based projects, especially through CU Navigate I have grown significantly in my abilities as a leader, communicator and team member. While I was initially very nervous about taking the lead of this project and being the liaison between the Pearce Center and the faculty over the app, I found that it put positive pressure on me to become an efficient communicator and effective team leader. Working in a professional atmosphere has enhanced my previous skills, pushed me to continue to grow and prepared me for the workforce in the communications field.
On a personal note, I’d like to thank Ashley Cowden Fisk and Brianne Stanback for giving me this opportunity and trusting in my abilities as a leader. Thank you for being mentors and for providing a support system for every intern at the Pearce Center. Each semester has brought the opportunity to not only grow in my professional abilities, but to meet new and wonderful people each of whom have had an impact on my time at Clemson. I truly cherish the bonds and experiences I have created within the Pearce Center.
I feel lucky that throughout my long tenure at the Pearce Center, I have had the opportunity to be a part of the same project from beginning to end. Synergy, which has undergone several transformations, serves primarily as a web publication to highlight service learning classes at Clemson. I served as the content manager and editor of this project, where I had the opportunity to learn about some amazing service learning projects both on and off campus.
Through working with a variety of client-based projects, especially through Synergy, I have grown more confident in my abilities as a leader, communicator and team member. While I was initially very nervous about being the direct contact between the Pearce Center and my client, I found that it put pressure on me to become an efficient communicator. While I have always thought of myself as a good writer, working in a professional atmosphere forced me to not settle for being content with my skills, but rather to strive to be better.
That same realization led me to gain a skill set I previously didn’t have and make improvements on some weaker points. Specifically, I gained knowledge about a variety of Adobe® products available in the Pearce Center, including Photoshop and InDesign, from my fellow interns. These skills have served me countless times, both inside and outside of this internship.
My time at the Pearce Center also developed my confidence in leading a team. Prior to working here, I was usually content to let someone else be in charge of group projects because I was afraid of making a decision that would negatively impact the group. My time working as a lead on Synergy showed me that I not only can lead, but also I can do it well. I discovered my leadership style, which is very collaborative and role-oriented, that will aid me in my professional career. More importantly, I learned an important life lesson — making a mistake isn’t as important as how you respond to it.
On a more personal note, I’d like to thank Ashley Cowden Fisk, not only for giving me this opportunity, but for being a mentor and for providing a support system for me. I have also made countless friends during my time here. Each semester brought the opportunity to meet new and wonderful people, each of whom have had an impact on my time at Clemson. I truly cherish the bonds I have created within the Pearce Center and hope they continue long after my time here comes to an end.
When I started at the Pearce Center, I jumped into the PR team, helping to put together posters that hung up in Daniel Hall for three years. After that semester, I started working closely with the English Unbound and Synergy teams. My favorite part of working here would absolutely have to be the opportunity to lead the English Unbound project. During my time at Clemson, I’ve held many leadership positions through The Tiger, Clemson’s student newspaper. But, one thing I grappled with is having to be a firm, secure leader. I think this internship has given me the tools to succeed in that, allowing me to give “tough love” when expressing my thoughts on articles or asking someone to accomplish a task. Though there have been times where I faltered, I now feel as though I can express what is needed, heading a project while avoiding a negative undertone.
Another one of my goals while working at the Pearce Center was to strengthen and diversify my writing skills. While I typically write articles centralized around pop culture or arts and entertainment, working with both the Synergy and English Unbound projects has helped me to explore different types of writing. Furthermore, I have strengthened my editing skills through my articles for these publications. Thanks to my time at the Pearce Center, I have had the opportunity to succeed in this goal, work with some amazing people and still maintain a love of journalism.
Overall, I have learned so much about myself during my time at the Pearce Center. Additionally, the skills that I’ve gained have gone on to help me garner an internship at BuzzFeed, as well as become the best Editor-in-Chief that I could during my year and a half at The Tiger. Post graduation, I hope to take these skills and experiences and move into journalism, social media and public relations industries.
Prior to my time at the Pearce Center, I was nervous and unconfident, not really knowing my strengths. Now I have gained confidence in my leadership, writing and professional skill sets. I believe the time that I’ve spent working here will culminate into accomplishing my biggest career goals. I cannot describe how thankful I am for this experience, and I can’t wait to showcase my new skills to the real world.