Pearce Intern Reflections

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.

Taylor Summey (2020-2021)
Taylor Summey smiles at the camera and poses in front of a natural background.

One of the most important lessons that this internship has taught me over the past four semesters is how to conduct myself professionally when working with clients. I have had the opportunity to work for a variety of on- and off-campus clients, including the First Baptist Church of Clemson, Helping Hands of Clemson, the English Department, the UPIC Program and the Pearce Center itself.

For these projects, I not only had to maintain a high level of professionalism and organization, but I also had to cater my work to the client’s specific goals and objectives. These experiences enriched my skills as a communications professional and improved my marketability when applying for jobs.

The Pearce Center helped me realize where my professional interests lie by allowing me to explore a variety of projects. Before this internship, I knew that I was interested in digital marketing (and particularly in social media), but I had limited experience in that area. Through working at the Pearce Center, I have been exposed to so many different aspects of digital marketing, from website design to social media management to content marketing. All of the projects I have worked on have enhanced my skills in digital marketing.

When we were still able to work in person, I had a moment at the Pearce Center that I don’t think I will ever forget. I was sitting at one of the desks in the Class of 1941 Studio working on a deliverable on my laptop. As I worked, I kept track of the time to make sure I was not late for my afternoon class. Around the time I had to leave, I had a pretty major realization: If I could do the type of work I was assigned at the Pearce Center all day instead of going to class, I would because I genuinely loved it. Before working at the Pearce Center, I didn’t have a concrete idea of what direction I wanted to take my career. This internship helped me discover my interest in agency-style work and figure out my goals for the future, and I can’t explain how important that has been for me.

I am beyond grateful to have had this opportunity, and I know that the Pearce Center has given me a solid foundation of skills to begin my professional career after I graduate. I am so excited to see where I can go from here!

Roxie Ware (2020-2021)

Roxie Ware smiles at the camera as she poses in front of a white backdrop.It is hard to put into words what the
Pearce Center has given me as an intern. I remember receiving an email from my
marketing professor sophomore year about the internship and spontaneously deciding to apply. Calling my parents with the news of my first college job made the internship worthwhile already, but the Pearce Center has continuously given me valuable experiences and fun memories since my first day walking into the Class of 1941 Studio.

As a student, I never considered myself a great communicator; English was always my hardest subject, and writing was not a strong skill that I possessed. Thinking that my Pearce Center internship would be mostly marketing and graphic design, I never thought this would be an issue I had to overcome.

The Pearce Center pushed me outside of my comfort zone in the best way possible. I never felt intimidated about the amount of writing that I would be doing but was eased into the practice of writing articles and publishing blogs. Prior to my internship, I had never led an interview and had no idea how to act from this new perspective. Nonetheless, Addison Cox, one of my fellow interns, walked me through the process and helped grow my confidence to ultimately conduct many more interviews on my own, never shy to ask questions or hesitant about my capabilities as the
interviewer. Additionally, I had an amazing team of editors that offered constructive feedback along the way to help my article drafts. My writing and verbal communication is far from perfect but has much improved since my first blog post about taking risks and my first time interviewing a UPIC mentor, just one year ago.

The Pearce Center has allowed me to work with a wide range of clients, including nonprofits, Clemson University programs and surrounding community organizations. A few highlights include contributing to the UPIC Magazine as a writer, editor and graphic designer, leading the Habitat for Humanity team, helping the City of Walhalla’s local businesses and organizing several nonprofit social media calendars. To say that the Pearce Center has given me a vast amount of real-world experience in marketing and communications would be an understatement. I am beyond grateful for my past three semesters as an intern and cannot thank Ashley, Allison and Amanda enough for their continued support throughout my learning journey as a professional communicator.

Will Gordon (2019-2020)
Will Gordon faces the camera and smiles in front of a natural background.

In the fall of 2019, I joined the Pearce Center for Professional Communication as a student intern.

As an English major, I thought the internship would be a small thing to put on my résumé that may help with some of my English and publication skills. I had little clue that my time at the Pearce Center would genuinely change where I saw my life going as I neared graduation.

Through my two amazing semesters at the Pearce Center, I’ve been involved in three separate projects: the Clemson English Newsletter (English Unbound), United Way of Pickens County and the Community Foundation of Greater Clemson. The bulk of my time at the Pearce Center has been centered around nonprofit organizations, and that experience has been way more impactful than I anticipated.

I have gotten to serve different needs in this community, such as children’s early literacy, tax issues and even new building projects for local nonprofits. By conducting interviews, making video content and creating other branded deliverables (folders, physical handouts, etc.) for our nonprofit clients, we have taken tiny steps toward genuinely helping these organizations and those most affected by them.

Looking forward, I know that I desire to work with nonprofits in the future, and I genuinely have my time at the Pearce Center to thank for that. While I have attained some practical skills such as scheduling and using Adobe products, I grew most by working with the people around me. Without this experience, I’m not sure I would have ever begun to make the transition from being entirely focused on school to being focused on my future and what I’m going to do after Clemson, so I’m indebted to my wonderful time here. I would like to thank Ashley, Sarah, Allison and all of the interns for this amazing opportunity and for all the time spent together. I know experiences like this can end up shaping our lives, so I’m glad mine was here.

Carter Smith (2019-2020)

Carter Smith faces the camera and smiles as she poses in front of a natural background. For the past four semesters, I have been a student intern at the Pearce Center for Professional Communication. I knew at the end of my freshman year I wanted to work at the Pearce Center, after talking with older friends who were, at the time, current interns. I can tell you that what they shared with me about their experience, nearly two years ago, is similar to what I am going to share with you — the Pearce Center offers you an unparalleled on-campus experience in the marketing and communications field.

What makes the Pearce Center so great is two-fold: the people and the clients. As an intern, you will collaborate with motivated, like-minded students and work under great supervisors — shout out to Ashley, Allison and Sarah. Our client base is diverse, ranging from non-profits, foundations, on-campus organizations, professor research projects, local schools and much more. At the Pearce Center, you have the opportunity to really dive into the world of marketing/communications through creating real deliverables for clients.

In my two years at the Pearce Center, I have collaborated on a lot of great projects, but here are a few highlights: serving as the editor-in-chief of UPIC magazine, which required interviewing and writing in addition to editing; creating advertisements and social media content for Dr. Rhondda Thomas’s Call My Name Exhibition: The Making of The Black Clemson Community; and working closely with non-profits under the Community Foundation of Greater Clemson. These projects challenged me as a writer, communicator, creater, team-member and leader. Even more generally, from my tenure at the Pearce Center, I have garnered a strong skill-set in AP style writing and editing, communicating as an external and internal liaison, using Adobe and Mailchimp software and creating promotional content for social media.

As a soon-to-be senior who hopes to work in public relations, I feel confident in my abilities to move out into the workforce. This I have the Pearce Center to thank for and more specifically, I would like to personally thank Ashley Fisk for giving me this opportunity, and Allison Daniel and Sarah Costely for their continual support and advice as former Clemson English students.

Eileen Flood (2018-2019)

Eileen Flood smiles and faces the camera as she poses in front of a natural background. 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.

Mattie Lee (2018-2019)

Mattie Lee smiles and faces the camera as she poses in front of a natural background.In the fall of 2018, I began my time at the Pearce Center for Professional Communication. I was completely unaware of what would be expected of me and what this opportunity would teach me.

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.

Allison Daniel (2017-2018)

In the spring of 2016, I entered the Pearce Center for the first time, completely unsure of what would be expected of me. I never imagined that after five semesters of work, I would be sad to see my time here coming to an end.

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.

Saavon Smalls (2017-2018)

Saavon Smalls smiles and faces the camera as he poses in front of a brick wall. I have my five semesters as an intern at the Pearce Center to thank for challenging me, for my personal growth and for making my time at Clemson incredible. In the fall of 2015, I began as a sophomore intern surrounded by upperclassmen. Now, as a senior, I have gotten my footing here, am someone who other staff people can come to and have more confidence in myself and my abilities.

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.

Victoria Webster (2016-2017)

Victoria Webster poses in front of a natural background, smiling and facing the camera.My first semester at the Pearce Center for Professional Communication has been not only an incredible learning experience, but also very fun! I truly enjoyed getting to know the other interns and working collaboratively with them on projects we were all passionate about. The School Book Project was a project I really enjoyed being a part of because it was so rewarding to see the excitement and joy of the third grade class when we presented them with their very own books. Their smiling faces made all of the work worthwhile. The other project I worked on, the English Unbound Newsletter, was also a good experience at the Pearce Center. I liked being able to interview and work with others to write an informative and interesting story. I have already learned a great amount of knowledge during my time at the Pearce Center and I look forward to the semester to come.

Nicolaus Sherrill (2016-2017)

Nicolaus Sherrill poses in front of a natural background, smiling and facing the camera.This semester at the Pearce Center has been wildly different than my first. I was given the Design Lead role for Synergy, the website I put every minute into creating last semester. Having already learned most of the site’s ins-and-outs and most of the design already being done, I was able to focus more on site maintenance and organization. I was able to smooth out the site’s rough edges, which really helped me put into practice the skills I learned in a web design course. We accomplished almost every goal that we set out to at the beginning of the semester and focused on big, long-term improvements for the site. It has been an exciting semester and I really look forward to returning next fall.