November 29th, 2017

I remember the time I first received an email about a new, great internship opportunity within Longwood University’s Office of Institutional Advancement. At first, I was skeptical because this was the first time I had ever been intrigued by an internship opportunity. I was very discouraged this previous summer because I could not seem to secure an internship that met the requirements for my major, nor could I find one that I seemed remotely interested in. I applied as soon as I received the application. Within a few days I had already interviewed with, my current, supervisor Penny Pairet. We interviewed at California Pizza Kitchen and immediately hit it off. She has been a very helpful mentor throughout this internship opportunity, along with the remainder of the Institutional Advancement and Development faculty and staff. They recognize that you are participating in an internship and that you are there to learn and grow as a young professional.

While I was nervous about the  workload of the internship and its overall effect on my senior year, along with the remainder of my academic career, I was surprised to find that COMM 492 would be my favorite class out of all of the classes I had taken at Longwood University. Within a week’s duration, I had already created two pieces of Longwood approved Branding. They included new Alumni Birthday cards and a special Holiday Donor newsletter to accompany a special thank you receipt from the Development office.

This has given me the experience of working in a particular, donor relations centered field. I have a newfound respect for those who work in the field of giving and philanthropy. It is more than asking for donations. Philanthropy is a way of life and supports priceless opportunities for students. There is a lot of valuable work that goes into University giving.This has caused me to reflect on what I want out of a career one day. I will look for a career centered around persuasive client relations, not necessarily donor relations or selling, but something centered around creating original digital content for clients or companies. I am still very interested in social media marketing and marketing campaigns and would love to bring news ideas to the product marketing world.

While I did not gain full knowledge of how to successfully plan and execute an event, as I originally wrote about in my first journal post, I did gain the understanding of the philanthropy and donor relations side of Longwood University and Universities in general; as I had the pleasure of contacting Donor Directors from institutions such as the University of Mary Washington,University of Virginia and a multitude of smaller colleges in order to collect research on new program implementations and structure of existing councils. For instance, I created a National Philanthropy Day write up, after contacting institutions with similar values as Longwood. I presented my supervisor with the idea of creating a Student Philanthropy Council at Longwood. After contacting the Donor Director of The University of Rhode Island, it was clear that the philanthropy should come from both the Institution and the students. This would also be a great new way for students to get involved on campus in a way to give back. This would also be a fantastic way to showcase student giving to donors and alumni. I am happy to say that, as of today, she has informed me that she will be implementing a Student Philanthropy Council at Longwood, come next Spring. It has shown me the steps and research methods necessary to coordinating and eventually creating an event, while allowing me to enhance my creative content skills by graphics, and professional documentation for alumni, parents, donors, and events.

While being here, I unfortunately lost my Granddaddy. This was a very traumatic event, especially during the midst of both my senior year and internship. It was a very difficult time for me but I have managed to makeup all of my hours and maintain good grades. The project I struggled with the most would have to be the creation of the Thanksgiving Thank View. This video took a lot of careful planning and a lot of persuasive communication. I decided to be the spokesperson in the video and it worked out to my advantage. I was able to display my public relations speaking skills along with developing a comfortable speaking pattern when asking for random student participation for the video. This was a challenge and I was afraid of rejection, but rejection is never something to be feared. This internship opportunity, along with a multitude of Communication Studies classes, has taught me that.

Throughout this internship, I have been brilliantly mentored. I adored the office faculty and staff and found guidance and assistance when needed. I highly suggest this internship within the Office of Institutional Advancement to any Communication Studies, Business Marketing, Graphic Design, English, and Rhetoric Majors, remotely interested in client relations should inquire about this beneficial experience. Thanks to this internship, I was able to produce material for the Office of Development and Institutional Advancement that will be used by Longwood University for semesters to come, such as the Alumni and Donor birthday cards, the Giving Society birthday cards for the 1893 Society, the Rotunda Society and the Citizen Leader Society as well as the Upcoming Events Calendar one sided brochure for both donors and/or alumni. This has forever connected me to Longwood University and I will always be grateful for that.

Have a Happy Holidays!!

New Birthday Card

Citizen Leader Society Birthday Card Final

Rotunda Society Birthday Card Final

1893 Society Birthday Card Final

Holiday Donor Letter Final

National Philanthropy Day at Longwood University

Events Calendar Nov-Dec 2017


Journal #5

November 22nd, 2017

While I have witnessed multiple communication theories throughout the duration of my internship, two were heavily prevalent during this experience as a whole. The first communication theory that I observed was the expectancy violation theory. This theory analyzes how individuals respond to expectation violations and sudden, unexpected changes in social normalities. I noticed this theory early on during my internship. It occurred most when making donor thank you phone calls. Even though I have made important, professional phone calls during past jobs, this is the first time I have contacted dignitaries and extremely generous donors and thanked them for their participation in making Longwood University a better place. Sometimes, I found myself expecting the phone calls to be mutually energetic and positive. However, occasionally, there were times where my expectation did not match the reality of the situation. While I remained positive on the phone, some individuals are not always as kind on the phone as you expect them to be. I considered these misunderstandings though, because the message along with tone can be easily misinterpreted over the phone. This realization made making phone calls a lot less nerve racking. The second communication theory that I observed was the social identity theory. When making donor thank you phone calls, I always identify myself by my full name, my office title and the office that I am associated with, being the Office of Institutional Advancement. This, in a sense, has brought me closer to Longwood and has allowed me to identify with a new group of individuals. This is my first, on campus, social tie to the University. While working on a Thanksgiving themed Thank View video, I gathered very brief video segments from random students around campus. I greeted each student or group of students in a friendly manner by telling them the office I was associated with and what my goal for them was. I felt proud to represent the Office of Institutional Advancement in such a unique way. My social identity has shifted from student to intern and I am thankful for the opportunities it has brought my way.  


Journal #4

November 1st, 2017

The course COMM 375, formally known as Public Relations Research, has helped me greatly throughout the entirety of my internship. It has specifically taught me how to properly go about gathering information before working on a project. For example, before working on and completing the giving gociety member birthday cards, I contacted the Director of Donors from both the University of Virginia and the University of Mary Washington, via email, and asked them for advice on design and format. Both Directors responded within the week with great advice and a copy of their current birthday card intended for giving society members. While I have applied my new methods of research to my internship in order to complete projects and various assignments, another communication studies course that has assisted me tremendously is COMM 460, known as Communication Research Methods. While I have acquired knowledge of similar methods of research through both research intensive courses, within my Communications Research Methods class, I have specifically learned how to follow through with the completion of my projects in a fully edited and timely manner. While these courses taught me about different research methods and how to following through with deadlines, one other class has allowed me to make a great impression on my supervisor. The course COMM 410, Digital and Social Media Technology, taught me how to market to my audience and consumer needs when creating original content. I have recently created the Events Calendar for the monthly donor newsletter. I first decided on which events to include within the newsletter. I then created a Longwood, brand approved, layout with various Longwood, company and event logos. I finalized the newsletter by including the time and location of the event, contact information and  where to purchase specific tickets for attendance. After the completion of the Events Calendar, my superiors were so impressed with my work that I was assigned to create the webpage layout for the new Day of Giving Campaign that will be located on Longwood University’s main website soon. I am very excited to complete my current projects and I am looking forward to seeing what the remainder of my internship holds in store for me.