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First things first: Without doing a summer internship in Washington, D.C., I’m not sure if I’d know what I want to do with my life.

Thanks to twelve long weeks and some couple hundred dollars later, I have more of a clue.

I spent the past summer as a (paid) intern at Spectrum Science Communications, a public relations firm specializing in health care. While at Spectrum, I pitched medical stories to both large and small publications, did extensive research, and assisted in event planning and brainstorming sessions.

I was also very active with new business clients, primarily the pharmaceutical company Organon. I worked extensively on a campaign which will soon launch a website aimed at linking two of their products, the Nuva Ring, a contraceptive, and Follistim pen, a fertility drug.

Interning at Spectrum taught me more than what it’s like to be involved with large projects. It also showed me the importance of details. Grunt work is key to getting ahead. You can never expect to receive six-digit salaries without knowing how to dub a VHS tape, transcribe an interview or create screen grabs—a freeze frame of an interview taped on TV.

Although Spectrum has not fully sold me in terms of PR, it has definitely solidified my decision to go into health care and medical reporting. I feel it’s an area where I could both thrive and learn simultaneously. Without this past summer, I wouldn’t be able to say this.

When I graduate I plan on returning to Washington and fully immersing myself in the rat race. If you have any apprehension of leaving your small town—don’t. It’s worth it to leave. You will never know what’s out there if you don’t give it a try.

  • Journalism and Public Relations Department
  • Humanities and Social Sciences Building, Room 404
    981 Grant Street
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-4411
  • Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 7:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
  • 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.