Candace Howell-Williams, a senior Journalism and Public Relations Department major with a minor in communications media at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, completed two internships this year—one at the Manor Bar and Grille in Manor,
Pennsylvania, and one in her very own academic department.
Howell-Williams had been working as a server at the Manor Bar and Grille for several years, and she always thought she could help the owner with his public relations efforts. She pitched her idea to the Journalism Department faculty, and together they
made it happen.
Howell-Williams put her educational experiences to work using visuals and words to promote the business and help expand the restaurant’s market. Some of the more visual work included creating PowerPoint “advertisement” slideshows for the diner, creating table
topper seasonal ads, managing the diner’s Facebook page, taking pictures of food, designing ads, and planning re-branding efforts. Managing the Facebook page and interacting with the customers involves creating and distributing mini press releases,
coming up with new promotion ideas, and posting updates about the weekly scholarship fundraiser.
“Knowing that I'm part of a company that gives back to the community makes my time at the grille even more rewarding,” Howell-Williams said.
During her internship with her academic department, Howell-Williams was tasked, along with another student, to create the Pennsylvania State System Collegiate Media Summit's registration website. She and her friend could design the website any way they
wanted: from the layout and color scheme, to the more complicated decisions like how many tabs, pages, and extra media plug-ins they wanted to incorporate.
Additionally, Howell-Williams helped to plan and execute the event. She helped to decide who the presenters would be, how many colleges and students to invite, and what themes and topics were appropriate. She also reached out to the presenters, made nametags,
and was a part of the team that ensured things ran smoothly during the two-day event at the HUB.
Howell-Williams credits her professors and her peers in the IUP Journalism and Public Relations and Communications Media departments with providing the skills she used to excel in her internships.
“Each program offers so many opportunities to get involved in outside projects, and the faculty from each department is just as involved and invested in their students’ success as the students are,” Howell-Williams said. “Each program also has students
who are driven to create content that will appeal to, entertain, and inform the public, and we’re constantly learning from each other in, and out of, the classroom.”
Howell-Williams’ advice to other students seeking internships is to never underestimate your adviser’s connections, or the kindness of alumni and outside employers who want to mentor you and support your success. Don’t be afraid to reach out!
After graduation, she plans to do freelance journalism and continue helping local businesses grow and develop their brands.
“My life goal is to be the proud owner of a Volkswagen camper and an A-frame cabin, but if I can’t get my ‘hippie van,’ I'll just paint a tie-dyed pattern on my husband’s company van,” Howell-Williams says. “He’ll learn to like it.”