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Communication Majors Gain Confidence, Experience Through Internships

As a key reserve on the Otterbein women’s soccer team, Alicia Contrascier appreciates the importance of practice and planning ahead. The public relations junior knows that once she graduates there won’t be many opportunities to continue her soccer career, however, she would like to find a career in sports.

Like so many other communication majors, Contrascier is turning towards internships and practicum experiences to help fashion her future in sports. In fact, four sports-oriented students are with the NHL Columbus Blue Jackets this season alone: two with the Blue Jackets Foundation, one in media relations and one in video production.

“Helping with the Foundation’s events, such as the formal event to help raise money for pediatric cancer research, has helped me realize what goes on behind the scenes of major events,” says Contrascier. “This is such a great experience and I would recommend it to anyone.”

In a recent survey taken by 103 of the 157 communication majors, 93 percent agreed that they are confident that their communication major will help land them a job upon graduation. More than 86 percent believe they will graduate within four years with a communication major. Most COMM majors know that internships and practicum experiences are crucial and 84 percent of majors feel their communication professors provide plenty of leads for internship opportunities.

Journalism and Media Communications professor Jeff Demas sees students advance directly from their internships to entry-level positions.

“Our proximity to Columbus gives our students a veritable warehouse of internship opportunities, and they take advantage of them,” Demas said. “I can't count the number of students who are now working at places where they had internships.”

Senior Alicia Colon helps in the Blue Jackets office with PR activities and in the press box with media relations during home games. Senior Harrison Ralph honed his video production and broadcast-reporting skills in the classroom and at Otterbein athletic events. Now he’s working for the Blue Jackets producing videos that thousands of fans see every game. Junior Tabatha Piper also helps with the Foundation’s fundraising efforts.

Other communication students have already locked up paid summer internships at Nationwide Insurance, The Dawes Arboretum, Pelotonia, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority in Washington, D.C., and the 2nd and Seven Foundation, to name a few.