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Intern Insider: Cadwallader beats the odds to internship with Summer Stage

Brittany Cadwallader was bummed. It seemed like her odds of landing her coveted internship were long ones. She stood about a 13 percent chance of getting an interview and about a 3 percent chance of securing the internship.

Brittany Cadwallader '12

Cadwallader, a senior strategic communications major, wanted to work at Summer Stage for the summer as part of the Elon in New York City program, and here’s the raw data that were staring her down: More than 100 people applied, 13 would be granted an interview, three would become public relations and marketing interns.

Maybe Cadwallader should consider playing the lottery because she is now one of those three.

“This (internship with Summer Stage) was so right for me,” she says. “I was so happy because I’ve done performing arts and been a part of performing arts my whole life.”

Cadwallader’s application process seemed to discourage her at every turn until she received the formal internship offer.

She was told the competition for an internship was the stiffest Summer Stage had ever hosted. She was told to think about other internship opportunities (outside markeing and PR) she might be interested in with Summer Stage and the City Parks Foundation (the nonprofit that funds Summer Stage). She was asked to interview with another branch of the CPF. The situation seemed to be stacked against her.

But weeks later, Cadwallader got a message from someone in the organization that said a decision had been made. She was asked to call back.

“I thought, ‘Would she call if I didn’t get it?” Cadwallader says. “I called her right back, and she said, ‘We’d like to you do this PR/marketing internship.’ I think I threw a pretty good dance party in my room afterwards. It was definitely a huge relief after wondering if I’d have to go to New York without an internship.”

As a PR and marketing intern, Cadwallader works on Summer Stage’s social media presence and interacts with communities before and during live shows in different boroughs. She’s been enhancing the organization’s Facebook page and Twitter accounts. She’s been handing out promotional materials for future concerts. And she’s recently been given the opportunity to spearhead the revitalization of Summer Stage’s blog.

“It’s becoming my project to figure out what audiences would read the blog, what they would want to know about Summer Stage,” she says. “It’s an exciting responsibility. We’re changing it more from an announcement or release to something that shares experiences of what the Summer Stage experience is. We want to give it more heart.”

Cadwallader was given the task of rebranding the blog after she pitched the project to her supervisor. She says she had the confidence to articulate her thoughts and ideas because of the courses she’s taken at Elon.

“I would say that the way I was able to pitch this blog idea to her would not have been natural to me without the classes I have taken, especially Strategic Campaigns,” Cadwallader says. “That class really helped me think about what the thought process is for implementing (a project).”

Cadwallader has both a passion for PR and performance, so her experience at Summer Stage to this point has been both fruitful and fun, she says. The internship has united two of her keen interests, and it’s given her a renewed passion for non-profit work.

“This internship is exactly the kind of work I can see myself doing in the future,” Cadwallader says. “I’m happy to say I’m still very sure this is an area of work I want to go into. I’m doing something I want to do with my life. This experience of doing public relations and marketing and just seeing how a non-profit of this size runs will be invaluable.”

Intern Insider will run one to two times a week during the summer and will feature brief stories about some of the interns from the School of Communications or in School of Communications programs.

Colin Donohue,
6/23/2011 6:26 PM