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Elon's School of Communications offering revamped Elon in New York City program

For the last two years, Elon University's School of Communications has been firmly establishing a presence on the west coast. Now the school is making the 500-mile trip north to plant its roots in the Big Apple.

The revamped Elon in New York City summer internship program begins in June with a few new twists and turns to enhance students’ internship experiences. The program, which was initially launched last year, will take students out of Elon’s classrooms and put them in New York for nine weeks.

The program is open to all majors, who will take six hours of credit while in the city: two from an internship and four from a class called Streets of New York, a general studies course that engages students to consider the historical, cultural, economic and social impact of New York City through an experiential educational experience.

“I hope this program takes a student’s internship experience and moves it from 50 percent to 100 percent,” said Connie Book, the associate dean in the School of Communications. “By studying the impact of New York City on life in America, in tandem with a professional internship experience, I think students will be highly engaged in a transformative experience.”

Three faculty and staff members from across campus will lead the multi-focused Streets of New York course. Bill Webb, an assistant professor of performing arts, calls his portion of the class “From Page to Stage,” and it will look at how ideas move from conception to production. Dan Haygood, an assistant professor in the School of Communications, dubs his part of the class “Madison Avenue,” and it will focus on advertising. Lynne Biscoe, a nonprint librarian, will also direct the class.

The fragmented Streets of New York experience was a draw for junior broadcast journalism major Nolan Elingburg, who was one of the first students to apply for the program.

“I like how it’s broken up,” he said. “You get to do something different every two weeks. With New York, you get a grasp of all different kinds of communications. You get a better range.”

Students will be able to explore that range of options before settling on an internship that they’re required to find on their own. Elingburg said he’s looking for something in the entertainment or sports industry.

“I think being able to get an internship in New York City would be eye-opening,” he said. “I want to know if I can handle working in a big city like that of I’d rather be in a smaller town.”

In addition to the internship and class experiences, Elon will provide affordable housing and mentoring opportunities with hundreds of Elon alumni and parents who work in businesses that focus on the arts, marketing, public relations, advertising, investments, banking, journalism and more.

“Add to the mix an Elon alum living in the city as a professional mentor to the student, experience around the city with theater, museums, monuments and researching the great history surrounding the streets and neighborhoods of the city,” Book said, “and you have a compelling academic experience for students.”

Students will live in affordable housing within the city. All rooms are fully furnished, have broadband connectivity and a kitchen. Students from several universities will also use the facility, which allows Elon students to interact with other students studying and interning in New York City.

Elon in NYC is the School of Communications’ second domestic summer internship program, following the highly successful Elon in Los Angeles experience that started two summers ago. Book said establishing a New York program fell in line with the university’s previous strategic plan that called for the creation of more home-grown internship opportunities.

“The Elon in Los Angeles program was the first venture into (the establishment of domestic initiatives),” Book said, “and that was so well received by students that we decided to move forward with New York City.”

Elingburg said he initially planned on applying to Elon in LA because of the positive experiences that other students have had in Los Angeles. But changed his mind at the last moment when he decided he wanted to stay on the east coast.

“It was nice having the New York option,” he said. “It will give me some experience trying to figure out where I want to work one day. It will show you what it’s like to have a job in the real world.”

Colin Donohue,
3/2/2010 7:24 PM