Twenty-two students from Elon University’s Communications Fellows program participated in a two-week trip in January to the Sunshine State, touring communications companies, meeting with industry professionals, and gaining insights into their future careers.
As part of the Winter Term course “The Fellows Experience,” 22 communications students traveled to Florida in January to visit with media outlets and communications organizations in Orlando and Tampa. The two-week trip included 17 company visits – yes, 17 – across a variety of communications industries. The interactions with seasoned professionals provided the students with an in-depth look at their future professions.
While in Tampa, the Communications Fellows – all of them first-year students – conducted several group visits, touring Diamond View, Poynter Institute, PP+K, 22Squared, Company Man Studios, Nielsen and the Tampa Bay Lightning's arena. During their visit with the NHL franchise, students met with Elon alumnus Brian Fink '08, the organization’s video production manager. Fink has been with the Lightning since the 2010-11 hockey season.
During the group’s Orlando leg, the students also visited Adrenaline Films, WKMG-TV News 6, &Barr, Disney Parks Live Entertainment, Digital Brew and the Orange County Convention Center.
Additionally, while in Florida the students split into smaller groups based on their respective interests and toured Marketing for Change, Wyndham Destinations, Tupperware and Uproar PR. During these more intimate shadow visits, the students spent between three to four hours on site with company employees and supervisors.
“The 22 students who took part in this experience benefitted from the ability to interact with more than 30 professionals in the communications, creative and sports industries and it allowed them an in-depth look at companies, both large and small,” said Amber Moser, assistant director of career services in the School of Communications and a chaperone on the trip. “For some students, it solidified their career aspirations and for others, it has opened many more possibilities.”
The class also mixed in some fun and volunteerism, visiting four Disney parks, spending a day at Clearwater Beach, and helping at The Mustard Seed of Central Florida, a nonprofit organization that provides donated items (furniture, appliances, household items and toys) to economically qualifying families and individuals.
Throughout the trip, the students reflected on their visits and experiences in a Facebook group page, providing a glimpse into their takeaways.
During the trip, Kathryn Watson wrote: “As we conclude our last day of company visits, I am surprised at how much we learned in such a short amount of time. The amount of real life experience, expert advice and general knowledge about the field of communications that we learned is crazy and will definitely help me in my future.”
Added Kate Lengyel, “What I’ve learned most overall is that you have to love what you do, whatever you do. This trip has made me more excited than ever to be a part of Elon’s communications and I can’t wait to see where this takes me.”
In addition to Lengyel and Watson, the Communications Fellows who traveled to Florida included: Maeve Ashbrook, Abby Bailey, JoyceLyn Bentley, Paloma Camacho, Victoria Cuciniello, Leah Day, Ciani Foy, Hannah Garcia, Anita Hallberg, Emily Jacob, Savannah Lowry, Alyssa Merhy, Catherine Nester, Jeremy Palladino, Sam Porozok, Alexander Reynolds, Luke Stoddard, Emily Thomas, Ted Thomas and Mackenzie Wilkes.
To highlight their experience, Palladino and Ted Thomas created the following video.
This is the second year Moser has teamed with Lecturer Hal Vincent to co-led the annual Winter Term experience – though Vincent has chaperoned previous Florida visits.