Rung/Sprung

Student Intern at Rung/Sprung – Spring 2013

Kathy Ioannou, BA Public Relations '13

Kathy Ioannou

When did you begin preparing to apply for your internship at Rung? 

I started around August or September of 2012 to try and secure an internship for the spring semester of 2013. What I discovered is that I should have started the search even sooner.

 What did you do to prepare?

The greatest asset anyone can have in the internship process is Mindy Berkowitz (Director of Portfolio Development & Internships). She is extremely talented at helping each student work through the process coupled with finding the right fit between a student and a company/organization. However, you have to be willing to step-up and do your part. Her job is not to do it for you, but to help you get to where you want to be. I worked closely with Mindy and followed her sage advice, which paid off. Creating an online portfolio and updating my resume proved to be invaluable in the search process. Also, attending Webster's Internship Expo was very beneficial.   

What are your main responsibilities as an intern?

It was a pleasure to be mentored by Rung and Sprung Executive Director, Mallarie Zimmer, who holds extensive knowledge in the non-profit sector. My internship was focused on various facets of the public relations practice. The overall objective was  to conceptualize and develop strategies coupled with implementing tactics to further public awareness of their organization (Rung) and the opening of a second location (Sprung). There was a strong emphasis on media relations, which included developing media contacts, pitching stories to broadcast news media along with writing and submitting press releases.  Other responsibilities included developing partnerships, building community relations and promoting events.

What is the most valuable new skill you've learned since beginning your internship?

There are actually two standouts:

1) Scriptwriting for television and radio advertising. 2) Pitching stories directly to news media, as opposed to sending a press release.

Although I had learned these skills through various classes, it is much different than having the opportunity to apply them in real life. It is very exciting to see your hard work come to fruition out in the world!

What challenges have you faced?

The most difficult challenge was being productive when there was no project to focus on or other assignments that needed to be completed. Even if there is nothing work-related to do I don't feel it is appropriate to get on Facebook, text or make personal phone calls. Therefore, I would try and find something purposeful and work-related to occupy my time. This usually resulted in my doing research about the company, non-profit organizations or PR-related topics.

What has been your greatest success?

I am very excited to have written the scripts for several radio commercials that are currently being aired on Y98 and The Fresh. In addition, it was extremely rewarding to have had Fox 2 News air a three-minute segment from a story I pitched.  And, as if that wasn't enough fun, I was also able to pitch a story that resulted in securing an hour long radio interview between Rung's founder (Ali Kindle) and Jean Ponzi--host of the “Earthworm Show” on KDHX.

What's the biggest thing you would advise potential student interns NOT to do?

Don't be a slacker and leave the attitude at home…

What to do? Exhibit a strong work ethic. Be respectful and professional at all times, especially if you encounter some kind of a conflict. Keep in mind, when you are interning you are not only representing yourself. You are also serving as an ambassador for Webster University.

What is your favorite responsibility at Rung?

If it needed to be written, I loved writing it! It is not just the end result of words on paper that captivates me. It is the process of conceptualizing ideas, shaping thoughts and then bringing it to life through the artistry of words.

What's next for Kathy Ioannou?

Although I am seeking employment, in the interim I have a plan. By now you have probably guessed that I have a passion for writing. Butterfly Rising Productions, LLC is now the business name under which my artistry of wordsmith is formed, shaped and produced. Using the invaluable knowledge and skills I have gained through attending Webster I will be offering communications based services via freelancing. It is an honor to be able to provide communications, public relations and writing services to clients in a manner that serves their individual business needs.  

On another note, one of my current projects is to complete the manuscript of a book I am authoring titled “Tao of the IronButterfly­­- Gaining Strength and Wisdom through Life's Experiences.” This is a non-fiction book meant to uplift, encourage and inspire others to find the best in themselves. There is a caterpillar-to-butterfly theme threaded throughout for its symbolism of growth, beauty and transformation. Growth is often accompanied by pain, but the end result of change is well worth it. Just ask any butterfly that started out as a caterpillar.

  

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Webster University - School of Communications: The Center for Portfolio Development and Internships
Leif J. Sverdrup Building, Room 124 | contact: Mindy Berkowitz | Phone (314) 246-7614, Fax (314) 246-8274 | mindyb@webster.edu