Summer 2019 Intern Instagram Takeovers


During summer 2019, some of our members took over our Instagram account (@utkprssa) to show us a day-in-the-life of a communications intern. From public relations firms in Knoxville to global entertainment agencies, our members have been gaining some pretty amazing experience this summer. Here’s what you missed, if you didn’t catch it on Instagram. You can also see all our takeovers on our Instagram highlights.

Loren Gilbert: UT System Office of Communications and Marketing

Loren took us to UT Martin for a communicators conference as part of her internship with the UT System Office of Communications and Marketing.

“The past seven months of interning with the UT System have allowed me to apply the valuable information I have learned in my CCI courses to the real world. I am looking forward to beginning a new journey with Moxley Carmichael as their fall public relations intern.”

Jacob Teetzmann: Moxley Carmichael

Jacob gave us a glimpse into agency life at this fast-paced agency located in downtown Knoxville. He spent much of his summer writing, pitching stories, curating content for social media, researching and contributing to marketing strategy and business development.

“The most valuable experience was working for a U.S. based public relations agency and to see the cultural differences and similarities in the work processes and approaches.”

During 2019-2020, Jacob will continue with his graduate studies and assistantship at UT and will be the communications manager for the UT EcoCar Mobility Challenge Team.

Victoria Johnson: Dollywood

Victoria brought us to Water Safety Day at Dollywood’s Splash County to show a special event that Dollywood has hosted for 10 years. She has grown exponentially professionally and shares some of her advice for those still looking for experience:

“Make and build connections, especially with the professors at UT. They really want to help us and help us all grow. I heard about this internship from Dr. Childers, and she recommended that I apply, and here I am!”

Sarah Rindermann: Grapevine Communications

Sarah let us have some fun in the sun with her in Sarasota, Florida with her internship at Grapevine Communications. Sarah assisted in running reports, contributing to strategic planning, researching social media ideas and catching up on industry trends.

“Grapevine took me in as one of their own and were always working to make sure I was experiencing multiple aspects of the firm and feeling like I mattered more than an intern. For anyone looking for an internship, don’t be afraid to stretch your boundaries on where you’re comfortable! I expected to hate agency life and ended up loving it, so don’t be afraid to try new things!”

Catherine Johnson: Choice Media and Communications

Catherine joined us from Nashville as she took us along on her day as a publicity intern for Choice Communications.

“It’s been an awesome experience for me because I’ve been able to see national media coverage in the New York Times. I’ve been blessed by this experience.”

Amy Nelson: Discovery

Amy showed us what it’s like working at Discovery during its Shark Week festivities. She also gave us a tour of Discovery Knoxville’s facilities.

“It’s super cool to be able to put some scenario-based planning to work in order to creatively work around last minute hiccups.”

Hannah James: Transitions Online

Hannah took us the farthest from home to Prague, Czech Republic for her internship with the nonprofit Transitions Online.

“One of the most important things I’ve learned with this internship and that I’ll be able to apply to not only my classes but the real public relations world is the theory of human-centered design.”

Track Your Progress

How to prepare yourself now for those tricky interview questions later.

Have you ever been in an interview, and the interviewer asks the question, “Describe a specific example of a time you…?” Suddenly, you can’t remember a single thing you have ever done in your life. Completely blanking on a specific situation and giving a more general answer is a sure way to hurt your confidence during an interview. I’ve been there, and I’m here to help make sure this doesn’t happen to you again.

There is a way to prevent this common occurrence from happening. The answer is to track your progress. If you are currently in an internship and know you will be seeking another job in the future, try tracking your progress now to benefit yourself later.

What does tracking your progress look like? For me, I turn in a time sheet every two weeks at my current internship. Printing two copies and writing a few key points of what I did those two weeks on the copy I keep for myself helps me collect specific instances to use later in a job interview. This way, I can remember the time I was given an Instagram Story campaign project with only one hour to research and brainstorm, write copy, create graphics and post. This instance is perfect for the question, “Can you describe a specific time you were under pressure and performed well?” Writing down and remembering a handful of specific examples can help build confidence before, during and after the interview.

Another benefit of tracking progress is the ability to place specific data on a resume to snag an interview. Compiling monthly reports of quantitative data such as social media analytics or event participation offers opportunity for listing specific analytics and results. Instead of stating that you “maintained all social media platforms,” your resume will stand out by stating a quantifiable result like, “Increased social media engagements by 327 percent during my first month.”

Lastly, don’t be afraid to grab a copy of something you wrote or worked on in an internship. Did you write a small article in the company newsletter one month? Take a few copies to include as a writing sample. Holding an actual piece of work and not just a previous class assignment can make your skills seem more tangible.

Hopefully these tips inspire you to track your progress. I was amazed by how the tiny tasks I have done all year added up to a large set of skills by the end of the summer. Please reach out to me by email,, if you have any questions!

Loren Gilbert

2019-2020 PRSSA President

Sammie Lynn Puett Chapter


PRSSA University of Tennessee, Knoxville UTK Logo

Welcome to the University of Tennessee Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) blog! We’re ecstatic to start a new personalized blog, featuring our officers and guest contributors in the PR community.

We’re here to talk about our experiences in public relations, share tips and tricks for PR students, give advice for graduating students, influence our PR community and support the mission of PRSSA. (PRSSA’s Mission: To provide exceptional service to our members by enhancing their education, broadening their professional network and helping launch their careers after graduation.)

We strive to embody PRSSA’s strategic plan goals of membership, leadership and service. We encourage incoming students to join our chapter of PRSSA to increase and enrich our chapter’s membership. We exhibit leadership in the PR academic community through our participation in courses, dedication to the field, professional development outside the classroom and genuine passion for public relations and communications.

We build strong ambassadors for our field and our organization as many of our former members become members of PRSA and lead in their new public relations roles after graduation.

We are dedicated to serving our public relations community through informative and useful guest speakers, referrals to top-notch internships and opportunities for professional development near and far. We also connect with the local community through engaging with local professionals and organizations like Dollywood, local agencies and more.

In addition, we provide ample opportunities for our members to interact with professionals, build their networks and succeed after graduation. After all, our best successes are our graduates. Our grads nurture our current students who then become graduates who mentor and build current students and over again in a constant cycle, continually making us all better public relations practitioners and communicators.

We are a community of PR professionals. We are leaders in our field. We are dedicated, driven students. We are volunteers. We are UT PRSSA.

Katie Matthews

Public Relations Director 2019