By: Dezaray Barr
Mia Anderson, a senior graduating in December from IWU, has served as the Alumni Center Blog Manager and Writer since December of 2015. As she prepares for graduation in December and her wedding in January, she has transitioned away from the position, but she spoke with her successor, Dezaray Barr, on the importance of alumni networking and connection.
Kate Burkhardt, a 2014 graduate, was a member of IWU’s chapter of Public Relation Student Society of America (PRSSA) leadership when Anderson was a freshman becoming involved in the organization. Although Anderson didn’t meet Burkhardt while they were both students, Anderson recognized Burkhardt when she applied for the Hamilton County Tourism internship in January of 2016, where Burkhardt was serving as the Communications Coordinator.
After being offered and accepting the internship, Anderson finally had the opportunity to meet Burkhardt in person. Burkhardt played a large role in Anderson’s internship over the summer, acting as her pseudo- supervisor.
Anderson said, “Because of our similar PRSSA experience through IWU, Kate knew what kind of experience I wanted through my internship, and she helped to make sure I would get that experience.”
From memorial day to the first week in August during this summer, Anderson had the opportunity to write blog posts, press releases, media advisories, pitch emails, and pitch story ideas for Hamilton County Tourism. Anderson also had the opportunity to work with the Indy Style Morning Program on WISH TV to promote Hamilton County’s Tenderloin Tuesday. She was able to see the show come together behind the scenes and also watch it happen live in the studio.
Although Anderson’s internship has ended, her and Burkhardt still talk often. Just a few weeks ago, Burkhardt visited Anderson on IWU’s campus and was able to show her results of her work from the summer.
“Kate made it a point to show me the fruit of my labor,” Anderson said. “I never had the opportunity to see who accepted my pitch emails and pitch stories ideas, but Kate made sure I was provided the opportunity to see the fruit of everything I had done over my summer internship.”
Burkhardt continues to help Anderson with her communication senior project, and Anderson appreciates having an ally in the career industry. What began as a simple PRSSA connection, blossomed into an alumni connection that provided Anderson with one of her biggest growing opportunities of her career.
Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a Sophomore Strategic Communication and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. At IWU Dezaray is involved in PRSSA leadership and runs both the JWHC Blog and her own blog. Visit Dez’s website at www.dezaraybarr.weebly.com.