Internship Insight: The Nittany Network

One name can make a big difference.

“Hey, I know you, you go to Penn State right?” said Janelle Kelly, a senior studying advertising and women studies at Penn State.

“Uh, yeah I do. Wait do I know you?” I said confusingly.

It was my first day as an editorial intern at O, The Oprah Magazine in Manhattan, New York for the summer and the first person that looked seemingly close to my age was Kelly. Kelly is a style intern at the magazine who works alongside Elizabeth Malara, a senior studying broadcast journalism who also attends Penn State. That is when it hit me, “It’s great to be a Nittany Lion.”

When interning, your advisor will probably tell you that in order to have a great internship, you have to network. Networking is a big deal when it comes to building relationships in the industry. You have to go out of your way in order to make sure that the people around you not only know who you are but can hear what they you have to say. Interning can be a very intimidating experience since you are in a whole different atmosphere with people who have been doing this for years. But with the right confidence and guidance, it can easily turn into the best experience.

The crazy thing was not only did I find out that Kelly and Marala went to Penn State, I soon discovered two other interns at the magazine, Janae Tobia, a senior studying broadcast journalism and Olivia Vellone, a senior studying advertising and publication relations, also attended Penn State. To much surprise, most of us did not even know each other until we all started interning together (in a school with over 40,000 undergraduate students, one can surely understand the dilemma).

“It’s great working with girls who go to the same school as me. I had no clue at first that they did, but now I have formed great relationships with some of them that will definitely carry out into the school year,” said Marala.

To many, you are familiar with the saying, “Where you go to school for your undergraduate doesn’t really matter.” Oh, but it does. Where you go to school can actually be a great way for you to not just get ahead but to get your foot in the door. Who knows, just by having the word “Penn State” written in your resume, can be the deciding factor on if you get the job.

It was during a trip to O, The Oprah Magazine with Ed2010, a magazine networking club, that I along with a little of prior knowledge and research, made it a mission to form a relationship with the editorial intern supervisor (who is now my supervisor), Arianna Davis. Davis was a Penn State alumna of the Class of 2009. The great thing about this connection with Davis was that not only did she attend Penn State, she was also the Editor-in-Chief of Valley Magazine during her undergrad (seriously the coincidence till this day gives me the creeps). With consistency and passion, I was able to land my internship.

Jayne Jamison, Senior Vice President and Publisher at O, The Oprah Magazine, who is also a Penn State alumna, said it best during the College of Communications Class of 2015 Commencement, “You are all finding a job and you will all have a career…All 727 of you, once you get settled can help another student from Penn State find an internship or a permanent position when they graduate…it’s the least we can do to further the success of the greatest communication program in the world, help a future graduate get a job.”

It’s a mixture of both when it comes to networking; yes, you should know a decent amount of information of the job that your pursuing but also do not forget about who you know in the industry. You may never know if the person sitting next to you in class or who was sitting in your chair five years prior can be of help in future.