When Whitley Taylor arrived at the College of Charleston in 2016 she wasn’t sure what she wanted to major in – let alone what kind of career she might want to pursue.
“I knew that I loved writing, speaking and people, so I thought why not try communication, since it is the culmination of the three,” she recalls.
A rising senior majoring in communication with a minor in leadership, change and social responsibility, Taylor wants to bring awareness to people, places and services that make our world a better place.
As a public relations intern, Taylor is spending her summer getting a taste of what it’s like in the deadline-driven, results-oriented world of strategic communications at Nashville-based ReviveHealth, a communications agency geared toward elevating and improving health care.
The experience has laid the groundwork for Taylor to focus her career aspirations on social media, marketing or public relations at a communications agency. That’s a long way from not knowing which major to choose.
“While I can’t say for certain what I want to do after college, I do know that I want to go into an agency, as I enjoy the fast-paced, multidimensional workplace,” she says.
The College Today caught up with Taylor to learn more about what she’s learning this summer, and how this experience is shaping her plans for life after college.
Why was an internship within the sphere of health care and public relations of interest to you?
Throughout my time in college, I have had the opportunity to work and intern in many fields of communication: in writing and publishing, in consulting, in social media marketing, etc. I was still struggling to find the niche of communication where I would truly fit. I hadn’t had an experience in public relations, and I felt that I was lacking this essential piece of my communication puzzle. When looking and applying for various internships for this summer, I wanted to gain experience in public relations to fill this gap, but I also wanted an experience that would allow me to become more robust in my adaptability and capabilities. I have found that ReviveHealth has allowed me to achieve both of these things.
As a fast-paced, full-service agency that focuses exclusively on health care brands, ReviveHealth sits at the intersection of health care, technology, strategy and creativity that supports growth and development for its clients. I realized that ReviveHealth sounded like the perfect place for me to continue to develop my skills and work with various clients to gain a variety of experiences. The health care sphere is ever-changing, and I get the opportunity to work with a diverse range of well-known clients within the health care field. Interning at ReviveHealth has laid a fabulous groundwork for what it’s like to work both in agencies and in health care.
What are the duties of your internship?
In working in the PR department, our team is primarily centered around media relations for our various clients. This means communicating with reporters and publications in attempts to create media opportunities for our clients. We are also constantly keeping on top of the news cycle, researching relevant events for our clients to attend, finding various awards to nominate clients for and more. In my role, I have been able to comprise media lists, write pitches, learn the ins and outs of media scanning, work on client-specific projects, attend client meetings and much more. It truly is a unique experience to be gaining as a college-aged intern.
How are you putting what you’ve learned in the classroom to use in your internship?
In many ways, this internship has been a culmination of skills learned in many different courses throughout my time at CofC. The Department of Communication offers such a wide variety of courses to students from Communication Research Methods to Media in the Digital Age to Ethical Communication and beyond. In addition, I have taken many English, management and writing courses, all of which have come into play this summer in my internship. Sometimes I think that some material in my classes is busy work or is never going to help me, but I can honestly say that skills I’ve learned from multiple courses at the College have helped me during this internship.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned through this internship?
The most important takeaway I have learned through this internship is that it is OK to be wrong – but there is no time to dwell on your mistakes. In the fast-paced agency world that I’ve been experiencing, there have been times that I haven’t done my best work or I’ve done something completely wrong – and that’s OK – it happens to everyone. But at the same time, there’s no point in sitting back and sulking about what you’ve done wrong. The best thing you can do is learn from those mistakes and move on.
How will this experience shape your goals as you enter your senior year of college?
Coming into this summer, I was missing the public relations experience that I wanted. I was also missing the fast-paced agency experience. And my time at ReviveHealth has showed me how much I love this environment. Everyone at ReviveHealth understands the importance of staying on top of their work, maintaining professionalism and being highly adaptable – three skills that I have learned through this internship. Going into my senior year, I’m still not quite positive what field I may want to go into, but ReviveHealth has definitely given me a taste of what my first full-time job could look like.