One of our former public relations interns, Samantha Meyer, recently took the time to write about how her internship with the Georgia Museum of Art helped her find her ideal career path. Meyer is currently the lead career consultant for the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.
During my time as a student at the University of Georgia, I worked as a public relations intern for the Georgia Museum of Art. I was thrilled to land this role and learn more about my chosen major and career path in the context of art in the Athens community. I was excited to learn about the basics of PR—how to write a press release, practicing my writing skills and generally learning how to communicate effectively on behalf of an organization. I had no idea that I would learn so much more about my future career path and myself.
One of my favorite things about working at the museum was that I was trusted to do the work I was assigned. I was responsible for touching base with curators about upcoming exhibitions for the advance exhibition schedule, and I managed the process of tracking press clippings. I was also writing press releases frequently—and about some major initiatives, at that. I mean, I wrote a release about Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, y’all!
As intimidating as that all may have sounded to me at the time, I learned that I love autonomy in any role I assume; I will always appreciate the trust that was put into me during my time as a public relations intern.
In addition, I learned how to carry myself in an office setting. As a first generation college student, I didn’t understand the importance of this. The museum was a wonderful learning environment as I processed how to collaborate with peers and superiors, how to take constructive criticism and simply how to work effectively within an organization.
An unexpected outcome of my time at the museum was learning how much I enjoyed working in higher education. Working at the Georgia Museum of Art taught me that there were ways to apply my communications experience in support of causes and organizations that make an impact on their communities and stand for something meaningful. I realized that I couldn’t work for an organization whose mission and impact I didn’t support. As a double major in public relations and women’s studies, coupled with my time at the museum, I realized my values would play a huge role in my career—something that I was unable to foresee early on in my time at UGA.
Nowadays, it’s my job to help current University of Georgia students figure out what they want to do with their careers. One of the first things we encourage at the UGA Career Center is to get experience (such as internships) to help them learn what they might want to do. I encourage starting out in campus roles (and have even recommended GMOA before!) so students can begin learning what they like, what they don’t like, and what they want more of in future roles. Though I’m no longer working in the art world, there was no better setting for me to gain experience for my future career than the Georgia Museum of Art.