Internships: A Whole New Ballgame in 2020

By: Andy Porter, internship director, Communication Department

Communications internships have changed a lot over the past 15 years. The communications world has reinvented itself and internships reflect a changing industry. In 2005, internships were at old-school media outlets, brick and mortar agencies and traditional companies. Today, it’s tech start-ups, the booming healthcare segment and content creators of all shapes and sizes. In fact, a significant percentage of our internship sites didn’t even exist 15 years ago.


But one thing hasn’t changed—Simmons communications students doing internships are landing good jobs at leading organizations. 


Last academic year, Simmons communications students completed 42 internships for credit, a record for the department. There were new internship sites Fablevision, HubSpot and Puma, as well as prestigious spots at the Congressional Black Caucus, Mass Challenge, the Harvard Medical School Center for Bioethics and Cambridge Systematics.


This year, students have interned at locations such as Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Barefoot Books, Boston University Athletics, Nickelodeon, Harvard’s TH Chan School of Public Health and 360PR. 


So what’s changed over the past 15 years?


There is more emphasis on digital forms of communication, demand for non-stop content to feed social media platforms and more remote internship work, reflecting a workplace trend. Students are being asked to dip into their communications toolkit to use more and more skills to help internship organizations. There has also been a blurring of lines between PR, journalism, and design, and interns are expected to know a little bit about almost everything. Finally, analytics and numbers are driving communications, so interns are also expected to be able to analyze data and tell a convincing story.

But some things haven’t changed.


Internship sponsors love Simmons communications students and we’ve built some lasting relationships with key sponsor sites. Simmons grads are also hiring interns to work for them, showing the strength of the Simmons network. Internships are now viewed as the entry-level requirement for a communications job, and students who have done internships are landing jobs at places like Ogilvy PR, Staples, TJX, Nuance and more. 


The Simmons Communications Department’s blend of teaching theory combined with professional experience continues to pay off.


“Internships have been the most valuable part of my Simmons experience,” said senior PR major Kenna McCarthy. “Without the connections I’ve made through Simmons, I don’t think I would’ve had this many opportunities to gain real work-life experience.” 


Senior PR major, Lauren Kaye, agreed: “When I came to college I dreamed of working at a fashion company like PUMA. Once I arrived at Simmons, I was given the resources and mentorship needed to make this dream a reality. Through various internships at Harvard Medical School and the Museum of Fine Arts and challenging academics in the classroom, I had the confidence and skill sets needed to secure a coveted position with PUMA. As a junior, I accepted a position to intern with the company and was able to extend it to last an entire academic year. During my time at PUMA, I made a real impact on international campaigns with a-list celebrity ambassadors, working collaboratively with the PR, social media, production, and creative teams. I worked on product launches, ambassador reveals, and massive global campaigns. I compiled competitor research, independently planned photoshoots, and led team-wide meetings. This experience gave me the confidence needed to enter the real-world workforce after graduation.”


“Through Simmons’ Internship program I have been able to learn how to build a portfolio, a resume, my LinkedIn, etc. and I have been able to experience unique opportunities and chase after my dreams. This past summer I was able to work at my dream company, Nickelodeon. From working on production for some of my favorite TV shows to getting slimed – the internship was one to remember!” said Yasmine Ebeed, a graphic design major and media arts minor.


“The internship opportunities I have had at Simmons have opened many doors for me; including meeting people through networking, learning and sharpening skills, as well as gaining valuable insight into the communications industry that one can’t learn in the classroom,” added senior PR major Sierra McCaffrey.


The Simmons Communications Department’s blend of teaching theory combined with professional experience continues to pay off.

Made by the 2020 senior communication students at Simmons University