This past summer, professional writing major Sean Vichinsky ended up with an extraordinary summer experience. He had the opportunity to spend several months in New York City working for public relations agency Macias PR.
Sean began his college career majoring in journalism but switched into PW his sophomore year. Soon afterward, he became interested in writing for public relations and sought out internships to gain experience. After that, he looked into doing an internship in New York City. “I wanted to partake in a PR internship in NYC to give me an outside look at what PR was like and to get a taste for it in a bigger city like New York.”
Sean applied for the internship program run by MSU’s College of Arts and Letters. His resume was given to Macias PR, which landed an interview with the founder of the company. Soon after, he was offered the internship.
This was Sean’s first time living outside Michigan, let alone in a major metropolitan area. New York City is known for being fast-paced and busy, and that’s a big part of the reason Sean wanted to intern there. “The environment really helped to shape my professional and personal outlook on the city, my career, and the work that I'm doing in all the best ways,” he says. There are often barriers to go through when trying to move to a new city, but fortunately housing wasn’t one of them for Sean. The CAL program works with New York University, and Sean was able to stay in the dorms there.
As an intern at Macias PR, Sean wore many hats. “I worked with a number of clients to develop press releases, craft and release media pitches, ghostwrite some blogs, and even help produce an Off-Broadway play,” he says. He notes that some of his clients included a local nonprofit “pawnshop,” a campaign for a Democratic congressional candidate, and a Korean healthcare tech startup.
His favorite project involved helping the tech company plan an advertising campaign with displays in Times Square. Sean describes his role in the project as “reaching out to various advertising vendors within the Times Square complex and researching advertising rates and times that would work best for the client.”
Sean says that his favorite part of the internship was working as part of a collaborative team. “Being in a space where we can all discuss our assignments together really made for some great productivity and efficiency in our work,” he notes. Due to the variety of the projects, he was able to explore different writing styles and mediums. “I had to become more mindful of adapting to the style that best fit whatever I was working on,” he says.
During his free time, the city was a wonderland of activities and events. Sean was able to see five Broadway plays and five concerts during his summer stay. His favorite Broadway play was Come From Away, and one of the concerts he loved was seeing Foo Fighters at Madison Square Garden. Sean comments that these experiences were “some of those once-in-a-lifetime moments that I honestly cherish.”
For students interested in internships, Sean recommends devoting some time each day to sending out applications. “This ensures that you get a good number of resumes out to employers and can increase your chances of getting calls back,” he advises. Students can also apply to one of CAL’s study away/abroad internship programs, and might even get a shot at landing the ideal NYC internship experience.
After graduation, Sean hopes to find a job at a PR agency or work in-house at a company somewhere in Michigan.
Written by Heather Haely
Photos provided by Sean Vichinsky