January 23, 2023 greenk
Nicholas Cirillo

Hawk Communications: Gaining Internship Experience Without Leaving Campus

By: Nicholas Cirillo

When I began studying at Montclair State University in the Fall of 2020, I knew exactly what I wanted to major in – public relations. However, being 36 years old, I was worried that once I got my degree, I’d be older than the typical age most agencies wanted to employ. Despite that thought, I sat down for my first class as a Red Hawk and met a professor that not only calmed my fears, but also confirmed that public relations is the right career field for me. Professor Green, who also happened to be my advisor, informed me about the Hawk Communications course that he taught, and said I really should investigate taking it my senior year. I registered for it and had no idea what I’d be walking into. Now, as the semester comes to a close, I can say with complete certainty that the course has given me real world experience that no other course has ever offered. 

The client I chose to work with was Monarchs Hockey. A non-profit organization that aims at providing kids on the spectrum a chance to get active, learn how to ice skate, make friends, and play ice hockey. Event planning, problem solving, and meeting leadership at meetings were three of the of the skills I gained from previous PR internship that I added to the team. I oversaw obtaining pictures and videos, as well as the copyediting of the posts.

My main task was creating and organizing the team’s holiday party. The role played to my strengths, combining my practical skills with my love of the holiday season. I wrote letters of solicitation to garner donations from local companies and was able to get a former NY Rangers player to attend the party for a meet-and-greet.

Two of the skills I honed during this semester were teamwork and communication. We did not know who our teammates were going to be, so learning how to communicate with different personalities and working as a team was extremely important. We started off the semester as four students who did not know each other and who brought different skills to the table, but we ended it as friends that successfully met and exceeded our client’s needs.

My advice for any MSU student looking for a career within the public relations field is to take this course as soon as you can. Not only does Hawk Communications provide a student with a real-world internship experience, but it also teaches them soft skills that will be used in their future career. Professor Green has structured the class in a way that students get to put all the skills learned during their time at MSU to good use. While he is there to offer guidance to unfamiliar situations we may encounter, he also wants students to experience what their future career will be like. This course alone is worth the tuition.