High-Speed Internships at the Chicago Auto Show

February 20, 2012

By Ivy Hillman '12

This year marked the 10th year that Bradley public relations students have interned during media preview week from Feb. 7-11 at the Chicago Auto Show. For the first year, a second set of Bradley students were selected to intern during the show from Feb. 12-17.

The 10 students were selected through a competitive application and interview process at the end of the fall semester. Senior Katie Odon was among the six who interned this year during media preview work. The students worked 13-hour days and had a variety of responsibilities.

"Two days before the show opened up to the public were the media preview days, where all of us were in charge of issuing and registering media credentials and writing up summaries on several press conferences," Odon said.

Senior Jessica Coulter also interned during media preview week and felt like she got the opportunity of a lifetime.

"The internship was a great experience for me," she said. "I did a lot of quick writing and covering press conferences with speakers like the president of Toyota and the CEO of BP. I also networked with some great professionals in the Chicago area."

The four students who interned during the second week wrote stories about conferences and Tweeted and posted on Facebook about the show. They also worked with private PR firm Vivid Ascent to create video content.

"For the first time students were on the floor interacting with people and updating messages on Facebook and Twitter," said Ron Koperski, associate professor of communication. "They shot and edited video and helped Vivid Ascent create 'webisodes' for the Auto Show website. That was a unique experience this year."

Junior Morgan Kotars enjoyed the hands-on lessons.

"I walked away with a greater sense of knowledge on what it's like to be in the real world, how such a huge event can come together so quickly, how the smallest details can create the largest effects, and a handful of contacts I hope to stay connected with for future references," Kotars said.

Senior Marissa Salinas said the experience strengthened her passion for PR.

"I have an interest in ­­­event planning post-graduation, so this definitely gave me the push and the experience," she said.

The other students who interned during the first week of the show include juniors Allison Barkley and Molly Geraghty and senior Karla Carr. The others who worked the second week were seniors Lauryn Landacre, Kendra Newlon and Courtney Shattuck.