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PR student fulfills internship grant

Rylie Curry, Contributing Writer

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Every year, many students spend hours searching for the ideal summer internship in their chosen field, considering factors such as location, pay and the type of work they will be doing. For Anna Claire Toxey, a senior majoring in public relations, an unexpected recommendation made for a very beneficial summer.

This summer, Toxey worked as a public relations intern for the Black Warrior Riverkeeper, a nonprofit that aims to preserve the Black Warrior River and its connecting channels.

Toxey was chosen for the Black Warrior Riverkeeper internship through a grant from the Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation. After applying, she went through a series of interviews before being one of two University of Alabama College of Communication and Information Sciences (CCIS) students chosen for the grant. The Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation’s internship grant for the department of advertising and public relations is the most prestigious award bestowed on a student in CCIS.

“I had never given much thought to working for a nonprofit, but it ended up being so rewarding,” Toxey said. “Work in nonprofit is almost more rewarding just to know that what you’re doing is making a difference. It really makes you feel like the work you’re doing is worth it.”

While the Black Warrior Riverkeeper is a nonprofit organization, they are able to provide paid internships through the Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation. The foundation provides funding to organizations and programs that focus on the preservation of natural resources throughout North America and the Caribbean Basin.

“By generously providing students with a grant for the internship, the Munson Foundation helps both the conservation organization as well as the student,” said Joseph Phelps, chairman of the department of advertising and public relations, in a Black Warrior Riverkeeper press release. “It is a wonderful opportunity for students to practice what they are learning in their classes while helping the nonprofit organization meet its objectives.”

As a public relations intern, Toxey was able to work on a variety of media tasks. Her main work included press release writing, media pitching and managing social media accounts.

In addition to basic public relations tasks, Toxey was also able to create a media kit for an upcoming event in September, pitch a story which was featured on a local news station and help with a direct mail piece that was sent to more than 600 Tuscaloosa residents and businesses.

Toxey was first introduced to the internship by Tracy Sims, an instructor in advertising and public relations, who said knowing one’s strengths when applying for an internship is significant.

“The most important thing when applying for any internship is definitely showing how you are fit for the position,” Sims said. “Make sure you have a results-oriented resume that shows the success and impact your work had, while connecting your skills to what the organization is seeking.”

While finding an internship that fits all of a student’s ideals can be challenging, Toxey said it is important to never give up and always keep looking and applying.

“When looking for an internship, I received some offers while getting turned down for others, and it can get very discouraging after a while, especially when you really want to find one that’s a good fit for you,” Toxey said. “My advice would be to keep trying and apply for as many places as you can. Don’t be afraid to take a chance and try something you wouldn’t have thought of doing before.”

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PR student fulfills internship grant