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Campus Celebrity: Chelsey Rodowicz, Political Social Media Intern for Senator Carper

Name: Chelsey Rodowicz
Age: 20
Hometown: Bear, DE
Major: Communications and International Relations double major, specialization in interpersonal relations
Year: Junior
Internship Title: Social Media Intern
Length of Internship: March to November 2012 (ongoing)

If you’re anything like most students, you’ve probably been inundated from peers, mentors, and your own university with catchphrases such as “Network! Stay connected! Participate! Get Involved!” It’s understandable that some students can feel overwhelmed by these words, especially if they’re unsure of what they mean or how to fulfill them. That’s why ambitious collegiette’s like Chelsey Rodowicz are such good examples of college excellence. By actively taking advantage of the resources around her, Chelsey, as a sophomore, was able to score a nine month internship with Delaware’s own senator, Tom Carper.

Chelsey’s involvement in the internship started early and stemmed from the activities she was already a part of. As president of University of Delaware’s chapter of PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America), she organized a field trip for the group to go to Washington, DC during the fall semester. There, while the group connected with a prominent PR agency, Chelsey happened to meet Senator Carper’s communication staff. She wisely kept in contact with them and made certain that her name was out there. This proved extremely beneficial when a member of the staff came back to UD to deliver a speech to the PRSSA members. By keeping in contact with this member, Chelsey was able to effectively communicate her skills and desires for her future. Soon, the staff member got Chelsey in direct contact with Senator Carper’s own campaign manager.

“When I applied, because of the networking, I don’t remember even being asked for a resume,” said Chelsey.

A double major in Public Relations and Communication with a specialization in Interpersonal Relations, Chelsey fostered an interest in politics and the process that goes behind a political campaign. Working in her internship not only gave her the opportunity to gain experience directly in the campaign process, but it also gave her a valuable chance to explore her interests in public relations and specifically, social media.

As Senator Carper’s social media intern, she was in charge of the online outreach for the campaign. Initially unsure of what to expect, she quickly learned to manage many parts of the campaign’s social media. Along with the usual responsibilities of a typical intern, like mailing thank you letters and following the senator to press events, she also maintained and updated many of the campaign’s social media websites, including their Facebook, Twitter, and for a while, Draw Something for the iPhone. As she live tweeted press events and took pictures for the various social media sites, she learned through experience what the job expected of her and most importantly, how to meet those expectations.

“A lot of things you learn in your internships you have to learn on site…everything is kind of hands on,” said Chelsey.
“Being a member of PRSSA was very helpful because it taught me to manage my time and my projects really well. When a manager says to get something done, I know exactly when it will be done.”

As well as working through the issues of the social media side of the campaign, Chelsey also learned other aspects of work in a political office, to which all of those interested may thankfully not be as intimidating as it sounds.

“I worked in a small office with about seven people at a time. We had to dress business casual of course, but it was fun,” said Chelsey. “We watched the Olympics and listened to music…it was relaxed and casual.”

Of course, like any job or internship, the office was not without a few setbacks.

“I would have to work on holidays, like fourth of july,” said Chelsey. “With a campaign you work despite the things happening in outside world. Be aware that some internships will demand more than just the typical 9 to 5 responsibilities.”

Her typical day consisted of waking, getting her morning coffee, and then checking to see the activity on the various social media pages. She describes the best part of her internship, however, as the close work she was able to do with an actual US senator.

“Working with the senator has been a pretty cool experience,” said Chelsey. “He knows who I am and what I’m capable of. Also, I did something I love while working with something I was interested in.”

With this valuable experience and many new connections under her belt, Chelsey has plans to continue her pursuit of more PR internships and continue her studies in Greece during January. Her advice to aspiring collegiettes who want to get involved in their own internships is to simply not be scared.

“Don’t be afraid to reach out,” said Chelsey. “People are always willing to help youth get their start, so don’t be afraid to do it. The worst they can say is no, so just move on and reach out again, there’s someone else to help.”

By following her own advice, Chelsey sent out several emails to PR firms for travel agencies in New York City, where she desires to eventually work. To her pleasure, one actually responded.

“They’re one of the biggest agencies in the world!” Chelsey said excitedly.
 

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