Keesee, second from left, with the Chicago skyline in rear.
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Sept. 29, 2014 –Southeast Missouri State University senior Megan Keesee of Jackson, Missouri, spent her summer interning in Chicago with one of the nation’s largest and most prominent public relations firms, Golin.
“This was my first experience at a larger agency in a big city. I absolutely loved the atmosphere, the open company culture and the idea that hard work is rewarded with hard play. I was really unsure what I wanted to do or where I wanted to be after graduation. While I’m still not entirely sure where I will be going after I graduate, my summer at Golin really helped to shape my idea of the kind of career that I want and illustrated the importance of enjoying and being proud of my work,” said Keesee.
Keesee, who plans to graduate in December with both a Bachelor of Science in mass communication and Bachelor of Arts in global studies, had never had an internship in a public relations agency before this summer. Her participation in the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) helped lead her to a conference in Chicago, where she was exposed firsthand to the world of public relations outside of this area.
Keesee’s drive to excel was noticed by Golin when she applied to the program. Her determination and motivation was found to be a match with the company, and Golin soon extended her an offer into the internship program which included 18 college students selected from more than 600 applicants nationwide.
“I actually applied for several internships this summer and was only contacted back by Golin. It was a huge surprise to me because Golin was the only large, big name agency that I applied to,” says Keesee, “I applied to Golin because I am a really big fan of their CEO, Fred Cook, who I had the opportunity to see speak at a PRSSA conference. His success story is so unique and inspiring and has created an atmosphere at Golin that breeds success. I also had a friend who interned there the summer before me and he always had nothing but good things to say about the agency.”
During her tenure at Golin, her clients included brands such as Walmart, Discover Card, Corona Extra, Mcgladrey and Dow Chemical. It is her hope to work for an agency like Golin after graduation, so she can continue to work with nationally recognized brands and touch a wide array of company departments.
“During my time at Golin, I was able to work in a variety of departments and help my client teams in lots of ways. I primarily worked in Golin’s Catalyst and Connector communities, traditionally Account Management and Media Relations. The responsibilities in these areas range from billing the client and researching new campaign tactics to composing media lists, pitching to media and drafting pitches/articles to pitch to media. I also had the opportunity to help create campaign strategy, present campaign ideas to clients and work on a crisis management team,” Keesee said.
She also stresses the importance of internships in regards to discovering if a certain industry is right for a student. For her, the experience she was able to gain at Golin was something she could have never learned in a classroom setting alone.
“Today, especially in a field like public relations, it’s not enough to have a college education. The market is competitive and employers want to know that if they are going to hire a recent grad, that recent grad already knows about the industry and how to work in it. The kind of experience that I gained from working at Golin is something that I could never have learned in a classroom. That is why the experiential opportunities at Southeast are so important to take advantage of,” Keesee said.
Keesee advises students to never be afraid to go big, constantly prepare themselves and use their connections to achieve their goals.
“I almost didn’t apply to Golin because I thought that I would never get an interview. I thought that it was too competitive and too far away, but when I actually mustered up the confidence to do it, I realized that I had so much more potential than I had imagined, “said Keesee.