Summer internships offer students chance to try on new hats

By Kelsea Ernst

Summer internships can provide college students with valuable experience in their chosen fields that looks good on a resume, and might help them get a foot in the door.

“Never in a million years did I think I’d find my true calling,” said Morgan Babineaux. “I feel challenged and excited to walk into work every day.”

Babineaux is a McNeese State University senior. The mass communications major is spending her summer as an intern with KPLC-TV Lake Charles and KADN-TV Lafayette.

At KADN, Babineaux mainly does behind-the-scenes work, such as graphics and audio, working the cameras and producing, as well as shadowing reporters and meteorologists and working with the anchors. At KPLC, she works as a reporter, in which she is responsible for cultivating sources, researching, gathering and reporting information on news stories to the public. She has written articles for KPLC’s website and has even gone on air.

“It was awesome,” Babineaux said. “I didn’t ever think that I would end up working in the news, but it was so exhilarating. I love the ever-changing environments, hearing people tell their stories and overall just challenging myself with new ideas.”

Babineaux said she’d decided to major in mass communication because she knew she was good at writing, and as a child, she loved to watch the journalists, anchors and meteorologists on the news.

“When I was really young, I lived with my grandparents who watched every newscast, every day. Watching the meteorologists were my favorite, but I knew math and physics were not my strong suit.”

She thought that with communications being such a broad field, she was sure she’d find the right job for her. While wanting to pursue a career in communications, Babineaux originally had no plans of going into the news industry.

“I was actually contacted by my department head and she asked me to attend this broadcasting career day. Initially, I just wanted to help out and represent McNeese. I knew I wanted to work in communications, but not news. I was contacted by several news stations who asked me if I would be interested in interning. So, I decided to make myself real busy this summer and work for two different stations.”

At the start, Babineaux said she wasn’t the best at time management, and it added a challenge to her work she hadn’t been expecting. The constant pressure of deadlines has helped her to develop shortcuts and systems, and with each day her efficiency has been improving.

She said she now hopes to one day work as either a multimedia journalist or a news anchor and offers this advice to students looking to begin their own internships: “I would say go into everything with an open mind. Sometimes you’ll find yourself in places you never thought were desirable, but those are the places you learn, places you grow. And be humble. Try to learn every part of the job, no matter what it is and no matter how big or small the role may be.”

Unlike Babineaux, recent Sulphur High graduate Stone Manning knew he wanted to pursue a career in the film industry, and is receiving hands-on experience through an internship with CBS Lake Charles.

At CBS, Manning’s work involves filming and editing local commercials and events, with his most recent events being the ribbon cutting for Johnny Sanchez’s grand opening of his second Mexican restaurant location at L’Auberge Casino, and a segment at the Calcasieu Parish Central Library with Meg Medina, the National Ambassador of the Library of Congress.

“Filming these events can be a very stressful process, but can be very rewarding when it’s all done,” Manning said. “The filming process usually starts with us first getting in contact with the event to make sure that it’s OK for us to film. After that, we usually decide what type of video we want to film depending on the event. It’s usually an interview style video, or it’s an overview style interview of the event.”

On the day of the event, the crew must first make sure and double-check that they have all their equipment before leaving. Then they arrive at the event up to an hour beforehand so that they can speak with the event coordinator. Depending on the event, the crew will either begin to take overview shots of the area, or, begin setting up their equipment if they’re filming an interview.

“The interview process is a little more complicated because you have to make sure the reporter and the interviewer are comfortable and confident when they are on camera. After you know both sides of the interview are ready you finish setting up your shot and start filming. At this point, the only other thing you do during the interview is maybe zoom in with the camera or do a pan shot. Everything else is up to the reporter to move the interview along. After you finish filming, you may get a few extra shots to put in the video.”

Once the crew returns to the station, Manning will then begin editing the footage — the process of which he said could take one to three hours depending on the amount of footage he has and how long the video needs to be. Once the editing is finished and the video is approved, it will either be broadcast on air or posted on social media.

“My favorite part of this internship has been being able to connect more with the community and getting to film local events.”

Manning said his love for visual storytelling and sharing the different perspectives of the world around him inspired him to work in the film industry. He will be a freshman at Loyola University New Orleans this fall, where he plans on majoring in digital filmmaking.

Margaret Barnett, a McNeese senior mass communication major, is doing her internship with the marketing and administration department of the Lake Charles Regional Airport. Barnett’s duties range from designing graphics with the airport’s logo for merchandise such as socks, koozies and luggage tags, delivering paperwork to other departments within the airport and creating spreadsheets. Occasionally, she is also asked to help with the airport’s social media, where she’ll be tasked with taking pictures, creating captions and coming up with content to post.

“Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect before working here,” Barnett said. “I have always had an ‘office job’ where I am filing paperwork, running errands or just whatever was asked of me, but this is not a typical office job. It is different because I get to design things, with the help and approval of my supervisor, and apply what I have learned in previous classes about strategic communication and how to promote the company in the media.”

Barnett chose to major in mass communication due to its interconnectedness with media and writing, and she plans on pursuing a career in the public relations field, preferably one in strategic communications, media relations or internal communications.

“I find it intriguing and creative to be able to strategically promote a company and maintain a positive image in the public eye.”

Barnett said she’s loved her time with LCH so far and the work she does. She’s enjoyed having the opportunity to apply what she’s learned in the classroom in a real-world setting and being able to improve her skills, her favorite parts of the internship have been getting to know her coworkers and “the ice cream in the Freeman Jet Center.”

McNeese junior business major Brynlee Boudreaux is gaining valuable experience interning with the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury human resource department this summer. She said she came into the internship with high hopes, and the CPPJ has fulfilled every one of her expectations.

At CPPJ, Boudreaux’s everyday duties consist of preparing and reviewing correspondence, logs, information, paperwork, and forms, as well as assisting with the administration work, such as answering the phone as well as scanning and filing paperwork. She’s also assisted in projects for the HR generalist, specialist, and managers, and has experienced the different tasks and duties of all the different positions in the department.

She was also assigned personal projects to complete, in which she was tasked with conducting an internal I-9 audit, auditing labor posters and helping to create an employee engagement survey.

“This internship has given me so much knowledgeable work experience in the short time that I have been employed with the parish. I have had the privilege of shadowing each employee in our department and this helped me to gain a better understanding of what positions I would be willing to work in human resources.”

Boudreaux had originally intended to obtain a degree in accounting but said she realized it wasn’t a long-term career for her. After some research, she believed that a job in HR would be the best fit. Specifically, she’s interested in a position that would pertain to the recruitment process or the training and development side of HR.

“I would enjoy being able to meet new employees and help them through the hiring process from start to finish.” She said. “Training and development fit who I am and my personality best. I would be able to communicate with each and every internal employee with hopes of being able to make a difference.

“As an HR professional, I will be able to be a leader that helps others. Growing up, it has always been my dream to lead people towards a positive outcome. I feel that my outgoing personality will help others to feel welcomed at a place of employment.”

Boudreaux said her time with CPPJ has given her more confidence in her abilities because of all the valuable knowledge and insight into the various roles and responsibilities she’s gained. “This internship has been such an unexplainably amazing experience. I would recommend an internship experience to everyone. It has given me so many useful tools that I will be able to use in my future career.”

Editor’s Note: Kelsea Ernst is a summer intern with the American Press.

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