When it comes to being a fully immersed Montclair State University student and taking every opportunity thrown your way, Stephanie Michael would be the prime example. She is currently a senior in the Public Relations program in the School of Communication and Media and has completed a number of internships through her work within the School. Michael’s current internship is with 21C Media Group, which specializes in publicity, advocacy, imaging, and consulting in music, culture and the performing arts. Their clients are mainly symphonies, opera singers, Broadway stars, and other institutions. Michael stated, “Internships give you really great experience and insight into the industry.”
Michael’s experience through 21C Media Group has been interesting and challenging. “It was a really intense learning curve to try and figure out what was going on since I didn’t know much about classical music or opera,” she said. “It was more challenging in the beginning because of all the industry-specific language being thrown around.” Michael also mentioned the research she needed to do at home in order to fully be a part of the team and understand what was going on with each individual client. After all the research and preparation, Michael said, “Now, I feel like I am fully aware of what’s happening, and I can help on multiple projects.” Overall, her experiences with internships have been truly beneficial and have added many additional skills to her toolkit.
In addition to her many internships and experience, Michael also talked about how she came to know and establish a working relationship with the President of Marketing at L’Oréal, Tim Coolican. Coolican came to the School of Communication and Media last fall and Michael made it a point to be there. L’Oréal is precisely the kind of dream company she would like to work for and this opportunity meant a lot to her. Michael was so persistent in meeting Coolican that she asked Professor Weiner if she could do the usual tour of the SCM facilities for the guest instead of Dr. Strudler (Director of the SCM). When the day came, Michael gave Coolican the tour and ended up having a great conversation with him. Coolican even told Michael to send her resume in the next morning. Coolican invited Michael to the office two weeks later to meet people in the company and ask them questions. Michael ended up staying in touch with everyone she had met, and it helped her learn more about the company, marketing, and public relations.
Michael is also a part of the School of Communication and Media’s Catch and Release project. “Catch and Release now has a new partnership with the School of Communication and Media, and it gives students the opportunity to help curate and license compelling content for various companies’ advertising campaigns,” Michael said. “We are curators and we have to find content, either User-generated or stock, that is based on a creative brief that the company sends us. After we find all the content, the company creates a campaign based on what we’ve found.” This type of experience has been a great opportunity for Michael and has helped her hone her research skills.
Michael is also the Vice President of the PRSSA chapter at Montclair State. There is a lot of responsibility when it comes to acting as the VP for PRSSA because it is essentially the right-hand to the President. Michael helps with everything; she makes sure everyone is on the same page, answers any questions or concerns other members may have, and helps coordinate and book all the PR speaker guests in the calendar. Last semester, Michael made flyers, programs, and some graphics for a few of their events and it was beneficial towards her career because it taught her a lot about event planning and multimedia communication. Michael reiterates how important it is to be in a leadership role where you learn how to exercise your critical thinking skills to make the best decisions or problem-solve based on the information available to you.
Lastly, through all her experience and skills developed, Michael provided advice for undergraduate students who may feel stuck and are struggling to get their foot in the door. “Attend everything you possibly can and always dress to impress,” she said. “You never know who you’ll meet just walking around campus. Also, try to join extracurriculars because you’ll meet so many people! The more you try, the more you’ll know what you like and don’t like, which will help guide you through college and choosing your career.” Using her own advice, Michael hopes to be in the beauty industry when she graduates in May. If any students have questions for Michael, she is open to answering them at her email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.