Over the summer I had the opportunity to intern with the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel as a Public Affairs Intern. The OCC is a state agency that advocates for consumers by representing their interests in cases involving state and federal regulators. The OCC also works to educate Ohioans on issues related to utilities such as electric , natural gas, telephone and water. During my time at the OCC some of my key responsibilities when working in the Public Affairs Department were to compile relevant news articles for distribution to our staff, collect consumer research related to utility issues, and help edit and schedule media content such as tweets and radio scripts.
I entered into my internship to discover what it was like to work in the public sector of law. When I took the internship I was very interested in going to law school after graduation. I had always been intrigued by the court system and during my time at the Ohio Consumers Counsel, I learned a lot about the work that went into legal proceedings. However, while at the OCC I became enthralled by the PR work that I was doing. I began to find a passion in educating the public about our services and helping represent the agencies brand. I found a lot of overlap between Public Affairs and what I was working on in my marketing classes. Thus, I became passionate about my work and eager to learn more.
As the summer went on I was able to learn a lot of valuable skills that help me develop not only as an employee, but as a person. I worked on projects where I would help draft and edit social media postings, construct factsheets to inform consumers, work on radio scripts, and collect research on consumers issues. Being able to help represent the agency lead me to an eye opening discovery about myself. As interested as I was in the legal side of the agency, I found that my true intrigue lied the Public Affairs side of the agency.
I started working on more projects with my supervisor to refine my communication skills, gain experience in group collaboration, and practice my customer service on a day to day basis. I even had the opportunity to work the OCC’s informational booth at the Ohio State Fair. As I was refining my skills I began to realize how I could apply the strategies I was learning to different products and services for for-profit industries. As time passed my boss became my mentor, he taught me to shape the different communication strategies I was learning and how to apply them to other industries. He even connected me with contacts that advised me on how to apply my skills into the marketing sector.
Overall, being able to work in the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel Public Affairs Department and participating in multiple company projects has completely transformed my idea of what I want to do in my future. Originally, I thought that I would be attending law school after I completed my undergraduate business marketing degree. However, I found that I am more passionate about the marketing industry and I could use my experience as a Public Affairs Intern to help me as I enter into my career. Although, this is not the path that I thought I would take when I entered into my internship, I am glad it is one that I discovered.
Realizing the different opportunities that my Public Affairs background could help me obtain was eye opening. Now that I have discovered that my career interests align with my marketing degree, I have decided to hold off on going to law school post graduation. I have been motivated to look into full time jobs where I can use my improved communication skills to repreesent the brand of my future employer.