Student earns working role at Video Music Awards

September 10, 2009

As birthday presents go, Lauren Mitsch believes her latest ranks as one of the best.

On Sept. 1, one day before her 22nd birthday, Mitsch, a Penn State senior majoring in advertising and marketing, found out her summer internship at Nickelodeon had produced an unexpected reward -- an all-expenses-paid trip to the annual MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday in New York City.

It’s not exactly a gift, though. It’s an assignment, because she’ll work as a red-carpet host at Radio City Music Hall and blogger for the awards program watched by millions all over the world.

“I’m overwhelmingly excited, but I do feel some pressure because this would be my dream job,” said Mitsch, from Level Green, Pa., about 20 miles east of Pittsburgh. “I’ve always been fascinated with the media and entertainment industry. I’m just determined to be focused and on my game. I want to impress the people at MTV and do an exceptional job.”

Mitsch earned the opportunity after a five-week contest among interns at MTV-related entities this summer. Members of that “Intern Army,” working in New York City and Los Angeles for media outlets such as Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and VH-1, were challenged to create promotional campaigns for the Video Music Awards.

They had no budgets and had to submit their digital or word-of-mouth approaches every Thursday during the five-week period. Mitsch’s work, including a Web site ( emerged as the best of the bunch, earning her a return trip to New York City this weekend.

She lived in the city during her internship from May to August, but this time she’s being flown back to the Big Apple, being picked up at JFK Airport in a Lincoln Town Car and staying at the W Hotel in Times Square.

Still, she knows it’s a working trip. She plans to attend practice and rehearsals for the show on Saturday night and has been following entertainment news to enhance her preparation for work on the red carpet.

“They told me to wear comfortable shoes because I’ll be standing on the red carpet for a while,” Mitsch said. “I’m ready for that, and I’m just trying to be ready for anything and everything so I can ask impacting and effective questions.”

At Nickelodeon this summer, Mitsch worked in integrated marketing, collaborating with the network’s sales team and coordinating efforts with clients. As part of that team, she helped organize events, pitch approaches and work on promotions with advertisers and their clients.

“The internship allowed me to experience everything from brainstorming about campaign ideas to working with our sales team to meet our clients’ goals and expectations,” she said. “Turnarounds on our projects depend on the size of the effort, but could be anything from a quick couple of weeks to something that was months long and had all kinds of challenges.”

In a previous internship, Mitsch worked for the Bank of New York Mellon not long after those two separate financial institutions became one. Her duties included brand marketing as BNY Mellon reached out to college-aged customers.

Mitsch made her first call about the Video Music Awards opportunity and trip to her mother, Karen.

“She was probably more excited than me,” Lauren said. “She’s been calling me every day since then reminding me about things. Every once in a while, I have to remind her that I did live in New York City this whole summer and that I’ll be OK. She’s definitely having a party at home with her friends to watch the VMAs and look for me.”

Larry Mitsch was happy about his daughter’s work this summer and the latest trip as well.

“He’s the quiet one, like all dads,” Lauren said. “When he starts telling his friends about it, you know it’s big. He’s been telling them about this and that makes me so proud, too.”

Lauren’s sister, Katlyn is a junior majoring in accounting at Penn State. Her brother, David, is a junior at Penn-Trafford High School.

With 16.5 credits this semester, Lauren has classes Monday that she’ll probably miss because of flight schedules for the return trip from New York City to State College. But she’s already informed faculty members of her likely absence and the reason why. “They understand, and have been really supportive,” Lauren said.

At the same time, she’s also preparing for a role as an entertainment captain for the 2010 Penn State Dance Marathon in February. Her duties include planning events before the THON itself and she hopes her experiences from this summer overall, and this weekend at the VMAs in particular, help her build some relationships that can benefit THON as well.

  • Lauren Mitsch

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 18, 2010