Social media internship gives communications student platform to reach thousands

July 05, 2017

Editor’s Note: This is the seventh in a series of articles about summer internships for students in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Adriana Lacy connects with thousands of people every day.

While she may not be talking to them in person, social media gives her the platform to reach them, and that’s what she loves about the digital media field.

This summer, she’s putting her skills to use in a social media internship with Axios.

“It’s really cool to expand your platform to a really big audience,” said Lacy, an advertising/public relations and African-American studies major from Philadelphia who will be a senior in the fall at Penn State.

Axios, which was started in January by the founders of Politico, is a new media company that covers media trends, tech, business and politics. Already, the company has more than 80,000 Twitter followers and nearly 150,000 likes on Facebook.

Monday through Friday, Lacy helps post to all of the social media pages for Axios, which include Facebook, Twitter and a little bit of LinkedIn. She participates in content meetings and looks at analytics for the different pages. She has also had the chance to write a few articles.

“I think the best part is just being able to be in D.C. and keeping up with D.C. politics and everything that’s happening,” said Lacy, who completed a fellowship last summer in the nation’s capital at Georgetown Law through Penn State. “It has been really exciting.”

Working with social media is nothing new for Lacy, though. She spent two years as a social media intern with Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics. While there, she had a variety of assignments, including social media “listening,” analytics, monitoring, content creation and event coverage. Her photography and creative skills set her apart, according to Intercollegiate Athletics Assistant Director of Social Media Kristina Nauman.

“She’s one of the interns who would always go the extra mile to help make our team and our department better,” said Nauman, a 2016 graduate from Penn State’s Smeal College of Business. “She would do a lot of work that wasn’t assigned to her, but that she thought would add value to what our team was doing. That was something that, as a manager, really pleased me to see.“

And while there are some similarities between news and sports social media, there are also differences.

“I think with a news company, everything is quicker because it depends on what’s happening for the day,” said Lacy. “With athletics, a lot of it can be scheduled. You know when the games are and things like that. This definitely requires you to be on your feet and quick thinking.”

Lacy has worked a lot with analytics in her young career, both at Penn State and Axios. At Penn State, she is minoring in digital media trends and analytics and did weekly analytics reports on her personal social media pages.

Being at a startup has taught Lacy a lot already, especially in regard to social media. Lacy said “being very intentional” is important because you are thinking about your brand long term. Right now, she’s just trying to help Axios grow.

“When you have a brand that is still new, you have to think about what you want your brand to look like in the next year or five years later,” said Lacy. “It’s really cool to see that vision.”

The internship is helping to shape the vision of Lacy’s future as well.

Right now, her dream job would be to do social media for Axios full time. So far, she has experience in athletics (Penn State), news (Axios) and non-profit (Penn State FastStart, the Penn State Alumni Association’s alumni/staff mentoring program). She thinks the variety of social media experiences on her resume makes her a well-rounded candidate for jobs in the future.

“I think one thing that she does really well is that she’s very active on social media, not only from an internship perspective, but also her personal accounts,” said Nauman. “She treats them very much like a personal brand account. She stays up to date on the latest trends, connecting with other people within the industry, and that kind of stuff I think is really what gives her a competitive edge when it comes to social media.”

Last Updated July 19, 2017