Student credits Hollywood Program for valuable career preparation

June 06, 2018

(Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of stories about students in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications completing summer internships.)

For someone who enjoys a fast pace, waiting can be stressful but as Samantha Lassen prepared for her first job – the first step on what she plans as a long path of success in the communications industry – she was confident more than concerned after some necessary waiting through the interview process.

Lassen, who recently accepted a postgraduate internship with Golin in New York City, said internships as part of the Penn State Hollywood Program during the recently completed spring semester helped make that outlook possible.

During the semester-long program in Los Angeles, she worked Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays as a media relations intern for CBS Corp. and Tuesdays and Thursdays as a special events intern with PMK•BNC. In the evenings, she and other students in the Hollywood Program focused on their classes.

“It was really busy, but I like being busy. Both internships enabled me to get integrated into the respective departments,” she said. “When I was with CBS, their assistant left and I took over temporarily in that role. It included extra duties, but it was awesome. At PMK•BNC there were so many events -- the SAG Awards, Women in Film Pre-Oscar Party, and NBA All-Star Weekend. It was high intensity, definitely something the meets my interest.”

It’s always important for students to invest in the process, and Lassen did that as well.

“Samantha always brought a great attitude to class and, according to her supervisors, to the internships as well,” said Robert Richards, the John and Ann Curley Professor of First Amendment Studies and coordinator of the Hollywood Program. “She was able to get a firsthand look at what the world of entertainment public relations is all about.”

Lassen, who graduated in May with a degree in advertising/public relations, gained a different perspective on her career path as well.

“My thought had been consumer public relations or corporate communications. It wasn’t until the Hollywood Program that my eyes were opened to the entertainment industry. I do think I’m more of a New York person, and that’s closer to home, but the experience helped me fall in love with the challenges and pace of the entertainment industry,” said Lassen, who lives in Point Pleasant, New Jersey. “There are so many exciting and fulfilling options.

“Without the Hollywood Program, though, I never would’ve know about those things. It was such a wonderful opportunity, and not something I could’ve done anyplace else.”

Lassen almost overlooked Penn State when she was considering her college options. She needed a gentle nudge to embrace the University and all it has to offer.

Once she arrived on campus, she made the wise decision to engage early by finding ways to get involved and learn about activities as well as potential career options.

“At first, Penn State was not my top choice but my family was really pushing it, and part of me pushed back. Looking back, it was an easy decision. There were all the passionate alumni, the big-school camaraderie and all the internships, clubs and organizations. Penn State helped me so much. My parents knew I’d love it, that I wanted the big-school experience, and they were right.”

Last Updated June 07, 2018