Bellisario College adds communications internship and career fair in D.C.

October 17, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications has long had a presence in Washington, D.C. From the Stanley E. Degler Washington Program to the Bart Richards Award for Media Criticism presentation, the nation’s capital has been a hub for alumni engagement, student learning and college events.

This year, the Bellisario College’s Office of Internships and Career Placement is taking that established presence a step further by hosting the first “COMM Careers in the Capital” from 1 to 4 p.m. Nov. 30 at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, D.C.

The event — designed to put talented Penn State communications students face to face with recruiters seeking to fill internships and entry-level positions — is free for recruiters, who can register here. The Bellisario College will make the investment in transporting students to the nation’s capital for the event.

“This is a nice addition to our portfolio of on-campus and destination internship and career fairs,” said Bob Martin, assistant dean for internships and career placement. “The first two have been extremely successful. There’s an interest in Washington, D.C., that we feel has been untapped to a certain extent.”

For nearly two decades, the Bellisario College has offered communications-specific internship and career fairs for its students and recruiters. On campus, the college has hosted JobExpo.Comm for the last 19 years. Last spring, the Bellisario College put together its 15th annual “Success in the City,” hosted in New York City.

For “Success in the City,” six busloads of students travel to the Big Apple each year. That event, the model for “COMM Careers in the Capital,” drew more than 400 students and more than 225 recruiters from 79 companies last spring — the largest in the event’s history. JobExpo.Comm attracted more than 430 students and 170-plus recruiters from 72 companies.

Following each event, Martin and his team, which includes Julie Miller and Stephanie Girouard, ask recruiters for feedback. On a scale of 1-10, Martin said it’s extremely rare they get less than an 8 and it’s usually between 9 and 10. The reason is simple.

“We resoundingly hear that ‘Success in the City’ is the best internship and career fair that they go to all year,” Martin said. “It’s not just how we set it up. It’s the students. It’s the caliber of students we’re putting in front of them.”

That, according to the Office of Internships and Career Placement, is what keeps companies coming back year after year, with very little turnover. But, while feedback from recruiters and a large number of students attending is great, the outcomes of the events are what really counts.

“Success on the student side is they’re landing internships. They’re landing jobs. That’s it,” said Miller, manager of internships. “That’s what we’re looking for and we’re hearing that not just immediately but two months and three months and six months and even a year later. We have people getting opportunities that relate back to those two opportunities. This is another opportunity for the students.”

Established in 1995, the Stanley E. Degler Washington Program has laid a foundation for the Bellisario College in Washington, D.C. The semester-long program offers communications students the opportunity to gain hands-on, real-world experience in the nation’s capital. From Capitol Hill to CNN to the Smithsonian, the internship opportunities are endless.

In addition, the Bart Richards Award for Media Criticism, which honors work that evaluates news media coverage of significant subjects or issues, is presented annually at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. It was first awarded in 1995.

Now, the Bellisario College can use those resources and the students’ interest in the area to help make “COMM Careers in the Capital” a success. Of the 26,000-plus Bellisario College alumni, more than 2,000 currently live in the DMV (D.C., Maryland, Virginia), making it a hub for Penn Staters.

“I think there has been an established interest with the Washington Program that has already been in place for a while,” Miller said. “Meeting with students day to day, that is a definitive interest. Washington, D.C., is one of the top choices that I receive from students. So, to be able to present this as a whole, both for our students and for those employers in that area to bring them down, it seemed to be pretty much a win-win situation.”

Three communications-specific internship and career fairs are a unique opportunity provided to students and the success of the initial two has made “COMM Careers in the Capital” a natural next step for the Bellisario College.

“You think about the cities that we are in striking distance of, it’s quite remarkable, really,” Martin said. “People say, ‘Oh, well you’re out in the middle of nowhere.’ Well, you know what, you can drive to somewhere, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, D.C., Baltimore, New York, Philly. There’s seven right there within three hours, four hours max. Who else can say that? We want to continue providing as many internships and full-time, entry-level positions to our students in these cities where they are interested in starting their careers.”

Last Updated October 18, 2018