Communications undergraduate utilizes proactive approach for success

July 17, 2019

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

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Jade Campos remembers the start of her freshman year at Penn State as “unsettling.”

She was worried about fitting in, finding friends and succeeding in the classroom. She found a simple solution to all those potential problems: getting involved. And, using that same proactive approach, she secured a valuable summer internship.

“I was one of the top students in my high school. When I got here, though, it hit me that everyone else was one of the top students at their school,” Campos said. “But I was able to find my place because of all the opportunities in student media, the Blue Band — the things I jumped on when I first got here. That’s how you assimilate into such a big school.”

Campos, a member of the Penn State Blue Band who joined CommRadio and The Daily Collegian during an active first two semesters on campus, found a home at the University by making career-focused and personal connections. More often than not, she took the first step. She did the same with her internship.

The journalism major and Schreyer Honors Scholar reached out to The Virginia Connection, a hyper-local startup newspaper in the Rappahannock region of the commonwealth that includes Caroline County, her home county. Another paper serving the region went out of business and the owner of The Virginia Connection created a publication to fill the void.

Campos’s inquiry about an internship was met enthusiastically, and she started working shortly after she returned home for the summer.

“People really care about local news. They want to talk to me and suggest other events and things that should be covered when they meet me,” said Campos, whose first assignment was covering a town hall meeting in Bowling Green, Virginia. “For me it’s been so interesting to learn about what’s going on in the county. There are so many layers and so much depth, even in the smallest county. Plus, local news impacts the lives of people so much.”

The small paper and related website has allowed Campos to develop numerous skills. She conducts interviews, puts together and edits videos, takes pictures and works on social media.

“It’s very hands-on,” she said. “Some days I wake up at 6 o’clock in the morning to watch kids make paper airplanes and at 6 o’clock that night I’m watching people yell at each other about broadband.”

It’s also practical, an ideal first internship for an aspiring journalist. Not long ago, Campos was not sure about her career path. But, much like her approach to everything, once she knew, a strong commitment quickly followed.

“One of my friends told me Penn State has one of the best communications programs and, once I got on campus, I could really picture myself there,” she said. “It’s the environment and all the opportunities. Plus, no matter when I graduate, I’m going to end up as a Penn State alumna and that’s going to mean so much in the real world.”

For now, the University’s abundant resources and opportunities make being a student a wonderful experience for Campos.

She said her co-curricular activities have been a perfect complement to classes — especially COMM 160 Basic News Writing Skills and COMM 271 Principles of Multimedia Journalism — that have given her a grounding in journalism basics and heightened her enthusiasm for such a career path.

“Curt Chandler, who teaches COMM 271, shows examples every day that get you engaged and interested. A lot of people say the business is dying, but his class shows it’s not dying. It’s just moving into a different direction,” Campos said. She plans to stay involved and head in that direction as well.

Last Updated July 17, 2019