BOONE, N.C. — A Diversity Scholar and Student Ambassador at Appalachian State University, Logan DiFranco, of Cary, was selected for a highly competitive paid internship this past summer at Spark Foundry advertising agency in Chicago. The experience has made her more self-assured about her competitiveness after graduation, she said.
“This internship has brought me more confidence in my abilities than I could have wished for,” said DiFranco, a senior communication, public relations major. “Any uncertainties I had were squashed early on, and it was awesome to be able to attribute it to how well Appalachian has prepared me for my future.”
DiFranco was one of 7,869 Appalachian students who earned academic credit for an internship, practicum, student teaching or clinical experience in the 2018–19 academic year.
She worked in paid search, a form of digital marketing. Spark Foundry assigned her to work with one of its clients in the pharmaceutical industry.
“Each day would consist of analyzing search ad data, their performance, writing new ad copy or a variety of events with the 19 other interns for the Chicago office,” DiFranco said.
Faculty interest and leverage
DiFranco said she learned of the opportunity through one of her professors, Dr. Ashley Han, an assistant professor of public relations who, along with other faculty in the Department of Communication, took students to Atlanta for a national networking event.
The event, called Multicultural Talent Pipeline, was hosted by Publicis Media, the international advertising organization that owns Spark Foundry.
Part of her internship was to work on a group research project and give a presentation. Because of her leadership experiences at Appalachian, DiFranco said she was able to comfortably speak in public and successfully navigate conflict when it arose.
“The valuable things I learned in college are the critical thinking skills, problem-solving and the soft skills of working with other people,” she said.
The internship broadened her awareness of the advertising field, she added.
“Spark had speakers from different teams present to the interns weekly, so we learned about more than just our positions, and they even allowed us to visit some of their partners, such as Google and Pandora, to develop our understanding on both the agency and publisher sides of advertising,” she said.
What’s next for DiFranco?
DiFranco said she hopes to apply to Spark Foundry again after graduation. She’s also considering graduate school.
She added she would definitely recommend this internship opportunity to other students.
“I have an excitement for this field I had not experienced before because of how much I learned about myself,” she said. “There are so many opportunities in advertising, marketing and communications that I know I am competitive for.”
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About the Diversity Scholars Program
The Diversity Scholars Program is one of Appalachian State University’s top scholarship programs. Since 2008, it has recognized merit in scholarship and brought people together from different cultures and backgrounds to work on building unity through diversity. The scholarship is renewable, and since fall 2016 has covered full in-state tuition and fees for four years. The Diversity Scholars Program also involves community service and an international experience. Learn more at https://diversityscholars.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian Student Ambassadors
Appalachian State University’s Student Ambassadors organization, established in 1977, comprises 50 undergraduate students who serve the Office of Admissions, the Alumni Association and the Office of the Chancellor as official representatives of the university. These students, all volunteers, give campus tours, assist with admissions events and host alumni gatherings, among other leadership activities. Learn more at https://ambassadors.appstate.edu.
About the Department of Communication
One of seven departments housed in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, the Department of Communication at Appalachian State University focuses on preparing students to succeed in the varied fields within the communication industry. The department offers five majors – advertising, communication studies, electronic media/broadcasting, journalism and public relations – and a minor in communication studies. Graduates work in a wide range of positions in media, corporate, agency, government and nonprofit organizations. Learn more at https://communication.appstate.edu.
About the College of Fine and Applied Arts
Appalachian State University’s College of Fine and Applied Arts is a dynamic and innovative group of seven academic departments, bringing together a variety of perspectives, experiences and real-world education to provide unique opportunities for student success. The college has more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate majors. Its departments are Applied Design, Art, Communication, Military Science and Leadership, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment, and Theatre and Dance. Learn more at https://faa.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls nearly 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.