An Internship With a Purpose

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is by one of PPAZ’s interns, Cassidy Olson. Cassidy is an Arizona native who was born and raised in Prescott. She is currently studying public relations at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and will be graduating in December. Cassidy has been interned in the communications and marketing department at Planned Parenthood Arizona, December 2010 through May 2011.

My internship in the communication and marketing department at Planned Parenthood Arizona (PPAZ) came about really by happenstance; however, it turned into something greater than I could have expected. As a member of Arizona State University’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), I participated in an event called “Shadow Day.” During Shadow Day, each PRSSA member was matched with a business in Phoenix to visit for a day to learn how the public relations department at each organization functioned. I had always been interested in the nonprofit side of public relations, so when I found out that I had been matched with PPAZ for the day, I was eager to learn more about nonprofit PR for a couple of hours. Never had I expected my short visit would turn into an internship lasting five months.

When I met Cynde Cerf, communication and marketing manager at PPAZ, I was in awe of the fact that she was able to manage the entire PPAZ communication department by herself. Because of this, when Cynde mentioned she was on the look-out for interns, I thought it might be a fun opportunity to learn a few things and help out. In all reality, the internship did much more than that for me.

When Cynde took me on as her intern, I was nervous about what I’d be able to offer. I was new to public relations, and in all honesty, I didn’t know a whole lot about Planned Parenthood. Now, not only have I gained confidence in my communication abilities and learned a ton about nonprofit public relations, I have also found out what a great and important organization Planned Parenthood is.

Prior to my internship here, I had never stepped foot into a Planned Parenthood, and the extent of my knowledge about the organization came from friends, family and, of course, the news. As a woman, I’m ashamed to say that, before interning here, healthcare rights for women was not much of a concern of mine. During my internship, I learned how far the breadth of services offered by Planned Parenthood extends, and, after just a few months, I realized just how important women’s healthcare rights really are.

It has been truly inspirational to be able to witness first-hand how hard everyone inside and outside of the organization works to keep women’s health rights intact, and it was wonderful to participate in all of the behind-the-scenes efforts that go into fighting for and educating others about the importance of those rights.

As the end of the school semester wraps up and my internship with PPAZ comes to an end, I am so thankful to have been able to expand my knowledge, not only of public relations, but of the importance of working to safeguard healthcare rights for women, and I am truly proud to have been a part of such a great organization.

3 thoughts on “An Internship With a Purpose

  1. Cassidy, I hope you will continue to share your insight into the importance of safe guardng women’s healthcare in the personal and professional parts of your life. Best wishes as you continue your education.

  2. What a terrific post Cassidy. This experience will be carried with you for a lifetime and is one you can share with generations to come. Thank you for being part of the movement.

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