Every semester, NSC is pleased to welcome one undergraduate student intern who is interested in learning more about what it means to work in public relations. This spring, we were thrilled to welcome UMass Amherst junior Molly Smith to our team! Molly is pursuing a dual degree in Kinesiology and Communication. Given her interest in our current clients and the work she is currently doing, Molly will be continuing on as our intern this summer!  

We recently sat down to see how her internship is going so far, and what her experience has been working in the fast-paced world of public relations. Continue reading to get to know Molly, from what drew her to healthcare PR to her favorite movie and hobbies!

WHY HEALTHCARE PR?

Healthcare PR is a unique intersection of my interests and fields of study. I am a double major in Kinesiology and Communication at UMass Amherst. For those who may not know what Kinesiology is, it is an interdisciplinary study of biomechanics, exercise physiology, and motor control. It is a popular major for those who want to pursue physical therapy or PA school. I have a strong interest and passion for healthcare, but my greatest strengths are definitely my writing skills, interpersonal skills, and time management abilities. Healthcare PR allows me to utilize my skill set and exercise my passion for helping others outside of a clinical setting. 

WHAT SURPRISED YOU THE MOST AS YOU DOVE INTO PR?

One thing that surprised me as I dove into PR is the amount of planning that goes into publishing content. Many social media posts or blogs are written weeks if not months in advance. Something else that surprised me was how interrelated PR and sales can be. PR is much more than simply getting coverage or generating a buzz. PR agencies play a huge role in generating leads for a business, and these leads could turn into paying customers! 

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED (AND ARE HOPING TO LEARN MORE) DURING YOUR TIME AT NEXT STEP?

Although I had some understanding of what PR was before working at NSC, I had no formal PR experience. Some concrete skills I have learned are how to use Sprout Social to schedule social media posts and Muck Rack to create media lists. My writing skills and storytelling abilities have also greatly improved from the opportunities I’ve been given to write blogs, create social media posts, and draft pitches — all thanks to the awesome feedback I get from the team! 

As I continue my internship into the summer, I hope to gain more experience writing pitches and pitching media outlets. Landing coverage isn’t easy and it takes lots of practice to learn how to write powerful pitches!

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST OVERALL CHALLENGE YOU FACED SO FAR DURING YOUR INTERNSHIP?

In order to be successful in this industry, you need to be able to multitask effectively and pay attention to detail. Sometimes a client will need something that is time-sensitive, and this may require you to rearrange your day in order to meet this need. Time management and multitasking skills are crucial in order to ensure you stay on top of all your work. Being detail-oriented is another important skill to have in this industry, and this is something I could improve upon. Whether it be drafting a social post, writing a blog, or sending out a pitch to a reporter, having an eye for the details is important for avoiding any typos or silly mistakes.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF SO FAR?

A few weeks ago, I created a media list and pitched a story about one of our Bioness patients, Jordan, who suffered a stroke at age 29 and found success with her L300 Go. A reporter at INSIDER expressed interest and decided to connect with Jordan to learn more! Being able to get Jordan’s story in front of national media was a huge accomplishment and I was able to contribute to this story’s success. 

I am also proud of the blogs I have written for the NSC website. This style of content wasn’t something I had much experience with prior to interning with Next Step, but I thoroughly enjoy the process of writing blogs and seeing my hard work published on the website.

WHAT IS YOUR (PLANNED) #NEXTSTEP AFTER GRADUATION NEXT YEAR?

While it feels like just yesterday I was a freshman getting sent home due to the pandemic, I will be a senior at UMass in the fall! I find working with medical technology to be extremely fascinating and rewarding, so I hope to continue working in healthcare PR or maybe become a sales rep for a medical technology company. Since I wasn’t able to study abroad due to COVID-19, I also hope to spend some time traveling!

FAVORITES: 

Beverage: Water out of my hot pink Hydrojug or (shamefully) energy drinks

Book: Atomic Habits by James Clear

Movie: Interstellar

Activity: Lifting weights or playing soccer. Fun fact: I am studying to get my personal training certification and I’m the captain of the club soccer team at UMass!

Type of cheese: Mozzarella